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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PUBLISHED ON October 7, 2019
If you’ve ever struggled to see through your car’s windshield when it’s raining, you know how frustrating and dangerous this scenario can be. This is where a windshield repellent coating comes in handy. Common options either repel water or increase the efficiency of your wipers, making it safer to drive your car during bad weather. This buying guide outlines the important features you need from the best windshield treatment and highlights the products that offer the most ideal protection at affordable prices.
- Best OverallGTechniq G1 Clear Vision Smart GlassSummarySummaryA nanotechnology-based windshield treatment that has a long lifespan and superior visual clarityProsProsIn addition to a two-year lifespan, users will enjoy added protection against grime and sleet and antifreeze support in cold weather.ConsConsNanotechnology-based coatings are the most difficult to apply, so special care is needed to accurately follow application directions.
- Best ValueRain-X Yellow Windshield TreatmentSummarySummaryA multifunctional glass coating that offers a water repellent finish and ease of use.ProsProsIf you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, Rain-X’s coating can be used not only on your windshield or home windows but can revive dull headlights for improved visibility at night.ConsConsThis product is a silicone-based water repellent coating. So, be prepared to reapply it frequently throughout the year.
- Honorable MentionAquapel Glass TreatmentSummarySummaryA median-priced windshield treatment that comes in pre-measured containers for easier applications.ProsProsThe fluorinated compound-based treatment ensures that this coating will last longer than silicone-based alternatives. Also, the pre-packaged applicator takes the guesswork out of applying this treatment to your car’s windshield.ConsConsWhile the premeasured applicators makes this somewhat goof-proof, if you’re not careful with drips, you can damage your car’s paint.
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Benefits of Windshield Treatments
- Improve driving safety. One of the top benefits of a quality windshield treatment is its ability to make driving safer. When you can’t clearly see, you run the risk of getting into an accident. The best windshield treatments will ensure that your windows remain clear, even under the worst weather conditions.
- Repel rain and fog. Common treatment options focus on a windshield repellent coating that either repels water or fog. In both cases, this helps to improve the efficiency of your windshield wipers because it creates a hydrophobic windshield coating that prevents water of any kind (liquid or gaseous) from sticking to the glass.
- Prolong the life of your wipers. Even if you have high-quality windshield wipers installed on your vehicle, constant use and the friction from dragging across your windshield can cause them to wear prematurely. Using a quality windshield treatment can help to reduce that friction, which means that your windshield wipers will last longer
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 drives 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.
For fluorinated compound-based windshield treatments, Aquapel is one of the best options. The company is a subsidiary of PPG, a Pittsburgh-based multinational corporation that is a leader in creating paints and coatings. Aquapel focuses almost exclusively on automotive glass treatments that are further divided into their Aquapel Glass Treatment and anti-fog solutions.
Even though G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass is the best option due to its superior performance and longevity, they can also be the hardest ones for consumers to the source without purchasing as an add-on service at a dealership or an auto detailing shop. Gtechniq is one of the few companies that offer these products directly to consumers. In addition to creating the treatments, this brand also creates lint-free pads for easier and more even applications.
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 - $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 clearly 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 of time.
- 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 Treatment Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: GTechniq G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass
Whether you live in very rainy conditions or are the type who doesn’t want to have to reapply a water-resistant coating every few months, the Gtechniq G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass windshield coating is a smart choice. This is a nanotechnology-based coating, so the sealant binds directly with the glass on a micro level, and it will last the longest of all the sealant types within this general product category. This coating is also rated for up to 30,000 miles of use.
One of the biggest benefits of the Gtechniq water-resistant coating is its longevity. A single application can last for up to two years of driving. Not only does it repel water, but it also resists dirt and features antifreeze properties ensuring that it won’t encourage frost or ice on your windshield in cold weather. The product can also be applied to your car’s other windows for improved visibility.
Nanotechnology-based windshield coatings are typically the hardest treatments to apply. And that’s an issue with Gtechniq’s product offering. Also, the G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass is sold in the packaging of 100 milliliters. Depending on the size of your windshield, you may find that this is not enough product. So, you may need to purchase more than one bottle. Streaking can occur if you don’t follow the instructions exactly as outlined.
Best Value: Rain-X Yellow Windshield Treatment
Rain-X is a modestly priced brand that offers an easy-to-apply, silicone-based water repellent windshield treatment. Its Yellow Windshield 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 glass—even after buffing with a microfiber cloth. Also, sometimes during the application process, this coating can cause streaking.
Honorable Mention: Product Name
If you’re concerned that you might use too much product if you purchase a large container of windshield treatment, then Aquapel’s Glass Treatment is the perfect solution. Rather than a big bottle, Aquapel has packaged its water repellent coating into single-use applicators. A single package is designed to provide enough solution to fully coat an average-sized windshield. The packaging comes with a pre-moistened felt applicator to properly apply the sealant to your car’s windows.
Aquapel’s Glass Treatment is an ideal median option between our Best Overall and Best Value selections because it is a fluorinated compound-based windshield treatment. So, it will last longer than a silicone-based option but will require more frequent applications than a nanotechnology-based coating. If the idea of a complex application process has kept you from using a windshield treatment, you’ll appreciate this simplified product. It’s also long-lasting and will keep your windows clear for months at a time.
One of the biggest issues you may experience with Aquapel’s windshield treatment is the application process. If you’re not careful, you might drip the coating onto your car’s paint exterior, causing the chemicals to permanently damage the paint. Another common problem is that the felt applicator may not be fully saturated, which can result in an inconsistent coating and inferior results.
- Your car’s location can impact the lifespan of your windshield treatment. While extreme temperatures and humidity can impact the application process, the general weather conditions where you park your car can also reduce the longevity of your water repellent windshield treatment. Constant exposure to direct sunlight, humidity, and dirt can wear down your windshield’s coating. For best results, park in garages or shaded areas.
- 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.
- Cheaper is not always better. Even if you’re on a tight budget, it pays to splurge for a quality water-repellent windshield coating. The goal of this coating is to improve safety when you drive during the rain. But cheap windshield treatments can actually impact your wiper’s performance and make visibility worse as the age of the coating. Common issues include streaking, fogging, and audible squeaking from your wipers.
Q: Should I opt for a concentrated or pre-mixed water repellent?
A: 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?
A: 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?
A: 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.
If you don’t want to struggle with a complex application process, we recommend the Best Value selection, the Rain-X Yellow Windshield Treatment. Although it requires more frequent applications, it is very easy to use.
However, if you don’t want to frequently reapply a water-repellent windshield treatment, our Best Overall selection of the Gtechniq G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass nanotechnology-based product can last for up to two years and provides superior clarity for your windshield.