Best Windshield Treatments: Improve Safety in Rainy Conditions
Ensure your safety while driving in the rain with a quality windshield treatment coating.
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BY Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED ON June 10, 2021
One of the things that need constant attention on your vehicle is the windshield. You need to keep it clean at all times since road grime, dust, bug stains, and weather elements can make it difficult to see when driving. This is why it can get frustrating when you run out of windshield washer fluid and have to rely on plain water, which isn’t very effective at removing dirt and haze.
For the times when you don’t have any more windshield washer fluid on hand, a windshield treatment can come in handy. Though not a substitute for windshield washer fluid, a windshield treatment can be a long-term solution to poor visibility; most formulations are applied directly to the windshield to create a protective barrier that can offer weeks if not months of protection from contaminants that reduce visibility. We shall have a look at some of the best options available and guide you through the selection process.
This windshield treatment utilizes water-beading technology to keep the windshield free of bug stains and road grime.
- Has a fresh citrus scent
- Leaves a streak-free shine
- Creates a barrier that repels bugs
- Innovative water beading for streak-free wiper performance
- Poor performance in freezing temperature
- Takes a bit of work to buff it in
This windshield washer fluid is designed to offer up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit of frost protection to improve visibility.
- Cleans and protects your windshield
- Decently priced for the quantity offered
- Keeps the windshield from frosting
- Leaves no marks
- Not designed for extremely cold weather
- Contains ingredients that can irritate your skin
This is an eco-friendly spray-and-wipe cleaner that can be used on windshields, mirrors, and any other glass surface.
- Offers a streak-free clean
- Repels water
- Sealant offers long-lasting protection from the elements
- Safe on paint finish
- Has a refreshing scent
- A bit pricey
- Needs to be re-applied frequently
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Benefits of Windshield Treatments
- Improve visibility. Whether it’s a light shower or a heavy downpour, your windshield becomes a smeary haze due to the wipers smearing the glass with dirt and rainwater. Common windshield treatments create a protective coating that keeps dirt and water from sticking on the surface. This makes your wipers more effective since they can make streak-free wipes for better visibility.
- Drive without using your wipers. Treatments that repel water allow you to drive in the rain without using your windshield wipers. This is because the rain repellent creates a coating on the windscreen that forces water droplets to bead up and the wind pushes the droplets away as you drive so you won’t even have to turn your wipers on. Your wipers will last longer and you will have fewer scratches on the windscreen.
- Drive safer. By repelling water and resisting dirt, bugs, and road grime, windshield treatments help to keep your view clear so you can drive safer. They can also help to increase your confidence on the road when driving in the rain or when off-roading on dirt roads.
- Easier cleaning. Since most windshield treatments prevent dirt and other contaminants from sticking on the glass, it makes it easier to clean the glass even without using harsh glass cleaners.
Types of Windshield Treatments
The best windshield treatment features a nanotechnology-based mixture. With these formulations, a strong bond is formed between the treatment solution and the actual silica particles in your windshield. In many cases, these hydrophobic coatings won’t just repel water but also oils and solid particles such as dust and dirt. This option lasts the longest and is ideal for drivers who live in areas where it frequently rains or drive often in off-roading conditions.
Another common water repellent treatment is the fluorinated compound-based solution. While not as strong as the nanotechnology-based glass treatments, this option still features the signature water beading that allows water to easily roll off of a glass surface. This type of windshield treatment is best for average rainfall conditions.
A silicone-based windshield treatment offers water repellent properties, but is the weakest of the three styles available. Unlike nanotechnology or fluorinated compounds, there is no chemical bond between the glass and the treatment solution. Instead, a silicone-based windshield treatment is applied and sits on top of the glass surface. So, while it will repel water, this type of treatment will need to be applied more frequently. Silicone-based windshield treatments are best for driving in regions that don’t experience consistent rains.
Rain-X is a well-known car care and aftermarket accessories brand that is also one of the most accessible options for the average consumer to acquire. The brand is synonymous with quality products designed to clean or enhance the functionality of your vehicle. In addition to creating Rain-X Yellow Windshield Treatment in a variety of formulations, Rain-X also offers high-quality windshield blades that are specifically designed to work with the brand’s repellents.
Adam’s Polishes got into the automotive industry in 2000, specializing in car care and detailing products that can be used to take care of both your vehicle's interior and exterior. It’s under the umbrella of Recochem Inc. and is based in Colorado. Its products are sold throughout the world, and some of its best-selling products include windshield washers, car polishes, waxes, ceramic coatings, cleaning kits, air fresheners, and even household cleaning products.
Prestone has more than 90 years of experience in providing drivers with innovative products that help to keep vehicles in good condition. It’s an auto-chemical manufacturer that’s owned by KIK Custom Products, and is known for its antifreeze and coolants. It also manufactures windshield washers and treatment fluids such as the Prestone Windshield De-Icer.
CRC Industries traces its history back to 1958 when it was started as a manufacturer of industrial chemicals for electrical, marine, automotive, aviation, and industrial equipment. It’s headquartered in Horsham Township, Penn. Some of its products include car cleaners, degreasers, rust stoppers, engine fluids, paints, coatings, de-icing fluids, and more.
