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Why Are There Scratches On My Windshield?

Why Are There Scratches On My Windshield?

Car windsheild with scartches on it

While not as common as a chip or crack, windshield scratches can still be a nuisance. Not only is a scratched windshield unsightly to look at, but it can also pose a danger to your safety. A scratch on your car’s windshield can obstruct your vision and make it difficult to clearly see the road ahead.

So how does your car windshield get scratched, and how do you avoid it? Read on to find out how to remove scratches yourself, and if you need auto glass repair in Ottawa.

What Causes a Windshield Scratch?

1. Road Debris

There are plenty of hazards on the road that could damage your vehicle’s windshield. Flying debris, such as gravel or ice, is rarely avoidable, especially at highway speeds. You can do your best to maintain proper distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

2. Windshield Wipers

If you’ve ever heard a screech while your wiper blades were running, it’s likely that your blades have lost the soft rubber that comes in contact with your windshield. 

Be sure to top up your wiper fluid so you aren’t using your blades on a dry surface. Wiper blades are constantly exposed to the elements, and are one of the parts of your vehicle that need to be replaced regularly. 

Don’t leave it until they become rigid and start falling apart, otherwise, you might have a brand-new scratch on the windshield to deal with!

3. Tree Branches

If you frequently travel down roads lined with trees, there’s a chance of coming into contact with low-hanging branches. It’s obviously not very feasible to trim all of these branches yourself, but you can simply try to avoid contact with any low-hanging branches as much as possible.

4. Improper Cleaning Methods

Perhaps the worst reason for windshield scratches is your own mistake! You might accidentally use an abrasive cloth or brush while attempting to clean your car, or go through an automatic car wash that has contaminants on its cleaners. 

Always double-check the cloths you’re using to make sure they’re the right type, that there’s no dirt or small rocks hidden in the fibres, and that the surface you’re about to clean is also free of any debris.

How to Fix a Windshield Scratch

Minor scratches or chips in your windshield are commonly fixed with a few different methods. These are the scratches that are visible, and yet when you run a fingernail over them, it doesn’t catch. Minor windshield scratches can usually be filled in with a variety of compounds—all you need to do to fix scratches is apply it in a circular motion with a clean microfiber cloth or lint free cloth.

1. Get a Glass Repair Kit

Your local auto repair or parts store will have what you need to remove windshield scratches. 

These kits will vary, but they will usually contain an acrylic scratch remover (for light scratches), cerium oxide resin (for deep scratches), a syringe for application, as well as various accessories such as razor blades and suction cups.

Be sure to do your repairs indoors or in the shade, as direct sunlight can cause the polishing compound to cure and set too soon.

2. Glass Scrub Compound

This is actually a glass cleaner that is typically used to remove stubborn dirt and grime, but it can be used to repair scratches as well. 

Be careful though; it can be abrasive if rubbed on the glass for a long time. It works by leveling the area around the scratch and hiding the damage, so you will likely have to build it up and repeat the process several times before you notice a difference. 

Apply the rubbing compound to a damp microfiber cloth, then rub it on the scratch. Spray with water in between applications to ensure the area doesn’t dry out while applying, or you might end up with more fine scratches.

Keep applying the rubbing compound until the scratch is no longer visible.

3. Whitening Toothpaste

If you’re not able to find a good repair kit, or for very fine scratches, you can try using whitening toothpaste. Make sure it has baking soda as an ingredient. Simply apply a bit of toothpaste and rub it all over the scratched area. 

Wipe the excess toothpaste away with a damp soft cloth and see if there has been an improvement to the area. You may have to repeat the process a few times.

4. Clear Acrylic Nail Polish

This can only be used for very shallow scratches. Similar to the toothpaste, simply apply a layer of clear nail polish to the affected area, clean off the excess with a damp cloth, and let it dry.

5. Glass Repair Professional

For deeper scratches that you aren’t sure about repairing yourself, it’s best to see a glass repair specialist such as Bemac. If the scratch is deep enough to turn into a crack, or if the scratch obscures a vital part of the driver’s vision, the whole windshield will need to be replaced.

Can a Windshield Scratch Turn Into a Crack?

It’s best to do everything you can to prevent scratches in the first place, but sometimes luck isn’t on your side. If you find yourself with small scratches, it’s important to deal with them as soon as possible. 

Old scratches will contain dirt and debris, and using improper tools might end up making things worse.

A scratched windshield won’t necessarily worsen with time, as long as the scratch is light enough. Remove scratches as soon as you notice them.

Neglecting such scratches could wind up costing you. Left untreated, a deep scratch can develop into a major windshield crack that could compromise the structural integrity of your laminated glass. What might’ve been a repair could easily turn into a windshield replacement if you aren’t careful.

Call Bemac For Your Auto Glass Needs

If you find the scratch is too deep, or if the scratch goes across your entire windshield, arrange for help from an auto glass professional. They’ll be able to provide windshield repair or replacement and get you back on the road safely. You can trust in Bemac!