Wiper marks are surface imperfections in the direction and line that windscreen wipers move. Simply put, these are marks in the glass caused by the movement of the windscreen wipers. They can affect your vision and are difficult te remove.
What causes wiper marks
Wiper marks are scratches in the glass caused by the movement of the windscreen wipers. Windscreen wipers are not perfectly clean, nor is the windscreen itself. The water you might want to wipe off can also contain dirt, dust and other contaminants. When you use the windscreen wipers, they move over the glass, dragging all the contaminants it encounters over the glass. Although glass is very hard and tough, over time it will show visible marks in the glass. These marks are therefore almost always bend lines that start almost vertical and end almost horizontal.
Similar marks can also be seen on the glass on the drivers and passengers side. The rubber seal between the door and the glass can contain dirt. Every time you wind down the window, the dirt is dragged over the glass. The marks on the side windows are therefore almost always straight vertical lines.
Removing wiper marks
The only way to fully remove wiper marks would be to polish the glass to the same depth as the deepest wiper mark in the glass. Because regular glass polish isn’t rough enough to cut this deep, it will be almost impossible to polish the windscreen to perfection. Some glass repair centers have specialized robotic glass polishers that use an abrasive liquid in combination with a polishing stone. There are also specialized glass polish products available that can achieve good results, the downside is that these require a fair bit of time, a strong polisher and special glass polishing pads.
Removing wiper marks can be categorized as:
Very light wiper marks. These will be found on windscreens that are not very old, or on cars that don’t drive many miles. The marks are only visible when looking at the glass from an angle. Moving a light source around might help to find the spot where they are most visible. These can hardly be felt and wouldn’t quickly make you feel like they need to be removed. These can be made less visible with regular mainstream glass polish products. They can be mostly removed with specialized glass polish pads and glass polish. This might require a fair bit of effort and some specialized tools.
These are very obvious and are clear to the touch. They are often found on old windscreens, or neglected cars. These can impact your vision and might even be bad enough that it is dangerous to drive around. Removing these will need specialized tools and some professional craftsmanship. Seeing as glass is very tough, they are not easily removed. In some cases it might be easier and cheaper to replace the windscreen. The marks can be made less visible, but it is very difficult to fully remove them.
Making wiper marks less visible
Wiper marks can be made less visible. This can be done in 2 ways, fill them temporarily with a filler (Glaze like effect) or a polish that will smoothen the edges. The filler product can be anything from a Glaze or a wax, up to commercial glass polish. Whether a product polishes or fills is difficult to determine. Many manufacturers create filling products, but market them as a polish. Some polishes will not be strong enough to fully remove the marks, but will smoothen the edges of the marks. This will make them slightly less visible and will reduce the amount it affects your vision.
The danger of wiper marks
If wiper marks are to severe, they can prevent you from looking properly through the glass. This means it negatively impacts your vision while driving. This is dangerous for your surroundings and for yourself, and should be avoided at all times. Either replace the glass, or get the wiper marks removed. The wiper blades themselves can also become less effective, meaning the raindrops won’t be wiped off properly, affecting your vision while driving through the rain. This is obviously also dangerous.
Preventing wiper marks
Preventing wiper marks can be a lot easier and cheaper then removing them. To prevent wiper marks you can do the following:
- Replace the wipers as soon as they seem worn. Wipers are not extremely expensive, but removing wiper marks (or replacing a windscreen) is a lot more expensive
- Keep your wipers clean, so there is less dirt that gets dragged over the glass
- Keep your windscreen clean
- Use a glass sealant to repel the rain drops. This will make you need the wipers less often
- Giving the glass a proper deep clean twice a year will greatly diminish the bonding of contaminants, which will mean that your windscreen stays clean for longer. This will benefit any sealant, but also make the wipers wipe away more of the superficial dirt and other contaminants
- If at all possible, clean the window before driving off, not only is it safer to drive with a clean window, it will also keep you from using your windshield washing system.
Performance of products with wiper marks
When a windscreen suffers greatly from marks and imperfections, many glass sealants can perform less effectively. Because dirt and other contaminants can get into these imperfections, it is more difficult to clean the glass properly. The glass sealant will have trouble bonding with the contaminants, making it perform less then it should. Durability and even chemical resistance can be affected. Even glass cleaners can have trouble cleaning the glass properly when the dirt inside the imperfections can’t be wiped off.
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