Saturday afternoon. It’s a long weekend. The kids are calling for a pit-stop and an icecream. Great idea, sigh the parents.
Soon, a petrol station comes into view and it’s a mad scramble to get out to the loos first. Mum pops inside to get some drinks and icecreams, Dad has a stretch and decides to give the windscreen a scrub.
Bugs, you know.
There’s the obligatory dunk up and down of the washer/squeegee, a half-hearted attempted to scrub off the bugs and dust, a flick of the wrist to shake out excess water, and a rotation to the squeegee side.
Right about now, a couple of alarm bells should be sounding.
Let’s look at the first step. It’s not uncommon for petrol stations to simply fill the buckets the window cleaner and squeegee device sits in with water. Only water. It’s an expectation that an appropriate window cleaning detergent be mixed in, rather than only aqua pura.
If the water doesn’t froth up when stirring it, it’s a good chance that there is no cleaning fluid, therefore no cleaning power. There’s also a good chance, as a result, that the bottom of the bucket will be visible and invariably dirty.
The next step is the squeegee side. Unfortunately, if a station hasn’t provided a clean supply of fluid, it’s probable that maintenance of the squeegee blade isn’t being performed either.
Here, a check of the rubber blade should be undertaken. How broad is the blade? Does it stand out away from the chrome restraining strip? Perhaps more importantly, how flexible is what’s there?
Is the blade all in one piece or are there hints of a feathered (deteriorating) edge? Any sign of anything not right is a warning to not apply it to the windscreen.
The potential to etch micro-scratches into the glass is strong. These will trap more dust, scatter light making forward vision harder to deal with, and affect the wiper blades on the car itself.
Take a moment, have a look. That pause could be a longer term solution to safer driving.
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Published Apr 13, 2021