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Caring For Your Windscreen

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 26 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Windscreen Chips Chip-free Cracked

Many years ago, proud car owners used to spend their Sunday afternoons polishing their pride and joy to a spectacle of gleaming perfection. But those days are long gone.

Too many of us only finally admit that the car needs cleaning when we can no longer see anything through the windscreen. It is vital however, that you find the time to give your car a bit of tender loving care, and a wash and spruce up throughout the winter months.

It's not just about pride either. Although a nice shiny car is a joy to behold, dirty windows combined with the low morning and early evening sun that is common in the autumn can be a massive danger to drivers, obscuring their view and frequently causing accidents.

Checking for Chips

When the weather takes a turn for the worst, which sadly in the UK it always does - remember to stock up on the correct tools to make your winter driving incident free. This includes making sure that your windscreen is chip free. These seemingly harmless chips often create tiny holes in the glass where water can get in. If there is a low temperature and the water should freeze, the water will expand making the chip bigger or worse still, crack the windscreen, putting it beyond repair. This could mean an expensive replacement.

If you act fast, a chip needn't mean a new windscreen. If you do find a chip, the first thing to do is cover it with sticky tape to prevent dirt and grime getting into it. Windscreen chip repair works by injecting a hard, clear plastic resin into the chip under high pressure, then burnishing and polishing the resin flush with the screen. This will leave the area fully sealed and repaired, and good as new. Even if the worst happens and you need a new windscreen, this is usually covered on your insurance and normally won't affect your no claims bonus, though you may need to pay an excess on the claim.

De-Icing your Car

What do you use to scrape the ice and snow from your car windscreen? A proper ice-scraper? Or perhaps some of the other 'tools' employed by Britain's motorists - credit cards, CDs, pen knives, fish slices and even spatulas. Of course, it seems like a brilliant idea at the time, when you're rushing to get to work, but later on, when the windscreen is covered in scratches and you're being dazzled by the autumn sunshine, it will strike home that it wasn't the best thing to be doing after all.

RAC Auto Windscreens managing director, Bill Duffy said: "Why put yourself and others at risk for the sake of getting up a few minutes earlier in the morning and investing a few pounds on an ice scraper and can of de-icer. If you don't, it could be a hefty fine or worse still, a 10-year prison sentence if you cause a death while driving with restricted vision."

Here are some tips to make sure that your windscreen will make it through the winter:

  1. If there are any chips in your windscreen, get them repaired - no matter how insignificant they may seem. When it gets really cold, a chip can turn into a crack and can even cause the windscreen to break completely.

  2. Always make sure that your ice-scraper was designed for the job it is doing. Don't use your credit cards, or a fish slice or anything else. Get some de-icer and use it in conjunction with your scraper to avoid damaging the windscreen.

  3. Ignore all the people wandering around outside with boiling hot kettles - the heat from boiling water could cause your frozen windscreen to crack when the extreme temperatures meet.

  4. Make sure that you've given yourself at least 5 minutes extra - and preferably 10-15 in the morning to de-ice your car.

  5. Make sure that your screen-wash and anti-freeze are topped up regularly - at least twice a week and if possible, do it daily. Never be tempted to use washing up liquid instead of anti freeze.

Whatever you do, make sure that you have completely de-misted your windscreen as by law, the windows and mirrors of a vehicle must be clear. Nearly 24% of people surveyed admitted to breaking the law and driving with what is known as 'porthole' vision (peeking through a small de-misted hole). It's worth bearing in mind that drivers who ignore the law are risking a £1000 fine for driving with restricted vision.

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HI! i have a 2008 mercury sable and over the past week it has been making this rattling noise under the dashboard on the passenger side. I thought it was just my aisbags re setting itself, but this morning my car started chugging and now my engine light is on. What could be my problem?
mimi - 2-Dec-11 @ 4:31 PM
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