It’s nippy out. You get into the car and notice that your windscreen is lightly frosted. You’re already late for work, so you rush back into the house and pop the kettle on. When it has boiled, you pour the hot water over your windscreen, hoping it will defrost instantly so that you can get to work in time. BANG! A giant crack forms on your windscreen, like an icy hand stretching from one side of the glass to the other. “How much is this going to cost?” you wonder with growing panic.
Winter is a particularly perilous time of year for windscreens, but under no circumstances should you try to de-ice your windscreen by pouring boiling water onto it. In fact, the sudden change in temperature puts pressure on the glass which can actually cause it to crack. Here's what you should do instead…
How to defrost your windscreen
The best method for defrosting a windscreen is simple, cheap and effective: use de-icer spray and an ice scraper to clear the ice. De-icer spray is specially formulated to remove ice. And although you might get a little chilly standing outside while you scrape the ice off, it’s a sacrifice that’s worth it in the long term.
If your windscreen is foggy, then the ‘defrost’ airflow setting will help blow air over the glass, helping to evaporate some of the moisture.
Will a cracked windscreen pass a MOT?
Your windscreen isn’t just important because it protects you from drizzly winter days, but because you need to have a clear view of the road when you drive to avoid accidents.
Worried that your car won’t pass its MOT if it has damage or scratches on the windscreen? Repairing small windscreen damage is typically 70% cheaper than the cost of replacing the screen. Here, it becomes about the extent of the damage – typically a crack of 40mm or less can be repaired. However, greater significance is given to the area of the windscreen directly in front of the driver’s window, as this is the most vital for crystal clear vision. Typically damage larger than 10mm in front of the driver’s field of vision, and 40mm in front of the passenger seat, is passable on a MOT, assuming you have used a legitimate repair – whether DIY or with a garage.
Depending on your insurance cover, it’s even possible to get some small windscreen repairs carried out through your insurance, without actually impacting on your no claims discount.
Ensure you use authentic OEM glass
If you're getting your windscreen replaced, make sure that it’s manufactured in line with industry requirements. It’s recommended that, to ensure compliance with industry standards, you buy your glass from an OEM source, and that it’s branded with the relevant vehicle manufacturer logo. Your insurance provider will be able to help you source approved windscreen repairers.
When should you replace your wiper blades?
Wiper blades are your trusty ally through rain, sleet and snow, helping to provide you with unobstructed vision, whatever the weather. But, did you know that worn wiper blades can actually scratch or chip your windscreen? It’s essential to make sure that you get them replaced as soon as you notice they’re starting to falter.
Blades that are ‘streaking’ – where they’ve failed to clear water from the glass in certain places – odd noises such as squeaks and scrapes, and any unusual movement across the glass, are all tell-tale signs of weathered wipers.
Keep an eye out for the signs and bear in mind they can need to be changed as often as every six to 12 months. If you can tell just by looking at them that they’re out of shape or perhaps just starting to look a little worse for wear, then it’s time to update them with a younger model. After all, replacing them is cheaper than replacing your windscreen down the line due to wiper damage.