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Essential Vehicle Maintenance: Windshield & Accessories

Your windshield is an extremely important, but often overlooked, part of your vehicle. You can try and drive using your center console screen or car navigation system all you want, but you have to be able to clearly see through your windshield to practice any kind of safe driving. Run through a few checks to make sure your windshield, and the things that keep it clean, are in good shape.

First of all, examine your windshield for any cracks or injuries in the glass itself. If you notice chips or cracks, have them repaired immediately. Trash, pebbles, and sand particles can fracture the glass and cause dings, which if left unattended, can turn into bigger cracks that affect your visibility. You can buy do-it-yourself products at home, but they are usually inferior to having a professional fix the ding for you, and having the work done professionally is reasonably priced.

Avoid slamming your doors, as this causes the windshield to vibrate violently and any dings or cracks in your windshield can get worse. Also, try to park your car in the shade whenever possible, especially if it’s going to be sitting for a long time. Direct sunlight does damage the glass over time.

Next, inspect your windshield wipers closely. You can actually scratch the glass by using dirty or debris laden windshield wipers. If they are dirty, or if the rubber is cracked from the sun, it’s best to replace them. To replace old windshield wipers, carefully lift the entire assembly away from the windshield – it will prop itself in the raised position. With one hand holding the wiper arm, use your other hand to push down on the small tab on the underside of the wiper where it meets the metal arm. With the tab held down you can slide the old wiper off of the metal arm.

Prevent the wiper arm from snapping back onto your windshield by carefully resting it against the windshield while you are getting your new wiper ready to install. You can seriously damage your windshield by letting the bare metal snap back onto the glass. Take your new windshield wiper out of the packaging and arrange it how it’s going to lay on your car. Looking at the side of the metal where it attaches to the metal arm, you’ll see that one end of the plastic clip is flat and the other has a curve across the top. Rotate the plastic clip until the curve is pointing toward the wiper blade. Now hold the wiper upside down next to the metal wiper arm, where you’ll see that the curve in the arm matches the curved top of the plastic clip.

Now that you’ve lined everything up, you can slide everything into place. Lower the wiper over the wiper arm, putting the arm between the sides of the wiper and with the open end of the hook facing the plastic clip. Move the hook over the plastic clip, then pull the wiper upward so that the clip’s rounded edge slides into the hook. Pull it tight so that the assembly clicks in place. Carefully lower the wiper back onto the windshield. Repeat the process on the other wiper blade, and you’re finished.

Maintaining your windshield is important not only for your visibility, but making sure your airbag deploys properly in a crash. Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to maintain a clear, good looking, and safe windshield for years to come.

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