Founded in 1988, Griot’s Garage is one of the best manufacturers of car cleaning and detailing products. Its product line includes polishes, waxes, washers, and glass sealants. It also provides cleaning kits that many users have reported are easy and fun to use.
Windshield Treatment Pricing
- Up to $15: Budget shoppers should be able to source quality silicone-based water repellent windshield treatments within this price range. Note that at this price point, you may need to reapply the treatment frequently throughout the calendar year for it to be effective.
- $16 to $60: Within this range, shoppers can upgrade to a longer-lasting windshield treatment. Typically you will find fluorinated compound-based coatings are readily available. While they will last longer than a silicone-based option, you will still need to reapply a few times throughout the year.
- $60 and up: For those who prefer to apply a product infrequently, focus on nanotechnology-based windshield rain repellents. While pricier, a single application can last for up to two years, making it more cost-effective in the long run.
If you’re buying a windshield treatment, the most important feature is its ability to act as a water repellent. A key indication that you’ve purchased the right product is that water will bead up and easily slide off of glass surfaces. Your windshield wipers will be more effective, and it will be easier for you to see when you’re driving during poor weather conditions.
Streaks and Spots Prevention
Without a surface treatment, it’s common for streaks and spots to appear on your car’s windshield after a rain shower. During very sunny conditions, this can make it hard to properly see out of your windshield. A quality windshield treatment will help prevent this from occurring.
Regardless of the formulation in the water repellent treatment that you choose, all of the treatment options create a barrier between the elements and your windshield. This means that you’re less likely to have scratches, which can ultimately impact visibility over time.
- Ease of Application. There are a variety of application methods that you can choose from when selecting the best windshield treatment for your car. Some methods are more complex, and some products have strict requirements regarding ideal temperature and humidity ranges. Check the instructions to ensure compatibility with your weather conditions and your ability to apply the water-resistant coating. Typically, nanotechnology-based coatings are the most difficult to apply on your own.
- Reapplication Frequency. Not all water repellent windshield treatments are designed to last for the same length of time. Specifically, silicone-based coatings last the least amount of time and must be reapplied frequently throughout the year. In contrast, nanotechnology-based coatings can last up to several years, making them the most economical over a longer period.
- Wiper Usage. Just like temperature and weather conditions can impact the efficacy of windshield treatment, how often you’ll need to use your wipers is also important when choosing the right water repellent for your car. If it rains often and you constantly need to use your wipers, you should look for a water-resistant coating that is designed for heavy rains.
Best Windshield Treatments Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Besides using windshield treatments, consider parking your vehicle in a home garage, portable garage, canopy tent, or any other shaded area. This helps to prevent direct sunlight, rain, and other elements from wearing out the protective barrier left behind by the windshield treatment.
- Try not to use home remedies or household glass cleaners to clean your windshield. They can cause damage to the plastic or rubber on your wiper blades. Also, some products may strip away your vehicle's paint finish.
- Use a microfiber towel to rub in the treatment or to buff the windshield after applying the treatment. It doesn’t streak the surface or leave behind tiny particles as is the case with paper towels.
- If you are also waxing or washing your car, leave the windshield treatment for last so it doesn’t get contaminated by the other detailing or cleaning products.
- To keep your windshield free of scratches, consider replacing your windshield wipers at least once a year.
- Be aware of toxicity and odors. Windshield treatments are composed of chemicals that can leave odors when you finish applying them to your car. If you’re concerned with noxious smells, you can opt for water-repellent coatings that are citrus or fresh scented.
Q: Should I opt for a concentrated or pre-mixed water repellent?
This is dependent upon your comfort with managing dilution ratios. A pre-mixed water repellent can be used directly from the container. You simply follow the application instructions to apply the coating to your windshield. With a concentrated formula, you need to follow the dilution instructions precisely. Failure to do so could result in uneven applications or adverse side effects such as streaking and fogging on your windshield.
Q: How do I prepare my windshield before applying the treatment?
Apply a water-resistant coating to your windshield during good weather. Pick a day that is sunny and not too hot or humid. Begin with a clean surface by washing your windshield and thoroughly drying it to ensure no moisture remains on the glass. Follow the instructions on your selected windshield treatment, and focus on applying an even coating to the glass entire surface. Give the coating time to cure, per the instructions on your selected product. If necessary, buff the windshield to remove any haze and clean or replace your windshield wipers to extend the life of your windshield treatment.
Q: How will the age of my windshield impact the efficacy of a windshield treatment?
The condition of your windshield is more important than its age. A new car and a new windshield is the optimal surface as there are no cracks, and the glass hasn’t been exposed to the elements. In contrast, an older windshield might have chips and scratches that can create issues during the application process and reduce the longevity of each water-repellent coating application.
The Rain-X Bug Remover stands at the top of our review because it’s a multipurpose formulation that not only cleans but also repels bugs and water for better visibility. It’s also non-toxic and can be used inside the vehicle. If you are looking to save a bit of cash, you can opt for the Camco Xtreme Blue Windshield Washer instead. It also improves visibility and is quite affordable for a gallon bottle.