The windshield of our vehicle is a window to the world we navigate, literally and figuratively. We rely on a windshield to provide a clear view of the road ahead, allowing us to assess our surroundings and any potential dangers ahead.
Ideally, a windshield should be free of any defects that could limit our field of vision. This includes chips, cracks, and dents, all of which can cause problems when moving from one place to another. However, there is another type of windshield defect that is equally problematic, but is often ignored.
Windshield scratches can be just as annoying as chips, cracks and tears, due to their ability to distort light and produce significant glare. Fortunately, windshield scratches can often be removed by those with the proper knowledge and some basic tools.
This gives clarity to your windshield, improving your ability to analyze the road ahead. Read on to learn more about how to remove scratches from your windshield and how to make repairs yourself.
See also: 5 reasons why the inside of your windshield gets dirty
Are these normal streaks on the windshield?
Scratches are among the most common types of windshield defects. In fact, it would be reasonable to assume that over 90% of windshields have some type of scratch or etching on the surface. However, windshield scratches differ in severity, as well as their impact on drivers’ ability to see clearly.
Although some windshield scratches are barely noticeable and can only be seen in direct sunlight, others are glaring or even irritating. The second of these two types of scratches often causes problems when it comes to boating in direct sunlight, due to its tendency to cause significant glare.
Windshield scratches are largely unavoidable, although special measures can be taken to prevent windshield scratches to some extent. Just like chips and cracks from airborne debris, windshield scratches go hand-in-hand with road trips.
Read also: How to remove the badge from a vehicle (step by step)
What causes scratches on the windshield?
The most common cause of windshield scratches is prolonged use of worn windshield wipers. As your wiper blades age, their rubber inserts begin to wear out and make all kinds of noises.
If not replaced in a timely manner, a vehicle’s wiper blades can wear down to the point of causing metal-to-glass contact. When this happens, scratching is an immediate byproduct. Due to the repetitive movement of the wiper arm, these scratches only get worse over time.
Another common cause of windshield scratches is the use of windshield wipers. dusty, sandy, or arid environments. Both dust and sand act as abrasives. Therefore, a windshield covered in dust or sand is prone to scratches when a vehicle’s windshield wipers are activated.
This usually occurs in cases where a vehicle’s windshield is not yet completely saturated with water before the wipers activate.
Additionally, windshield scratches can occur as a byproduct of a foreign body appears. Rocks thrown from a construction vehicle, debris falling overhead, and windblown material can pose a risk to windshields if they occur at an angle.
Read also: Does the windshield wiper not return to the rest position? (4 Reasons)
Can a scratch turn into a crack?
Although a scratch on your windshield is unlikely to turn into a crack, to the untrained eye the opposite can happen. This is because it can be difficult to distinguish between a scratch and a crack.
Although scratches are little more than surface imperfections, cracks extend deeper into the windshield and affect its structural integrity.
If a minor crack in your windshield is misdiagnosed and considered little more than a scratch, it can be a bit dissatisfying to see that crack over time. As a result, one is often led to believe that a perceived scratch has turned into a crack when in reality an untreated crack has worsened.
However, in a limited number of cases, deep scratches can spread. This occurs when a scratch is deep enough to compromise the integrity of the windshield. As a result, the ends of these scratches separate over time and extend over several weeks or months.
Will insurance cover a scratched windshield?
Whether or not your insurance company covers the replacement of a scratched windshield depends largely on the exact terms of your specific policy.
However, in many cases, a comprehensive or comprehensive auto policy will cover the replacement of a scratched, chipped, or cracked windshield per year, without any risk of it negatively affecting your premiums.
It is important to understand that windshield cracks are likely to be evaluated at the sole discretion of the insurer. How to deal with such a situation is likely to depend on the severity of the scratch, as well as its impact on the driver’s field of vision.
Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that more than one such claim is rejected year after year, due to various technicalities.
If in doubt, drivers are strongly advised to contact their insurer for more information regarding their coverage for windshield-related claims. This avoids any misunderstanding if the bad luck ends.
Related: Best Ways to Cover a Broken Window
How to remove scratches from the windshield
In most cases, small scratches can be easily removed from a windshield with ease. There are many different methods for accomplishing such a task, some of which are more suitable for certain situations than others.
These are some of the most common ways to remove scratches from a windshield.
See also: Remove bird poop before it damages your paint or windshield
#1 – Polishing compound
Most auto parts stores sell commercial-grade polishing compounds, for example, Meguiars Final Compound, removes scratches on the windshield in the same way as toothpaste. However, these compounds tend to be a little more abrasive and require special attention to detail when using them.
For small scratches, for example, slightly less abrasive glass polishing compounds. 3M Where Garage Griot works great for windshield restoration. Simply use a polishing pad or lint-free towel to apply it with a little pressure. This process can be repeated until the desired results are achieved.
#2 – Random Orbit Policy
The same type of polish and pad that auto detailers use on your vehicle’s paint can also be used with a light polishing compound (see above) to remove scratches from your windshield. It works in the same way as a manual application but is much faster and requires less effort.
A dual-action car polisher is much easier to use on a windshield than on paint when it can work a very large area through the clear coat and into the paint (or worse).
However, care should still be taken when using a polishing machine, as prolonged use or excessive pressure can eventually burn or etch the glass surfaces.
Related: 6 Different Types of Car Scratches
#3 – Polish with toothpaste
Non-gel types of toothpaste work well as light polishing compounds and can be used to repair minor scratches and windshields.
Before polishing, the windshield should be thoroughly cleaned and dried. The toothpaste can then be applied to the scratch using a fiber cloth and working in a circular motion. This will even out the area around the scratch, providing a uniform, restored appearance.
#4 – Use a windshield repair kit
Windshield repair kits can be purchased at almost any auto parts store and work to seal a scratch from further damage. Devices of this type contain cerium oxide polishing compounds, which react and adhere to glass surfaces when applied.
Like clear nail polish, this rubbing compound is used to fill and seal scratches at their source.
#5 – Seal with clear nail polish
Clear nail polish is often used to seal small scratches, to prevent them from getting worse in the future. This nail polish is simply applied to the surface of a scratch, at which point it will begin to dry and harden.
Once the nail polish is fully cured, it will act as a semi-permanent filler and prevent dirt, grime, and water from any scratches applied to it.
#6 – Professional Windshield Scratch Repair
If you have tried unsuccessfully to remove scratches from your windshield with the methods mentioned above, or if you need a second opinion, it is probably time to seek professional help.
Companies like Safelite specialize in windshield repair/replacement and can fix even the most serious problems. Many such companies offer on-site service and can take care of your windshield while you are at work or when you are unavailable.
It’s also worth checking with your car insurance provider before contacting a professional window repairer, as these services may be covered under your current policy. This could save you time and money while mitigating safety issues that arise from wind-caused defects.