Best Windshield Treatments: Improve Safety in Rainy Conditions
Ensure your safety while driving in the rain with a quality windshield treatment coating.
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.
Benefits of Windshield Treatments
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- 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
Best OverallRain-X Bug Remover
As the temperatures get warmer after winter, you can expect a lot of bugs to come out of their hiding places and end up on your windshield. However, you can repel them with this Rain-X Bug Remover. It’s an advanced washer fluid and treatment formula that cleans and leaves a barrier that repels bugs, road grime, and water. The barrier also keeps dirt and bug stains from sticking to the glass.
The solution is formulated with deionized water that provides a streak-free clean. It further utilizes water-beading technology to force water to bead up and rain roll off the windscreen leaving it clean. The best part is that it leaves behind a fresh citrus scent so you can also use it on the interior to give your vehicle a fresh smell.
If you are looking for a windshield cleaner that can also work during winter, then this may not be the best option for you. It’s only designed for temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit so it may freeze in cold weather.
Best ValueCamco Xtreme Blue Windshield Washer
The Camco Xtreme Blue Windshield Washer gives you more than what you pay for. For a reasonable price, you get a gallon of all-season washer fluid that’s quite effective at removing almost all kinds of contaminants, including bug stains, tree sap, dust, and road grime. Therefore you can load it into your windshield washer reservoir. It also leaves behind a thin finish that resists contaminants and provides a prolonged shine.
The solution contains methanol so it can work in temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit without freezing. Therefore, it can offer year-round protection. It also contains a de-icing agent that does a good job at removing frost from the windshield to help improve visibility.
While it may be good at removing frost, it's not designed to remove ice. You may want to choose a dedicated de-icer for the harsh winter weather instead.
Honorable MentionAdam's Perfect Vision Glass Cleaner & Sealant Combo
Adam's Polishes never fails to deliver top-notch car care products. This time, we have a set that proves to be very efficient in cleaning and maintaining the windshield. It contains both the glass cleaner and the sealant, so you can properly treat your vehicle right away.
The glass cleaner and the sealant feature an eco-friendly formula that doesn't contain ammonia or other harmful chemicals. They are safe to use on the glass and rather efficient, with no streaks or residue. All you need to do is spray and wipe the liquid to enjoy enhanced visibility.
The included cleaner will let you get rid of dirt, water, and stubborn stains, and the sealant will leave a protective coat. This way, you'll have a sparkling clean windshield resistant to rain and snow. Additionally, you can use this product on other surfaces such as shower doors, mirrors, windows, and more.
The main drawback of this set is the price. Both the cleaner and the sealant come in small bottles and are on the expensive side. You'll get only two to three applications from the set. On top of that, the products need to be applied frequently. You'll need at least two sets to start with.
Honorable MentionPrestone Windshield De-Icer
Available in an ergonomic aerosol spray bottle, the Prestone Windshield De-Icer is a must-have if you live in an area that experiences harsh winter conditions. It's a concentrated ice-melting formula that utilizes methanol for melting ice. Methanol is more effective than alcohol in melting ice and doesn’t harm your vehicle’s paint finish.
The solution also contains ethylene glycol that helps to prevent refreezing. On top of the bottle is a strong polycarbonate windshield scraper, which you can use to remove layers of ice stuck on the windshield before applying the treatment. Therefore, it's still helpful even after the solution runs out. You can use it on both the windshield and the wipers.
The small quantity is the main downside of the product. It comes in a small 17-ounce container so you may need to buy more if you also need to cover the rest of your vehicle’s windows.
Honorable MentionRain-X Original Glass Treatment
Rain-X is a modestly priced brand that offers an easy-to-apply, silicone-based water repellent windshield treatment. Its glass treatment is a great two-in-one product that is ideal for novices and creates visible results. To apply the product, simply apply the premixed solution directly on your windshield or other windows using a cloth. Rain-X’s repellent also helps to ward off debris from bugs, dirt, and even spray from passing cars.
