Look after your windscreen
Keeping your windscreen and wipers in good condition is vital for any motorist. When your screen wash runs out or wiper blades become inefficient, it is easy to think - I can still see out, so I'll sort it out later. It only takes a sudden burst of sunshine on a dirty windscreen, suddenly your vision is gone and that may be just at the wrong moment.
Keep your screen wash topped up
Screen wash is very inexpensive and easy to top-up. The screen wash bottle is usually located under the car bonnet in the engine compartment of your car. The bottle is often made of a semi-transparent plastic with an easy to identify mark on the cap or side of the bottle. The bottle will also have 'MIN-MAX' markings so that you can easily see when it is low, and needs topping up.
At one time screen wash used to come in two 'flavours', namely 'summer' and 'winter' screen wash. These days screen wash is usually of the 'all year round' variety which simply means that it also contains an 'anti-freeze' agent that stops the fluid from freezing up in sub-zero temperatures.
Your wiper blades are another one of those parts of the car that often get neglected. Wiper blades are made from a composite rubber material which after many years of use, will wear down and become less flexible. This means that they gradually become less and less efficient at removing the water from the windscreen, and in heavy rain can fail to keep your screen clear and reduce your visibility. This is dangerous and you should never let them get to that stage before changing them.
Wiper blades are very easy to replace yourself. If you go into any good motor spares store they will have a reference guide in the 'wipers' section that will indicate which type of blades fit which model of car. It is usually just a case of choosing the correct type, unclipping the old ones and clipping on the new. If you are unsure what to do the store assistant should be able to help.
Stone 'chips' on your windscreen
Check your windscreen for stone chips periodically. A small stone chip may not seem like a major problem, but it soon will be if you don't do something about it.
There are 2 things that can happen if you neglect to repair a stone chip. Firstly, every time your car passes over a sizable bump in the road, your windscreen will flex a very small amount. This is fine as long as the screen is intact and retains its structural integrity. If there is a stone chip, this slight flexing may be enough to start a crack in the screen which will gradually get worse over time.
Secondly as winter approaches you will at some point get ice on your windscreen. Any water that has collected in the chipped area will also freeze, and as water freezes it expands, again causing a crack to start.
How to fix a chipped windscreen
As temporary measure, if you find a stone chip in your windscreen, put a small piece of sticky tape over the area to seal out any moisture.
Your first option is to buy a stone chip repair kit from a motor accessories store, follow the instructions, and repair the chip yourself. Your second (and better) option is to get the chip repaired by a professional, or get the windscreen replaced - depending on how bad the chip is. These last two options may actually be free under your car insurance policy, so you will need to check with your insurer.
If have any queries regarding accident or crash repairs please call us for free help and advice on 0845 6768898 or start your free claim enquiry using our online claim form.