Here is a little question to get you thinking of long hot summer days – if you’ve been driving for more years than you care to remember, cast your mind back. Do you remember driving through agricultural areas and finding your windscreen thickly coated with defunct insects? I certainly do – it seemed as though you had to wash the bugs off several times a week so that the windscreen wipers didn’t spread the poor creatures into a distasteful smear which got in the way of a clear view as well as looking disgusting. This doesn’t seem to happen so often these days. Is the change due to a shortage of bugs, or is it the design of windscreens that has changed?
he ‘Splatometer’ test
Investigations have raised the issue that climate change and over-use of pesticides has indeed decreased the level of certain types of insects. A crude ‘splatometer’ test was carried out by the RSPB some years ago, where they counted the number of bugs that had been collected on vehicle number plates. They recorded that on average, a number plate received a ‘splat’ every five miles of driving, whereas further back in time, I can remember seeing a ‘splat’ every few minutes.
This decline in insect life is worrying, as we need many of the bugs to pollinate our crops, but apparently in certain rural and less populated areas of the British Isles (such as rural Ireland), bugs on the windscreen are as much a problem as they have always been, so those insects are hanging on in there.
Time to clean your windscreen
Whatever contamination you may get on your windscreen (road film, dead bugs, dust) and however it find itself there, it needs to be removed so that you get a clear field of vision. Here is a timely reminder of the best way to clean your auto glass – not only for safety reasons, but sparkling glass will improve the overall appearance of your car too.
Remove solid matter
The first task is to get rid of anything stuck to the outside of the windscreen or other windows. A sponge and warm water containing proprietary automotive detergent is ideal. It’s not a good idea to use domestic washing-up liquid as this can potentially damage the flexible windscreen sealant and might even dull your paintwork. Make sure you lift your windscreen wipers out of the way before cleaning your front and back windscreen, and check the wipers for damage at the same time.
Dry and polish
Dry the glass carefully, and then sparingly apply automotive glass cleaner and polish off using a lint-free cloth – microfibre cloths or good quality paper towels are ideal for this as they don’t leave streaks. Clean both sides of the glass to ensure a perfectly clear finish. Don’t allow over-spray of glass cleaner to contact your dashboard or other parts of the car interior as it can leave unsightly marks.
Don’t forget the De-Icer
Top up your windscreen washer bottle with the correct concentration of windscreen cleaning solution (use a stronger solution for colder weather), ensure you have some de-icer, a scraper and a clean window-demisting cloth or pad inside your car, and you’re set for the worst of the winter weather.