Even though it’s summer we are still under threat of severe weather, including thunderstorms and heavy rain, which brought the subject of water repellent windscreen coatings to mind. Have you ever tried them? People have mixed reactions to the thought of covering their vehicle windscreen with a coating of some kind – will it work, will it affect your vision and will it come off or get damaged easily?
According to the experts, having a clean windscreen, an efficient set of windscreen wipers with the wiper blades in good condition, and a windscreen washer bottle topped up with the appropriate strength windscreen cleaner is perfectly adequate for 99% of driving conditions, but what about that other 1%?
Car manufacturers and car accessory companies have for years been trying to come up with a solution to the problem of poor visibility caused by excess water on the windscreen – even the best windscreen wipers can’t clear the windscreen rapidly and effectively enough to enable safe driving during really heavy rain. There have been experiments with windscreens that repel water, but they are expensive to produce and don’t fare well under tough motoring conditions as they are easily damaged.
An affordable solution
The only realistic and affordable solution at the moment is a water repellent product that you can apply to your own vehicle windscreen, which will increase visibility in poor driving conditions such as rain and snow, and will even help to reduce headlight glare while driving at night. The way they work is to make the water on the windscreen form into ‘beads’ or droplets which then roll quickly off the windscreen, thus clearing the field of view.
If you apply the products thoroughly and according to manufacturer’s recommendations, it is claimed that you can even drive without using your windscreen wipers in quite heavy rain. I don’t think I would like to try that, but it’s nice to think your visibility would be improved in those difficult conditions.
There are many products on the market, and they all claim to be easy to apply. Some are silicone based substances and some are bio compound based, and state that they are without volatile components or solvents that can cause a hazard to the user. They more or less all do the same thing, the difference is that some of them are longer-lasting than others.
How do you use the products?
Basically, you spray the product evenly across the entire surface of your thoroughly-cleaned windscreen, and the substances chemically bond with the top surface of the windscreen glass, increasing the ability to repel water and reduce headlight glare.
It is recommended by the manufacturers that you carefully shield any paintwork before applying these products because they can damage painted surfaces, and people have also complained that their windscreen wiper blades have been damaged by the coating.
You get what you pay for
You usually get what you pay for in life, so I would always choose a good quality make, preferably one that is biodegradable and chlorine-free, and therefore non-toxic while you apply it. Tests have shown that some products last around one month, and some are useless after two weeks, so it’s up to you whether you think it’s worth the effort to renew the coating regularly. The good news is that none of the coatings are affected by car washing detergents, so you won’t have to renew them every time you wash your car.