Windscreens and Wipers

As usual, the change of season brings with it maintenance issues for vehicle owners. If your car has to sleep outside and there’s a layer of frost or snow blanketing the windscreen do not be tempted to use warm water to get rid of the ice. This is a sure recipe for replacing the windscreen – it will crack! Rather use a scraper, an old credit card works well, to remove the ice. Using the air conditioner to demist the interior of the windscreen works effectively as well.

When driving in cold conditions do not be tempted to use your windscreen sprayers, the water from the reservoir will freeze onto the windscreen and the wipers will not be able to clear the ice.

Small cracks or chips in a windscreen are very sensitive to heat fluctuations and can rapidly increase in size if they are subjected to a sudden change of temperature.  A cracked or chipped windscreen needs to be repaired however if the chip can be covered by a ten cent piece it will probably be able to be fixed, any larger and the windscreen will have to be replaced. Remember that the area directly in the drivers’ view (about the size of a rugby ball) needs to be clear of cracks or chips otherwise the car could be deemed unroadworthy by the traffic police.

From a safety point of view, winter means three things – smoke, dust, and if you’re in the Cape, rain. Check the condition of windscreen wiper blades and replace them even if they’re cleaning the glass just a little streakily. Wiper blades must be in good condition and need to be inspected regularly, only the edge of the wiper blade should make contact with the windscreen and not the entire rubber body of the wiper blade. Wipers should not be used to clear mud and soil from the windscreen – these could scratch the glass. Remember, as the driver, you need to be able to see perfectly at all times.

Lastly try to park your vehicle undercover during winter. Various vehicle components can be influenced or damaged if exposed to extreme cold conditions. Safe driving!