To navigate everyday life, we count on our five basic senses: eyesight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. Depending on the activity, we count more on one sense than another. Taste and smell are important to enjoy your morning brew. By the same token, one would hardly hear or taste their way to their office on their morning commute. When driving, vision is by far your most important sense, which is why you should consider a windshield coating to make the best of it.
Untreated Glass vs. Windshield Coating
When the glass is new, it’s relatively smooth to the touch, but not so smooth that water, grime, and bugs won’t stick to it. Over time, abrasive road grime makes the situation worse, microscopic pits and scratches giving all that stuff on the road a place to hold and obstruct your vision. Hydrophobic windshield coatings make the glass so smooth that nothing sticks to it, not even water or fingerprints. Here are three main reasons you should get a glass coating.
- Day and Night Visibility – The cleaner your glass is, the easier it is to see. Rain, snow, and fog only make things worse, but if nothing sticks to the glass, your vision improves significantly. In fact, at the right speed, rain simply beads up and runs off. Being able to see better could mean the difference between recognizing a dangerous situation or becoming part of it.
- Easier Cleaning – When nothing really sticks to the glass, it’s super easy to clean. With the windshield wipers, just a couple squirts of washer fluid and swipes will keep it clean. When it comes to car washes and detailing, a damp microfiber cloth works wonders on a coated windshield.
- Easier Ice and Snow Clearing – Hydrophobic coatings also repel frost, snow, and ice, making winter cleanup so much easier.
Hydrophobic Coating Application Tips
There are three main coating types, all simple to apply. In fact, if you know how to clean glass, you’re only missing one bottle to make the switch to a cleaner and clearer windshield.
- Nanoparticulate-silica coatings or “ceramic coatings” last the longest because they chemically bond with the glass. They tend to last about six months.
- Fluorinated coatings also form a chemical bond, but it isn’t as strong. These last about three months.
- Silicone-based coatings, like Rain-X Water Repellent, adhere to your windshield but eventually wash off. Depending on exposure and wiper use, these can last a couple of months.
The key to a clear windshield, no matter what coating you use, is to start with a clean windshield. Use a good non-ammonia-based glass cleaner and multiple microfiber towels for a clean streak-free finish. Then, spray on your weapon of choice. Multiple applications and interim wiping or buffing are usually required, which will give you the smoothest finish. Check the instructions to be sure. Finally, don’t forget to regularly reapply the coating to maintain its hydrophobic properties. Lifespan, again, depends on what type of coating you are using.
As the name suggests, windshield coating is a great idea for the windshield, but it works great on all glass, side and rear windows, mirrors, and sunroofs. Enjoy clear vision in all kinds of weather with an easy-to-apply windshield coating.
Check out all the polish and wax products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on windshield coatings, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.