Archive for Windows and Windshields

How to Get Rid of Window Spots

One of the best parts about going through a car wash is how clean and shiny your car’s exterior is for days afterward. Every time you get in or out of your vehicle, you’re reminded all over again that a clean, polished car is the best car.

However, if you have water spots on your windows, you might find that a simple drive through the car wash isn’t enough. These spots, caused by buildups of minerals in the water (from the car wash, sprinklers, and the rain), often require a deeper clean. And because they’re on the windows, you’ll see them—and be annoyed—every time you hop behind the wheel.

What’s in a Spot? 

There are two kinds of window spots: the ones that form immediately after getting a car wet and allowing it to air dry, and the ones that are more deeply etched into the glass because they’ve had a chance to harden and build up over time.

The first kind of spots are easy to get rid of simply by wiping your car down immediately after you wash the car or you come in out of the rain. Water that’s allowed to evaporate naturally will often create small droplets on your windows, which provide a concentrated burst of residue that will be left behind. By taking the time to thoroughly hand-dry your vehicle (both the body and the windows), you can prevent these spots from forming in the first place.

The hard water spots that don’t wipe away so easily are caused by calcium, sodium, and other mineral deposits that occur naturally in the water you use every day. Different locations have different levels of minerals in the water, so your tendency to develop water spots will vary. When these deposits are allowed to harden for a long period of time, they bond to the window and require deep cleaning.

Window Cleaning and Cleansers

You can invest in expensive cleaners and towels to help eliminate window spots, but your best bet is a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar. Place this mixture in a spray bottle and apply it liberally to your windows (the good news is that you can use it for both outside window spots and inside sticky finger spots). Allow it to set for a few minutes and then wipe it away using a microfiber cloth.

Depending on how severe your window spots are, you may need to do this a few more times. Any areas that don’t come clean after several applications may require a more intense approach. Wiping the windows with fine grade steel wool can sometimes help, but it’s important only to use this on the windows and not the body of the car.

As with almost anything automotive-related, prevention is the best cure. Once those window spots come clean, make sure you carry a microfiber cloth for a quick wipe-down after every wash and accidental run through a sprinkler.

How to Keep an Odor-Free Car

Few things are worse than being trapped in a smelly vehicle for hours at a time. It doesn’t matter where your odors come from—almost anything can cause lingering smells that make your drive a misery. From pets and cigarettes to kids, spills, and even your work as a rideshare driver, the cause isn’t nearly as important as getting rid of it.

Fortunately, odors are rarely so caked into a car that they can’t be eliminated. With the right treatment and upkeep, you can enjoy a fresh-scented drive every time.

  1. Identify the Cause: You can’t get rid of a smell until you know what’s causing it. For most people, this means locating the item of food or drink that’s been spilled or left behind (or, as is often the case, lost under a seat). Eliminating this item will go a long way in reducing the immediate smell. Make sure you check the trunk and any pockets in the backseat, too.
  2. Change Your Habits: Sometimes, a smell isn’t caused by an item so much as a habit. Eating in the car, smoking in the car, filling up the car with soccer players every weekend after the big game…these odors might be more difficult to get rid of because of your lifestyle. If you’re not ready to make a major life change, you’ll need to get in the habit of regularly deodorizing and detailing your car instead.
  3. Check the Air Filter: If you search for the source of the smell but can’t find anything conclusive, you may need to check the cabin air filter. This is where all outside debris is trapped so that it can’t enter your ventilation system. These filters do need to be changed from time to time, so ask your mechanic or detailer to take a look the next time they’re working on your car.
  4. Clean the Interior: It’s always best to start with a clean slate, so begin your deodorizing journey with a deep-clean of your car’s interior. At the most basic level, this means throwing out all trash, vacuuming the carpets (including under seats and floor mats), and wiping down the surfaces.
  5. Shampoo the Carpets/Upholstery: Stains that have worked into the carpet and upholstery will need to be deep cleaned. A steam carpet cleaner will do the trick fastest, but you can also use a spot carpet cleaner and scrub brush to hand-clean the problem areas. (Note: Make sure you always allow your interior to fully dry before you start using it again. Wet spots can make smells worse by attracting mold and mildew.)
  6. Choose an Odor Neutralizer: The best-smelling car is one that doesn’t smell like anything at all. Although cleaning products and air fresheners might be better than rotten bananas, they can cause long-term health problems, especially in those prone to headaches. Instead, find an odor-neutralizing option that works for you. A bowl of baking soda left overnight or crushed charcoal briquettes do a good job of filtering the air for you.
  7. Open the Windows: On nice days, don’t be afraid to open the windows and let nature do the hard work for you. A few minutes of driving through your neighborhood with all the windows open will do a good job of letting in fresh air and helping dry any damp spots in your interior.

We also strongly recommend that you build a regular car detail into your maintenance schedule. Nothing gets your vehicle as clean as a good detail, and this will give you a solid, clean base to build the rest of your habits on top of.