One of the biggest draws of this product is its multifunctionality. In addition to working on your car’s windows, you can use Rain-X’s windshield treatment on your home’s exterior windows or glass shower doors to help minimize streaks from rainfall or bathing. It can also be used to restore the luster on your car’s headlights and remove haze. Likewise, the ease of use makes this ideal for novices who aren’t comfortable with a more complicated application process for other water-resistant coatings. In addition, you don’t need to buff your windshield after applying the Rain-X coating.
One of the biggest drawbacks of a silicone-based windshield coating is that you will need to reapply often. The frequency will depend on weather conditions near you. However, expect to reapply the Rain-X coating roughly every two to four months. Another common issue with this particular coating is that it can leave a film on the glass even after buffing with a microfiber cloth. Also, sometimes during the application process, this coating can cause streaking.
Honorable MentionStoner Invisible Glass Cleaner & Rain Repellent
Invisible Glass is a company that never fails to provide high-quality glass cleaners for automotive and home purposes. This time, it offers a two-in-one product that works as a cleaner and a rain repellent. With it, you get to efficiently maintain and protect the glass on your vehicles, keeping yourself safe and prepared for every ride, regardless of the weather.
The product repels rain, sleet, and frost almost effortlessly. The formula is powerful and ensures streak-free finishing results. That will allow you to enjoy increased visibility during rainy and snowy days. Furthermore, the product gets rid of bug splatters, dirt, grime, and other stubborn and harmful residues. All you need to do is spray it on the windshield and wipe it off.
The main issue with this product is the fact that it doesn't repel the rain for long. You'll need to apply it frequently for the best results. Some users also noticed that some streaks might show up if the glass is not wiped off carefully. Therefore, expect to use some extra elbow grease during the application.
Honorable MentionCRC Ice-Off
Dealing with ice on the windshield during winter is one of the most painful things drivers have to do. Luckily, products such as the CRC Ice-Off spray can save you from scraping the ice and having numb fingers early in the morning.
The Ice-Off spray is one of those car care products everyone should use for regular maintenance. The reasons for that are various, starting with enhanced visibility and more comfortable rides during winter.
The spray melts ice, snow, and frost almost immediately. It's safe to use on paint and glass and doesn't leave any residue. You can apply it on headlights, locks, and windows in any weather, including extremely low temperatures. Additionally, the liquid sprays and wipes off easily, so you'll be done with the cleanup rather quickly.
Keep in mind, though, that you might run out of the spray if you use it daily. That's not very cost-efficient because the product sells only in small bottles. Some buyers also had issues with the cap. You might want to double-check whether it works before application to avoid accidental spills.
Honorable MentionGriot's Garage Glass Sealant
Griot's Garage is known to produce high-quality car care products, and this glass sealant is not an exception. It's one of those products that can drastically improve your driving experience and allow you to enjoy drives on rainy days.
What makes this product special is the powerful formula that creates a hydrophobic coat on the surface. This way, your vehicle will have a protective layer that repels water, dirt, and grime. The wipers will also work better with the help of the sealant, and you'll be able to see better during rainy and foggy weather.
This sealant is also handy because it can be used on all types of glass, so you get to protect the windows on your home too. You'll get it in a bottle of 8 ounces and use it for quite some time. A little of the liquid goes a long way, so you won't be buying a new bottle anytime soon.
The sealant is not perfect, though. First of all, it's difficult to remove if left to dry for too long. You'll have to wipe it off immediately after the application. Secondly, the cap on the bottle is not very intuitive. It's difficult to control the liquid flow, which might cause accidental leaks.
Honorable MentionRust-Oleum Shield H2O Rain Repellent
Rust-Oleum offers a versatile product you can use on automotive and residential glass. It's rather efficient in keeping the glass clean and protected against water and other residues. With it, you'll improve the overall visibility and have fewer stains to worry about.
The product features the Neverwet formula that leaves a protective coat on the surface. Thanks to the unique technology, the coat repels rain, mud, dirt, and other annoying substances that can significantly influence your driving experience.
The best thing is, the product applies in a breeze and works quickly. You'll only need to let the liquid dry for about 10 minutes. From then on, the protective coat stays on for quite a while, regardless of the weather conditions.
What can be an issue with this product is the spray head. The spring in the head is made of fragile plastic that might break quickly. You'll need to use it carefully. Also, the product is sold in a small bottle, which is not very cost-efficient.
- 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.