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Auto Windscreens

Auto Windscreens Published: 22nd Dec 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
Auto Windscreens
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If you want to avoid unnecessary and expensive window pane pains, read and heed these top 20 tips alongside Auto Windscreens

1. Inevitability!

Apart from wrapping your classic up in cotton wool, there’s nothing you can realistically do to prevent a windscreen from becoming wounded or even breaking – and statistically, at some point, you’ll suffer some sort of damage. Does your insurance policy cover screen replacement or simply repairs?

2. Mot pointers

One of the most common MOT failures is due to issues with the driver’s view of the road, making it essential to have large chips or cracks fixed. Any damage in the driver’s immediate view bigger than 10mm (about the size of a 5p) cannot be repaired and the windscreen needs replacement. In other areas covered by the wiper’s sweep, wounds must not be contained within a 40mm radius. Cracks will almost certainly result in a failure on a laminated screen, but so too can gouges, caused by the wipers digging into the surface.

3. Repair

Repairs rather than replacements are evenly spilt. Most insurance policies include the cost of a chip repair as part of the premium, but replacements usually carry an excess. Auto Windscreens endeavours to repair rather than replace, and will assess damage and advise on the necessary work required. There are various types of wounds (bulls-eye, spider webs, star breaks etc) and repairs essentially mends the screen like body filler repairs a rust hole, albeit with a transparent gel. However, a screen can only be repaired so many times and ‘wounds’ have to be no closer than 100mm.

4. Damage limitation

A small stone chip can spread like wildfire on a laminated screen so make sure you seek advice from an automotive glazing professional and, if advised, get it fixed asap before the damage quickly worsens.

5. Care

You can’t do much about stone damage but you can help prolong a screen’s life. Using good quality wipers is vital and they must never be used unless the screen is wet. Always clean the glass separately from the rest of the vehicle with fresh water and a dedicated sponge and leather chamois to avoid accidental scratching. Polishes, including those for plastic interiors can cause discolouration if left on the glass.

6. Scratches

T Cut or a similar abrasive has been known to reduce light scars and scratching with a bit of elbow grease, but the best remedy remains old fashioned ‘Jewellers’ Rouge’. It’s a burnishing powder available in varying grades from an old fashioned Jeweller; still effective but pretty hard going.

7. Prevention

Allowing the wipers not to ‘self park’ is a no-no as it results in the wipers finishing their sweep once the ignition turned on. If the screen is dry it’s likely that the rubber will drag along the glass and scratch the surface; if iced up, it may cause damage to the wiper mechanism. For instance, some Alfa models are quite susceptible to stripping their threads on the wiper spindles claims Auto Windscreens (0800 999 8000

8. De-icers

A must for winter, but de-icers can be quite harmful to the screen’s surrounds and rubbers, particularly at the base where it sits and causes deteriorations. If possible, try to sluice it away and warm up screens slowly (but never with hot water).

9. DIY remedies

There’s a range of DIY and specialist products for repairing laminated types although their success is dependent on the repair’s skill and the specialists don’t advise them. Damaged glass is a safety issue and they’ve had several cases where an owner has tried to fix their windscreens and ended up having to have it replaced, when they could have repaired it quickly, easily and most likely, for free. The quality certainly isn’t as good as a professional repair either.

10. Early glass

Prior to the glass used in modern cars, normal safety panes were fitted to pre-war vehicles and zone toughened plate glass was used on later models. Safety glass only offered minimal safety in a crash while the zone toughened glass shattered safely, remaining intact, and any fragments were blunt rather than sharp, reducing injury. It also allowed some quality of vision through a striped ‘grid’ which is where ‘zebra zone’ originates. Also the small fragments are blunt and cause less injury. The idea of tempered glass goes way back to the 19th Century.

11. Laminated

Laminated is, as the name implies, a High Penetration Resistant laminate sandwiched between normal glass; toughened for the inside layer. The first laminated screen was made during the 1920 but it wasn’t until the mid 60s when it was perfected for production and further improved, by glass maker Triplex in 1976, with its innovative Ten Twenty design.

12. Availability

Many specialists such as Auto Windscreens rely on Pilkington, one of the UK’s leading and best known glass manufacturers, as it carries moulds of car windscreens going back to pre-war and vintage era so don’t think your oldie isn’t catered for but it may take a couple of weeks to bespoke build. However, all replacement ’screens will now be laminated as the earlier variety aren’t produced anymore. For some, this deviation from originality causes them to consider new old stock.

13. Sunroofs

As most patterns and moulds have been saved, glass hatch sunroofs should not prove a problem: ditto panoramic roofs found on some of the modern classics.

14. US classics

Unlike European rulings, in America it’s quite legal, and acceptable, to repair significant cracks. However, once on our roads, such repairs are likely to fall foul of MoT examiners and the police. There are some specialists also offering similar repairs in the UK but the damage is measured in inches and has to be well away from the MoT test zones.

15. Stress

Nine times out of ten, a cracked or shattered screen is the result of stone damage which, on a laminated type, can be traced back to the point of impact. However, if breakages become unusually frequent there may be problems with the bodyshell, perhaps twisting due to chassis flex, an over firm suspension or body misalignment caused by a bad crash.

16. Delamination

As with all double-glazing, laminated windscreen layers can separate, especially if the sealant around the edges fails. This causes moisture to be drawn into the screen leading to a milky effect (S3 XJ6’s prone here). Replacement is the only cure.

17. Plastic and Perspex screens

Certain ‘modernish’ classics are fitted with plastic windows; Citroën BX rear quarter panels are a case example. Providing any discolouring and scratching is superficial, they can be saved by sanding, with wet-and-dry – carefully, then polished with a cutting compound. Failing this, you could try an off-theshelf headlamp lens rejuvenator which does much the same thing.

18. Just fitting

Most specialists will fit a supplied screen but, like all halves and halves jobs, will guarantee only their part in the work and need to checked first. Typically, a fitting costs around £50 and prices vary so shop around – but you get what you pay for warn the top companies, so beware of corner cutting measures such as using inferior and perhaps out of date adhesives.

19. Professional replacement

With old classics, using typical windscreen rubbers, replacement is a DIY proposition, sometimes using nothing more exotic than a ball of string (see overleaf feature) but more modern vehicles have bonded glass and it’s a professional fit, that usually takes just under an hour, but a critical one if you want to avoid leaks and wind noise. Maybe, you can fit one yourself using rudimentary tools but it’s not as simple as it looks and, of course, the fit is critical. Just as important is the care poured on your classic with dedicated body and cabin covers which top national companies provide (old bed sheets and carpets won’t do) who also provide proper warranties in case of unlikely problems.

Auto Windscreens, now owned by Trifords and once known as RAC Auto Windscreens (and RAC Auto Windscreens Ltd), fitted a new front screen to our project 3-Series BMW and it was fascinating to watch modern tools and trickery at work, especially the screen-mounted wire ‘cheese-cutter’ which cleverly slices through the old adhesive, so allowing screens be simply lifted out (lesser companies may use old fashioned but still effective levers.)

Our pic strip shows the essentials on how the job’s done.

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