6 Tinted Window Maintenance Tips

Tinted window maintenance, washing and long-term careTinted windows are great for increased privacy and decreased sun exposure while you’re on the road, but they do come with a few extra steps when it comes to long-term care. Special tinted window maintenance is essential to protect your investment and ensure they last. We suggest you follow a few routine steps every time you hit the car wash.

Extend Tinted Window Life With These 6 Maintenance Steps

      1. Don’t Wash Them Right Away: If your tinted windows are brand new, you’ll want to wait a few days before you clean them (this gives the film time to dry and set). If you apply water or cleaner before the tint has a chance to fully dry, it may be pulled loose and/or bubble.
      2. The Exterior is Fine: Because the window tint is applied to the inside of your car rather than the exterior, you should be fine to wash the outside of your car like you normally do. Automatic, self-serve, or DIY—you can go through most car washes without any problems. However, once you get to the inside, you’ll need to be extra careful.
      3. Don’t Use Regular Window Cleaners: There are specialty tinted window cleaners you can buy to wash your windows, but these can get expensive (and aren’t always necessary). The most important thing to avoid is any ammonia-based cleaner or those with blue or green coloring. The chemicals in these can break down the tint film and/or cause it to discolor (in fact, ammonia-based products are often used to remove tint). Instead, stick to chemical-free cleaners or the mild soaps that are offered at the self-service car wash.
      4. Wipe Away Smudges: In most cases, you can simply use a paper towel or microfiber to do the bulk of the cleaning for you. Avoiding the edges as much as possible (as this is where the tint peels away) and spot clean any smudges, prints, or other kinds of debris. If necessary, you can use water and/or mild soap for a deeper clean.
      5. Always Dry the Windows Well: Because water is a tinted window’s biggest enemy, it’s important to make sure the window is completely dry before you consider the job done. We prefer a microfiber cloth for maximum results.
      6. Take Care of Bubbles/Imperfections: Over time (or if the tint was poorly applied in the first place), you may find that bubbles and other surface imperfections arise. These can be taken care of by pressing the edge of a credit card against the bubble and pushing it out to the edges or, if that doesn’t work, by popping the bubble with a small pin and then pushing it out. Too many of these, however, and it might simply be a sign that it’s time to upgrade/remove the tint.

Taking care of tinted windows doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. The next time you’re at the car wash, give them a once-over and wipe off any smudges. By making this a routine habit, you can significantly extend the life of your tint.

Change Your Wiper Windshield Blades at the Car Wash

Change your cars windshield wiper blades at the car wash -- make it a seasonal maintenance routineFor most drivers, it’s a good idea to change your windshield wiper blades every six months. In Salt Lake City, it may be necessary to increase that to every four to six months, as extreme weather conditions can degrade the rubber faster. The freezing temperatures of winter and bright sun of summer both work equally hard at wearing your wipers down.

As soon as the blades no longer make a good seal against the windshield, they can streak and smear during a rain or snowstorm, thereby reducing your visibility and making driving a hazard. That’s why we suggest you build a regular wiper blade rotation into your car wash routine.

When to Change Your Windshield Wipers

Ideally, you should change your windshield wipers seasonally. This means that as soon as winter draws to a close and it no longer freezes at night, it’s a good time to upgrade your wipers. This will help ensure that you’re ready for spring showers. It’s also a good idea to change them at the end of summer or fall in order to prepare for the upcoming cold season.

You can also perform an inspection to determine if you need to speed up or slow down your rotation schedule. Next time you’re at the car wash, take a moment to examine your blades. Are they cracked or discolored? Has the rubber become loose? It might be time to change them.

How to Change Your Wipers

Fortunately, changing windshield wipers is fairly easy, especially if you’re already at the car wash. You can purchase your blades at most automotive stores, but be sure to match the size and type to your vehicle’s specific make and model, as there are different sizes for every car. From there, the old ones typically need to be unclipped before the new ones are clipped on.

For a step-by-step breakdown, you can:

  1. Lift the arm away from the windshield and find the tab or button that allows the blade to slide on and off.
  2. Press the tab and remove the old wiper blade. It’s important to keep the arms up and away from the windshield at this time, as the exposed metal can cause scratches.
  3. Take the new blade out of the packaging and line it up with the arm. You’ll need to insert the arm through the appropriate hole in the wiper, leaving enough room for the arm’s hook to go over it. When done properly, it should click into place.

If you have any problems removing the old wiper or inserting the new one, being at the car wash allows you to ask for help. You can also use our garbage facilities to dispose of the old ones and, once you’ve attached the new blades, give them a test on your wet windshield.

Car Wash Maintenance and Routine

Stock up on a few extra windshield blades the next time you’re at the store and keep them in your trunk. That way, you can perform a quick check every time you’re at the car wash—and if they need to be changed, you’re just five minutes away from completing the job and hitting the road safely.