Magazine Cover - Classic Cars For Sale - 1000s of Classic Car Reviews, How To Service & Maintenance Guides

Vision/Screen Care

Vision ON Published: 30th Jun 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Vision/Screen Care
Vision/Screen Care
Vision/Screen Care
Vision/Screen Care
Magazine Subscription
The latest issue of Classic Cars For Sale is on sale now - Pick up your copy from all good newsagents including WHSmith or click here to subscribe now

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 20%

Subscribe NOW

Available at all good newsagents including WHSmith

Glazing can be one of the most neglected parts of a classic’s bodywork but Rob Marshall thinks that it is worth looking after

While determining the quality of a fine red will demand immaculately clean glassware and, despite my grandmother’s short-sighted wish to have a ‘prescription windscreen’ fitted to her Volvo 340 (a wicked April Fool of a couple of years back), clear vision pays both aesthetic and safety dividends. A friend’s taxi cab stands out from those of his competitors, by always looking relatively spotless. When I queried how he achieves this seemingly impossible task, he stated that by cleaning both wheel rims and glazing, between calls, the car appears less grimy overall. Removing bug residue, streaks and finger prints, makes a huge difference to any car’s look.


Applying a Brillo Pad will leave random scratch-marks behind and so, unless you are after a distinctive ‘shabby-chic’ effect, keep abrasive materials away from glass. Use a good-quality window cleaner and moisten any stubborn deposits, prior to wiping them away with a soft cloth. Although a windscreen can be damaged by detritus flung up from the road, hardened wiper rubbers can also score the glass, therefore, check that the material is still pliable.

A split rubber will fail the MoT Test, I find that regular sponging, to remove dirt, will not only make the windscreen wipers more effective but they will also last a good deal longer, too.

If there’s one thing that moderns do better than classics and that’s wiping the windscreen! A combination of better blade designs and larger wipers mean it’s much easier to keep a screen clean. Having said that, there’s a lot you can do to improve your car’s existing wipers.

Start off with renewing any that are old and tired. A new set of quality blades can work wonders, not simply for vision but also quietness. You have the choice of either fitting new blades (which is the simplest and best method) or just fit new ‘refill’ rubbers which you fit to the old blades. While cheaper, it’s a fiddly job and you can easily damage the old metal blade, which it must be remembered also wears out.

For classics, fitted with their original metal wiper blades, into which a new rubber refill can be slid, check that no element of their stainless steel construction can damage the screen, when the wipers are operated.

Annoying judder might emanate from the rubber bearing against the glass at an incompatible angle; bending it gently with pliers should correct the irritation. The wiper arm’s tension spring can weaken, or rust through, with age and the pressure points on the blade, which help to press the rubber evenly against the glass, can seize.

Worn wiper linkages can cause judder too but I have found that applying a rain-repelling gel to the windscreen, such as ‘RainX’, helps the wipers to glide across the glass less erratically.

A treatment called Duxback lasts on the screen for months and the water magically flows off the screen – we know, we’ve tried it. It’s great but costs over £20 per treatment although might be worthwhile if your classic’s wipers aren’t that effective.

Many classics suffer from wiper lift at speed where air flow literally causes the wipers to pull off the screen. You can prevent this by fitting replacements that boast an aerodynamic ‘spoiler’, although most types, sold in pairs, tend to have these fitted to the driver’s wiper only.

Despite looking totally out of character on an older classic, fashionable flat, one-piece blades are expensive fitments but they might be more practical, if your car is used all year round. These types contain a single sprung steel strip, which helps to keep the whole length of the rubber in contact with the windscreen.


Apart from seized linkages, look for a failing motor, or a leak in vacuum-operated systems, if your wipers work too slowly. As most classics lack an intermittent wipe setting, kits are available (such as one from Maplins, priced at under a tenner) that can be retrofitted but do so, without altering original wiring looms permanently.

A good-quality screen wash can also benefit the glazing. Apart from inhibiting the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease to breed within the washer bottle, screen wash lubricates the wiper blades and glass.

