What's more important than your ability to see clearly when driving? Your windshield is more than just a barrier between you and the road, it's also your window to the oncoming obstacles between you and your destination. If you can't see clearly through your windshield while driving, your life and the life of everyone around you is at risk. Unfortunately, certain common windshield problems can obscure your vision and put you at risk – and sometimes you may not even realize that you're not seeing out of your windshield the way that you should. See if you have any of these common windshield problems and find out how to fix them.
Streaky or Smearing Wipers
Your windshield wipers are supposed to improve your visibility in bad weather, and it can catch you by surprise when they do just the opposite. If you haven't needed to use the wipers in a long time, and then you turn them on in the middle of a storm only to have them leave streaks all over your field of vision or smear the water across the windows, you could find yourself in a dangerous situation. You should test your wipers on a regular basis if you have long stretches of dry weather. That way, you won't be caught off guard in a storm.
When your wipers leave streaks, it could be a sign that the blades have debris on them or that the windshield is dirty. Try cleaning the windshield and blades. If that doesn't solve the problem, then you'll need to replace the blades. Wipers that smear water across the windshield either don't fit correctly or are worn, and also need to be replaced. While these are potentially dangerous problems, they're also cheap and easy fixes – standard windshield wiper blade assemblies are only around $7 to $20 each.
If your vision seems cloudy, even on a perfectly clear and sunny day, then the problem with your windshield may be vinyl vapor. This is a problem that occurs on the interior side of the windshield. Parts of your car's interior – like the dashboard or the seats – are made of vinyl. Over time, the vinyl begins to give off an oily vapor. Vinyl is particularly likely to give off vapor in hot, sunny weather, and older vinyl is more susceptible to the problem than newer vinyl. This vapor sticks to the windshield glass and builds up, clouding your field of vision.
What's particularly dangerous about vinyl vapor is the way that it builds up gradually. If you drive your car every day, you may not really notice a difference from one day to the next, but the windshield is becoming progressively more fogged up. That means that you can lose vital visibility without even realizing it. Try looking at your car from the outside, when it's in a parking lot near other cars. If your glass looks hazy compared to other vehicles, vinyl vapor may be the problem. You can fix it easily enough by cleaning the interior with an ammonia-based cleanser, or a solution of ammonia and water.
Cracks and Chips
Chips and cracks in your windshield glass are obvious problems, but many drivers will try to wait as long as possible to get them fixed, for fear of having to shell out large amounts of money on the problem. What you may not realize is that even a small chip in the glass can warp and distort your visibility. This can be dangerous while driving.
Another thing that you may not realize is that small cracks and chips can grow into larger cracks that necessitate replacing the whole windshield. They also weaken the glass, which could result in your windshield shattering if a piece of road debris hits it the wrong way. Having a chip or crack repaired as soon as you notice it is the best way to save money and protect yourself. Repairing cracks and chips usually only costs between $20 and $60, while replacing a whole windshield can cost a few hundred.
Staying on top of any potential windshield problems will help keep you safer on the road. Inspect your windshield regularly for problems just like you would with any other safety device. For more information, try clicking here.
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