Windshield , Wipers, and Washer Fluid

Maintaining or Replacing Your Windshield

Did you know your car’s windshield is a safety device? Visibility is fundamental to safe driving. In addition to its primary role, a windshield protects vehicle occupants from wind, water, and debris, and a windshield can help reduce crash injuries and could even save your life or that of a passenger. How is that possible? In a collision, the windshield is specially made to prevent most outside objects from penetrating into the vehicle interior. In many cars, the windshield also plays a critical role in front passenger airbag deployment. The windshield may also employ important sensors to help in accident avoidance. Finally, the windshield and rear window support the vehicle roof in a rollover to help prevent it from collapsing. For these reasons and in addition to compromising or inhibiting driver vision, windshield damage can be a major safety issue for your car, crossover, truck, or SUV. It is so important to check the windshield, and other glass, for problems on a regular basis. If your windshield is cracked or damaged in any way, you should contact your insurance company and arrange for repair or Volkswagen Certified replacement at our dealership near you.

Glass Inspection and Cleaning

To keep windshields and other glass clean, use non-ammonia cleaners and soft cotton or microfiber towels that will remove dirt and grime without causing streaks. Ammonia-based cleaners can damage dash and upholstery materials, and window tint films as well.

A proper inspection of the windshield includes:

  • Check the glass, inside and out, for chips and cracks. Minor “star” or “bullseye” rock chips, and small cracks, may be repairable. Any significant damage calls for windshield replacement.
  • Tiny micro-pits build up on the windshield over time as airborne particles hit the glass at high speeds. These pits reduce vision when illuminated by oncoming headlights, or a rising/setting sun. The only practical fix for a badly pitted windshield is a replacement.
  • Inspect the edges of the glass for damage to the surrounding bodywork or the rubber seal. Any problems that affect the seal of the glass to the body can weaken the structural integrity and need repair.
  • Make sure the rubber windshield wiper blades are soft, pliable, and clear water from the glass in a single swipe. Brittle blades can break and allow a metal wiper arm to scratch the glass.

Glass Repair

Today, innovative processes and materials make it possible for auto glass specialists to repair many types of windshield damage. The glass repair process for chips and cracks involves injecting a polymer resin into the damaged area, allowing it to dry, and then smoothing the surface to make the imperfection nearly invisible. The outcome depends on the quality of the tools and resins, and the skill of the technician doing the work, so it is important to bring your vehicle to a proper service department to ensure satisfactory repair. Some auto insurance companies will cover glass repairs with no deductible because it costs less than a windshield replacement. However, other carriers prefer that damaged windshields be replaced rather than repaired.

The size and location of a chip or crack determine whether it is suitable for repair. Chips smaller than a quarter and cracks less than a few inches long are usually repairable. Some states do not allow glass repairs in areas that are directly in the driver’s line of sight because even small fixes create distortion that can affect visibility and safety. Glass specialists also recommend replacing any windshield that has a crack extending from an edge. These types of cracks tend to spread quickly and easily, making it likely that a repair will be ineffective.

Glass Replacement

When replacing a windshield, the use of the proper materials and techniques is critical to vehicle safety. Windshield replacement is usually covered under the comprehensive portion of auto insurance policies, less any applicable deductible. In a few states, insurance companies are required to waive the deductible for windshield replacement. Check with your auto insurance carrier to find out what the replacement cost may be for your vehicle. If your car, crossover, SUV, or truck is equipped with an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that uses a camera mounted behind the windshield, a Volkswagen Certified replacement windshield will be required, and the ADAS system must be calibrated after the new glass is installed. Our factory-trained technicians are well-equipped and capable of properly installing windshields with ADAS systems. After a windshield installation is completed, always inspect the work. Make sure the glass is flush with the body and check for proper centering. Where visible, the gap between the glass and the car body should be consistent across the top and down both sides. If a molding is used, it should lie flat and even all the way around the glass with no visible bumps or gaps. When driving, there should be no “whistling” or other indications of air leaks around the glass. 

Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid

Windshield Wiper or Washer Fluid

Though many claim wiper fluid is not as essential as the other five fluids, it is still crucial to make sure you have enough windshield wiper fluid because it is important that you are able to see through your windshield. You don’t want to get caught with a dirty windshield of mud or bugs, or winter road grime and no way to clean it off, so be sure to check and your wiper fluid every few months and top it off as needed. Line of site is crucial in safe driving. Our certified technicians will make sure your washer fluid is appropriately filled at every visit.

Windshield Wipers and Blades

When wiper blades no longer make proper contact with the windshield surface, they can begin to squeak, smear, or streak reducing driving visibility. When blades are bent or damaged, they will become less effective at clearing your windshield of rain, snow, sleet, and other road elements. Also, over time, the rubber blade part that makes direct contact with your windshield can become loose, worn, cracked, or stiff resulting in a less efficient swipe and possibly causing costly damage to your windshield glass.

How Often Should Wiper Blades Be Replaced?

Wiper blades should be replaced every six months or as soon as you notice a difference in driving visibility. Wiper blades deteriorate due to many environmental factors, including:

Sun: Ultraviolet light and ozone deterioration
Oil: Car waxes and exhaust hold rubber-deteriorating oil
Airborne debris: Sand, mud, and dust carried in the wind

Wiper blades and arms are inspected regularly in your Volkswagen manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule, so it is important to maintain and know when those important milestones are due. Remembering to maintain wiper blades regularly can maximize visibility, efficiency, and reliability.

How Do You Know The Blades Need To Be Changed?

Other than the sound of the blades and wipe quality, here are a few ways to inspect the wiper blades for replacement:

  • Visible cracks, tears, and missing pieces in the rubber squeegee or wiper blade’s edge.
  • Flex rubber blade back and forth to see if it is still flexible. Aged squeegees will have difficulty conforming to the shape of your windshield and create streaks.
  • Tug or lightly pull the wiper blade to ensure has been securely installed on the wiper arm.
  • Check the rubber squeegee is secure and in the wiper blade frame is in place.

If you follow your regular maintenance schedule, you can trust that the factory-trained technicians in our service lanes are making sure these components are functioning properly and in good condition to ensure your safety. Bring your vehicle to Volkswagen of Duluth today so that we can make sure your vehicle is in the very best shape for all of your adventures and errands.