However, never operate the windscreen wipers, when the screen is dry, or else you risk creating unwanted scratches.

Just as worn rubbers can scratch a windscreen, hardened weather strips can mark a side window, as it is lowered. Do not forget that many classics have a felt inner strip, clipped to the inside top of the door skin, and dirt can build up, which can also abrade the glass. New Old Stock parts tend to be unavailable but specialists, such as Woolies Trim, can supply material that can be cut to length. Spraying a light coat of penetrating oil to the side runners helps to reduce the effort required at the winder handle, and lazy electric windows can benefit from this tip too.


Just like domestic double-glazing, the layers on laminated screens can separate, especially if the sealant around the edges is failing. This causes moisture to be drawn into the screen by capillary action, creating a milky effect. Replacement is the only cure.

Yet, while all types of windscreen can chip, the safety construction of laminated screens means that marks can spread out in a star shape, which has to be repaired professionally. Although most comprehensive insurance policies can undertake this for free, get the chip attended to quickly, because dirt will enter, making it impossible to repair.

Providing that they do not shatter into a million tiny glass shards, an impact can knock a small amount of glass from a toughened windscreen’s surface.  I have filled in these types of depression successfully, quickly and cheaply, using a resin-based windscreen repair kit.

Some later classics are fitted with plastic windows, such as those fitted to certain Citroën BX rear quarter panels, which can succumb to the sun’s ultra-violet light by either discolouring, or cracking. Providing that the damage is superficial, they can be restored by careful sanding, with wet-and-dry, prior to being polished with several grades of paintwork cutting compound.

Should you consider having your windows tinted, the law dictates that the front and side windows must allow at least 70 per cent of available light to pass though them, on pre-April 1985 classics, and both VOSA and the police enforce the ruling actively.

Although rear windows tend to be the least vulnerable to damage, their heating elements can be broken, by careless cleaning, wiping with a ringed hand, or storing hard objects on a rear parcel shelf that rub against the glass. They can be repaired, by careful masking and painting a conductive paint over the broken element but I have found that the colour choice is rather limited.


Although a variety of DIY kits are available, I have found that glass scratch removers tend to be both arduous and time consuming to use. As with removing scratches from paint, you bring the glass level with the deepest part of the scratch. However, removing too much material might cause a lensing effect and it might be worthwhile to consult professional help, if you can detect the scratch with a finger nail. If a screen is lightly damaged, T Cut or a similar abrasive has been known to reduce the scars but the best remedy is still a product called Jewellers’ Rouge. It’s a burnishing powder available in varying grades and is available from an old fashioned Jeweller – if you can find one these days!


A car’s windscreen has to be in good shape or it will fail the annual test. The most common failure is chip and crack damage and legally the screen is segregated into zones – essentially the one that’s most in line with the driver’s line of vision is the most critical and will lead to a failure slip.  Any damage that is larger than a 10mm diameter circle is big enough to cause a thumbs down. In other areas covered by the wiper’s sweep, damage must not be contained within a 40mm diameter. Any cracks will almost certainly cause a failure on a laminated screen, but so too can significant gouges caused by the wipers digging in the surface.


Only laminated glass can be repaired and there are various types of wounds (bulls-eye, spider webs, star breaks etc). The repair essentially mends the screen like body filler repairs a rust hole, albeit with a transparent gel that has to be cured. These repairs are normally covered by your insurance company with no cost to you. However, a screen can only be repaired so many times and ‘wounds’ have to be not closer than 100mm of each other.

Share This Article

Share with Facebook Share with Facebook

Share with Twitter Tweet this article

Share bookmark with Delicious Share bookmark with Delicious

Share with Digg Digg this article

Share with Email Share by email

User Comments

This review has 0 comments - Be the first!

Leave a comment

Keep it polite and on topic. Your email address will not be published. Please do not advertise products, all posts of this nature will be removed. We do not stock or supply any of these products, we independently review these products.

Subscribe Today
Latest Issue Cover - Click here to subscribe

Subscribe to Classic Motoring Magazine and save over 25%