When you think about maintaining your car, do you spend much time worrying about your windshield? While your windshield doesn't have any fluids to change, you still shouldn't ignore some basic maintenance tasks. These jobs include a simple inspection at least once per year to check for any significant issues requiring repair.
Although your glass may seem static and unchanging, it expands and contracts with temperature. As a result, any damage tends to worsen over time and can even force you to replace the glass. Since water—including rain or snow—can be harsh on your windshield, early spring is an excellent time to perform a quick inspection. Follow these three steps to check your windshield for signs of severe damage.
1. Clean the Glass Thoroughly
Small cracks and chips can be hard to find on a dirty windshield, and winter can play havoc with the glass on your car. Relying on your windshield washer fluid and wipers alone often isn't enough to remove grime, road salt, sand, and other contaminants. Instead, plan to give your window a thorough cleaning before starting your inspection.
To get a good clean, use a dedicated glass cleaner and make sure to carefully clean the entire surface on both the inside and the outside. You may also want to consider using a clay bar or a plastic razor blade to remove any contaminants embedded in the glass. These extra steps will take more time, but they'll allow you to remove any dirt that you might confuse for chips or cracks.
2. Inspect the Whole Windshield
Many windshield chips can be small and hard to spot, but these tiny defects can spiderweb into much larger problems later on. Once you have a clean surface, begin at one side and slowly work across the windshield. Pay special attention to corners and other hard-to-see areas, such as the parts of your glass where rain sensors or other accessories attach.
It's a good idea to check your glass from multiple angles inside and outside the car. Some chips may only be visible at certain angles or when the light catches them in the right way, so making a few passes will help you spot minor problems before they become more severe.
3. Move Your Car
It can sometimes be hard to spot chips without the proper lighting, so it's worth moving your car at least once so the sun hits the glass at a different angle. Another option is to use a detailing inspection light to examine the windshield. Either option may reveal small chips that weren't visible under other lighting conditions.
If you do find any problems, you should contact a windshield repair professional like Auto Glass Experts as soon as possible. Even minor defects can quickly balloon into much more significant issues. Repairing your windshield damage as soon as you notice it is the best way to avoid expanding cracks that can potentially force you to replace the entire windshield.