Don’t Let Your Vehicle Leave You Out In The Cold

I hate to say it, but winter is right around the corner.  Just as we prepare ourselves by switching our clothes in the closets, cutting wood for the fireplace, and making sure our furnace is in working order, we need to get our vehicle ready for the winter months too.   

Follow these simple steps to ensure your vehicle doesn’t leave you out in the cold this winter:

  1. Get an oil change and top off all fluids, brake fluid, antifreeze, washer fluid, etc.  Get a tune up. 
  2. Check your lights: head lights, tail lights, turn signals, etc. check them all!
  3. Most wiper blades last one year.  If you haven’t changed yours recently, now is the time. 
  4. Check your tires to be sure the air pressure is where it needs to be for your tires and get them rotated if it’s been awhile.  If you have snow tires, it’s time to start thinking about putting them on.
  5. Consider having an Aquapel treatment applied to your windshield as it makes it easier to clear ice and snow from your windshield. Also consider waxing your car as it will protect your vehicle’s paint/clear coat finish and makes it easier to wash off dirt and salt during the winter months.
  6. Check your battery making sure the posts and connectors are free of corrosion. 
  7. Put an emergency kit in your truck.  Make sure it includes, at the very minimum, a  blanket, flashlight with working batteries, pocket warmers, and flares.  We also suggest you keep an extra set of boots and warm clothes, high energy bars, hard candy, and a small shovel, just in case.  
  8. Remember to keep your gas tank at least half full.  You never now when you may get stuck in traffic. 

I realize that these steps may sound like a hassle; however, they can be a lifesaver in the winter months.  A little preparation now, can save you big headaches down the road.  

Stay safe!

Saving Big by Spending Smart

It is a sentiment echoed across the auto repair industry that proper care and maintenance of each part of the vehicle can extend the life of the parts and save money in the long run.  By taking care of necessary small repairs and maintenance promptly you can save on replacement of a more extensively damaged part.

This certainly applies to windshield repair, since small chips can turn into huge cracks quickly they need to be taken care of immediately.  The difference in cost between repair and replacement is considerable, especially to those in the Rochester, NY area who can come in for our free windshield repair.  For a donation of pet supplies, as little as five pounds of cat or dog food, Ray Sands Glass will repair damage to your windshield before you need a costly replacement.

Some people try to save on bargain gasoline or oil changes which is sometimes a good idea but car owners have to be smart about their choices.   Gasoline at outlet prices can be a big savings to those who commute a lot, but we would advise that every third tank should be high quality gas to “treat the car”.   When it comes to oil changes it would be wise to save by doing it yourself with high quality oil, rather than going to a shop for standard oil.  Unless you are working with a vehicle with very high mileage, it is best to use higher quality fluids to extend the life of the car.

When considering frequently replaced parts, like windshield wipers, you have to consider the life of the part.  One pair of more expensive “banana style” wipers per year is probably cheaper than three pair of the bargain brand which wear out much faster.  If you don’t have money at the moment, using less costly products won’t hurt – but it may cost more in the long run.

Need Help Clearing That Icy Windshield?

As winter hit us hard this week in Rochester, many drivers were faced with the problem of clearing the snow and ice off their windows. Since we already discussed some of the things that can go wrong with this process in  How to Destroy Your Own Auto Glass, today we will discuss some things that can make clearing ice and snow easier without damaging your windshield.

Aquapel is your best defense if you don’t have a garage or car port to protect your vehicle from the elements.  The same chemical bond that causes the rain to roll up and fly off at high speeds, also helps prevent ice and snow from sticking to the windshield.  The windshield  isn’t going to be cleared and shiny when you come out in the morning, but the ice will certainly be a lot easier to clear, you can often use a squeegee instead of a scraper.

It’s important to make sure when applying Aquapel that you lift the wipers and make sure to treat the entire windshield, even under the wipers.   This is essential for winter application because you NEVER want to turn on windshield wipers that are frozen to the glass.  This could bend or break the wipers or wiper arms, or worse, blow out the windshield wiper motor – which would be a big punch in the pocket, especially during the holidays.

We also found  this article on Freep.com that discusses some other ways to help deal with ice on your auto glass.  In the article, author Matt Helms mentions windshield covers, sold at many auto parts stores which cover the entire windshield and are held tight with straps that close in the doors.  And while not nearly as nice looking, we have found that a basic waterproof tarp can work well too.

But however you manage it, remember that it is absolutely imperative that your windshield, as well as side and rear glass, be completely cleared for safe winter driving.

The New Age of Windshield Science

Auto makers are always trying to think of ways to make driving safer, easier  and more efficient.  Now technology is playing a big role in the new advances in windshields.  What used to be a piece of glass that supported the roof and kept bugs off our faces, is now the focal point of technological driver safety – literally.

Since ideally, a safe driver would keep eyes focused outside through the windshield or mirrors and hands on the steering wheel, automakers are now designing features to make this more practical.  Instead of making more extravagant (and confusing) center console features, we are starting to see more controls directly on the steering wheel.   And while more common in aircraft, some automobiles also have what is called a “heads up display”, that displays data and control settings via projection onto the inside of the windshield.

Now auto makers are experimenting with windshields that combine different  types of light and temperature sensors to give drivers what can be equated to night vision.   The new windshield technology enhances objects near the road such as mailboxes, telephone poles, people and animals by outlining them in a lighted silhouette.

One new model being tested by GM traces over the side of the road using a lighted line to help drivers anticipate curves and intersections in less than ideal conditions.  Some auto models are now available with small screens that show an enhanced view of the outside world, but new prototypes would project onto the entire windshield, enhancing the what the driver is looking at.  That includes detecting and highlighting speed limit signs for the speeding driver.

And since the current market is tightly focused on gas mileage, auto companies are looking at different ways to enhance this factor by making cars and trucks more aerodynamic.  One thing that can cause a surprisingly significant amount of wind drag is the windshield wipers, which is why auto manufacturers are looking to do away with them all together.

PPG has developed a product for manufacturers that repels water and bonds to the glass like Aquapel, but instead of six months, would last up to seven to eight years.  This would work in conjunction with a small, high speed blower to blow an airstream up along the windshield that would help remove water drops at speeds less than 40.  The airstream from the blower would also create a slipstream – instead of hitting the windshield abruptly, air would be slightly “cushioned” by the air moving upwards along the windshield – making the car more aerodynamic.

While these ideas may be a few years from being put into practical, everyday use, the reality is that every part of the auto is changing – even the windshield.

RainX – From Wipers to Tires

  Ray Sands Glass has held the long standing position that Aquapel is the top quality product of it’s kind – and we still think so.  But due to our nation’s current economic situation, top quality isn’t always the priority.  It seems most people are thinking more along the line of “top value” these days.

   Whenever considering a large purchase, I always ask the salesperson “Which is the best value?”, because I don’t want the cheapest, but I don’t need the very best – with all the bells and whistles.  But it seems lately this applies just as much to our small purchases – such as a windshield rain repellent.  For that reason Ray Sands Glass will now also carry a line of products from Rain-X in addition to our stock of Aquapel.     Continue reading