Winter Auto Care Mistakes

Of all the things that can go wrong with our cars and trucks, on which we are so heavily dependent, the worst of them are the problems that could have been avoided with a little forethought and a little knowledge about how your automobile works.  Unfortunately, the average driver doesn’t consider the finer points of auto care until they have made a costly mistake.  So today we will address some of the common avoidable errors of wintertime that we see here at the shop.

The first tip we have to offer is never leave your windshield wipers on when you turn your car off.  This time of year we see a lot of drivers who have burned out their windshield wiper motor when the motor tried to turn wipers that were thoroughly frozen to the windshield.  In other cases the wipers remained stuck, but the wiper arms moved accordingly,  resulting in some pretty severe damage to the windshield, which required replacement.  No matter the conditions, we recommend making it a habit to turn them off when you get out.

And for the same reason you should always remove ice and snow from the windshield and the wipers before turning them on.  When there is six inches of snow on your car, please don’t turn your wipers on for a moment and then drive off.   The same goes for the side windows, where trying to move a frozen window can strip the cheap plastic parts that operate    Not only is it unsafe for you and other drivers, it could end up costing you a lot more in repairs than you ever thought a windshield wiper problem could.

And of course, have windshield chips and cracks addressed immediately to avoid further damage.  This is exceptionally important in the winter, since thermal expansion can cause the heated inner layer and the cold outer layer to push and pull against one another.  This type of pressure can turn a small repairable chip into a full windshield crack in the blink of an eye (or a bump of the road).

And remember, when the sever weather comes we are all just trying to stay on the road and get where we need to go.  Show some kindness for your fellow man and drive as safely as possible – You may just spare a life!

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You Used What as an Ice Scraper?!

We have seen some serious self inflicted windshield damage caused by customers who got got creative with improvised ice removal.  And we know that nobody likes paying to replace their windshield, but it’s all the more agonizing when it is damage that could have so easily been avoided.  Today we’ll give you some of the the good, the bad and the ugly that we have seen here at the shop.

The Good:  Honestly, the only thing we would recommend using to remove ice from your windshield is an ice scraper.   While this doesn’t help in a pinch, you should get one now and keep it in your vehicle, before you find yourself in a pickle.  Another preemptive strike you might make against the ice is an application of Aquapel, which would keep the ice from sticking so firmly in the first place.  But if you find yourself unprepared and facing in impossibly icy windshield, just be patient and run the defroster to melt the ice slowly – those few minutes aren’t likely to cost you more than a new windshield.

The Bad:  Upon searching the internet, we were surprised to find many sites that recommend using your credit card, which is actually a terrible idea.  We have replaced more than a few pieces of auto glass that were damaged by using a credit card as an improvised ice removal tool.  Not only could you cost yourself a replacement, but you might end up paying for it the old fashioned way, since the ice can destroy the magnetic strip on the card and render it unusable.

The Ugly: We have heard some pretty awful ideas for improvised ice scrapers from crushed soda cans and coffee cup lids to CDs and old license plates (ouch!).  We have even seen people who used a hammer to break the ice (and the windshield) or a screwdriver to chisel at it – all simply dreadful techniques for ice removal.

If you find yourself in and “iced over” situation without a scraper remember – just defrost to avoid the cost!

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.