When discussing driving in the rain, snow, sleet, or muddy weather in the day or night, a driver’s ability to easily detect hazards is crucial to safe driving and collision avoidance. Having a fresh set of wipers and a full tank of washer fluid are a great combination to improve visibility in all types of weather, but their efficiency is increased dramatically when the windshield is treated with a glass sealant or ceramic coating.
Friction causing agents, such as paint over spray, railway dust, pollen, and pollution will leave a thin transparent, gritty and tacky film on glass that causes water to cover windshields like a curtain; impairing vision. In addition, all windshields have pits and scratches when viewed under a microscope, which act like pools and channels, holding in water and further blurring driver visibility.
During the winter months, windshield defrost usage causes ice, snow and road slush to evaporate, leaving behind a thick film of salts, mud, and other particles, all which greatly impairs a driver’s visibility. Under such conditions, it is not uncommon for drivers to dispense a 4L jug of washer fluid in a single day to maintain visibility.
The function of glass sealants and ceramic coatings, simply put, are to create a slick waterproof barrier over glass at the microscopic level. The barrier reduces friction on glass surfaces, giving water no opportunity but to bead up and roll away. As driving speeds increase in rain or sleet conditions, visibility becomes clearer as the wind quickly blows away beading water without the assistance of wipers. The use of washer fluid becomes more efficient as the sealed surface is non-stick and any accumulation is easily cleared up without any streaking. As an added bonus, ice scrapping is a breeze as a result of the non-stick (low friction) surface.
Glass Sealants tend to consist of molecules of synthetic polymers making for easy application. It is normally inexpensive in relation to the quantity in a bottle and can be found at virtually any DIY automotive store. Glass sealants perform well, but usually require re-application monthly.
Ceramic coatings are made up of silicon molecules that are designed to bond chemically to glass, necessitating experienced installation. DetailnPlasti are authorized installers of Norwegian designed ceramic coatings that perform excellent in the harshest of conditions. While an install costs more than a DIY coating, the barrier lasts several months depending on the frequency of wiper use.
Preparation is key to the installation of any glass coating or sealant. A windshield can require anything from decontamination with a claybar treatment, to steel wool for heavy fallout removal(for the experienced only). A machine polish with abrasive compounds on windshield may also be required to level out visible scratches and pits before installation, which will improve visibility, last longer, and improve the overall function of the coating.
Do the test!
How smooth is your windshield?
All you need is a zip lock bag.
On a clean windshield, put your hand in the ziplock bag and the place the palm of the hand down on the windshield.
Slide your hand, while in the bag, slowly all over the windshield and see how smooth or rough the surface of your windshield is.
Share your findings.