/More To Glass Than Meets The Eye

More To Glass Than Meets The Eye

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Although the subject of car windows may sound a little trivial, it is, in fact, quite interesting. If you think about it, car enthusiasts research and spend a lot of money and time trying to get the best out of their car’s paint by extreme detailing, but windows are often just an after thought. There’s more to car windows than you think, and with a little knowledge and understanding, you’ll take the right steps towards complimenting that detailed paint with mirror-like windows.

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The Basics

First off, the glass used in the windshield isn’t made from the same materials as the side and rear windows. Obviously, the main component is glass, but this is where the similarity ends. The windows in the modern car are structured using different types of glass and a varying amount of layers.

The all-important windshield is made from laminated glass, a layer designed so that on impact, it won’t shatter into sharp shards. The remaining windows, including the rear, are usually made from tampered or toughened glass, although some of the modern hatchbacks feature rear windows made from laminated glass as well.

Laminated glass is made up of two layers, both sandwiching a layer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral). This structure is designed for safety purposes, and when hit hard, the impact just produces a spider web of cracks. Although tampered glass is treated so it’s very strong, it does shatter, albeit into small pieces rather than sharp shards.

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Glass Care

Apart from the unavoidable chips picked up whilst driving, winter is a windshield’s number one enemy. Unless you garage your car, everyone has experienced that layer of ice covering your windshield, usually in the morning when you are already late for work. Modern cars have a ‘defrost’ ventilation setting or even a heated windshield, and whilst they tackle the ice without damaging the glass, they do take a while to take affect. Most end up resorting to impatient scraping, which can mark or even damage the glass. A good tip is to either prepare for bad weather by covering the windshield the night before, or simply making time so the car can melt it away properly.

If you pick up a stone chip or crack, it’s best to have the windshield repaired or replaced. Find a specialist like glass.net, a company that shows you all types of vehicles and can get the job done with ease. A repair is not only safer, but it ensures your car won’t fail an M.O.T if the damage progressively worsens.

Those unavoidable stone chips I mentioned come down to bad luck, however, you can prevent your windshield from further damage by stopping any ice forming on the glass in the first place. A sudden temperature change can turn a small chip into crack, or in some cases, even shatter the windshield altogether.

Always refrain from pouring boiling water over your windshield, as this is the worse way in making the glass expand far too quickly, resulting in either cracking or shattering. If you are going to use a scraper, be patient and use the correct tools and avoid scratching the glass with sharp objects – you can’t polish out scratches in glass.

Talking of scratches, the main offenders in damaging glass are the wiper blades. Always ensure you replace the rubbers, as old and hardened or worn blades not only scratch the glass, but with repeated and prolonged use, they can actually carve a small trough into it.

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There are loads of glass-cleaning products out there, but the general consensus is it’s best to avoid products containing ammonia. Not only do they ruin tinted windows, but they also harm vinyl, rubber and leather surfaces. Let’s not forget the toxic fumes too – the easiest way to tell if it’s ammonia free is to find a product stating it’s tint-film friendly.

Next up is the material used to wipe the glass. The worse thing you can do after making the effort to find a suitable cleaning agent, is to grab the nearest cloth to hand, usually the ones found under your sink. When you purchase your glass cleaner, look out for a tight weave microfiber towel. Like the cleaning agent, there are loads to choose from, but one rule of thumb is to avoid the cheapest, as they will leave residual fibres on the glass.

Always start with the side and rear windows, leaving the windshield to last, as it’s a little more difficult. Ensure you roll the windows down so you can clean all of the edges, and remember, the interior is just as important as the exterior. If you want that mirror finish, both sides need to be cleaned thoroughly.

Because the windshield is a larger piece of glass, and although you’ll still use the same products and technique, a little extra care is needed to remove those pesky water spots. These marks are the result of tiny mineral deposits being left behind after the water has evaporated. One way to avoid these irritating marks is to clean your car in the shade and avoid washing your car in direct sunlight, or on a particularly hot day.

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There’s no quick and easy way around perfect mirror clean windows. Using the correct products and tools, combined with a lot of patience, is the only the way you’ll get the satisfying finish that sees you checking your hair in glass.

(Journalist) – James is a published fiction and article writer from London (UK) with a serious penchant for Ferrari F1, anything with an engine, and English Pointers.