VISION AND SAFETY
Vision and safety; a strange combination of words probably only used in the automotive industry. Exactly what does that entail? Well in my eye any part of an automobile that inhibits or does not protect the operator from the natural resources of their area is part of the vision and safety aspect of the vehicle. The vision part of this statement is pretty much self-explanatory but the safety part is a double edge sword. Safety not only pertains to the safety of the operator and the passengers but also the safety of on-coming traffic and above all the safety of pedestrians and motorcyclists.
As we talk about vision, of course, the first part of a vehicle that comes to mind is the windshield. Proper care of the windshield is the first step in keeping your line of vision clear and unobstructed. What is the proper care of your windshield; first of all, it means keeping it clean on both the inside and out. That means cleaning it with a good foaming type glass cleaner and buffing it with a good polishing towel or cloth, the ultimate trick is to rub the outside of the windshield down with a clay bar, and then re-polish it with a good foaming cleaner. It is highly advisable to install a protective treatment such as Rain X to help eliminate pests and debris from sticking to the glass. Keeping the inside of the windshield clean is just as important as most vehicles in the sunbelt always have the windows closed and the A/C on recirculate, which means that the same air and its contaminates are always in the passenger compartment. This creates a film on the inside of the interior glass that is conducive to glare, especially during sunrises and sunsets. Most people in S.W Florida live to watch our beautiful sunrises and sunsets yet that is the most dangerous time to be behind the wheel. Dusk is approaching and when do the headlights need to be turned on. At sunrise, the sun is so bright and low on the horizon so that it is directly in the driver’s eyes especially if you are traveling due east. Of course, everything we discuss about the windshield also pertains to all of the other windows in your vehicle except for the Rain X application, which should only be used on the windshield. Cleaning the inside of your windshield with a Mr. Clean eraser sponge and then polishing it with a good foaming cleaner and a new microfiber towel is the best cleaning procedure. By using quality glass wax on the remainder of your glass should be protection enough.
The most detrimental damage done to windshields is done by the wiper blades that are being used. Windshield wipers are one of those automotive enigmas that make shop owners like me crazy. As a shop owner, I maintain that any part that is installed on a vehicle should be of the highest quality at the best price. Unfortunately, sometimes trying to convince a client that the blades that we recommend are $30.00 apiece when the owner can run down to a discount store and buy the “SAME” thing for $4.00 a pair.
Take this with a grain of salt. We just explained how to care for your windshield which by the way can run as high as $1000.00 to replace, and now you want to run a cheap rubber knife across its surface in order to save a couple of bucks. A windshield wiper blade is a miniature squeegee. Their efficiency depends on the material the blade is made of, which needs to be soft and pliable especially when it is exposed to the extreme heat in Florida. It is also dependent on the contact points and pressures that are exerted on the windshield while the wipers are in use. Today’s windshields are aerodynamic and have a different contour than the windshields of the past.
That means that the wiper blade must be able to conform to the shape of the windshield and provide even and constant pressure across the viewing area when in use, during different types of conditions. When was the last time that you turned on the wipers and they hesitated to wipe right away or did you have to break them loose from the windshield, and when they did eventually work there was this huge area that either didn’t wipe or just plain smeared in your optimal viewing area?
That my friends are the difference between blades that retail for $4.95 a pair and $30.00 each. With every service that we perform at Gregg’s, we monitor the condition of the blades, the condition of the rubber, and we install a glass treatment on the windshield, as your safety is our top priority.
Which wiper blade is the best? Actually, that is a question that cannot be answered easily. It depends on your budget, your vehicle, and how your vehicle is stored. I can promise you this if you stay with name brands such as Anco, Trico, Rain X, Bosch, etc., and buy your blade by your vehicle’s specifics and not “universal” fits chances are you will not have any real issues. We used ANCO’s contour blades as they seem to be the best of all worlds. However, they have since been discontinued and we now recommend either Rain X or the new Bosch line. If you happen to be the proud owner of certain European vehicle’s we recommend OEM blades because we know that they work.
As usual, our concerns are for the safety of our clients, their families, and the thousands of others that share our roadways.