Glass Polishing: Some cool little secrets
Driving along in the old 300SL Benz the other day I got caught out in a typical QLD monsoonal rain shower that was pretty short and heavy. It became quite dangerous as the wipers were not working at their very best (even for 1955 wipers they should be doing a lot better), leaving long streaking marks across the screen, making it very hard to see! After the rain had passed (just 1 minute later), I hopped out and had a close look at the wipers and glass. The blades were new, so I looked at the wiper arms - they were giving enough pressure for the blades to be working on the screen, so it was then down to a close inspection of the glass. It had a lot of different materials bonded to the glass surface, which would have been from the many happy years of driving (and racing) it has given us. These minute items on the glass were causing the wipers to not be perfectly flush with the screen and helping create the issue of not being able to see safely in the rain.
Getting the windscreen back to being a lovely, flat surface is actually not that big of an issue when you use the right gear. Our Naked Glass is a brilliant glass cleaner, but it does not have the oomph to get in there and remove a lot of these other articles bonded on the windscreen. However, there are two products, seemingly hidden in our car care arsenal, which work brilliantly for cleaning up glass and windscreens, both you would never expect to use for this task; Namely our Fine Clay Bar or Medium Clay Towel and then the Metal Polish. The clay bar or towels' job is to pull hard particles off from a hard surface (which glass certainly is), so a lot of the specks and marks bonded onto the screen like tar, bug marks and overspray can be removed quick and easy. I presonally prefer using the towel as it works a lot faster than a clay bar.
For some of the harder things to remove off the glass, our Metal Polish is just fantastic. It uses a jewellers rouge which is brilliant for the deep cleaning of glass, removing a lot of marks the Clay Bar or Clay Towel cannot touch, even removing light water marks, which can be quite annoying to clean off normally. If used with a polishing machine, it can even remove light wiper marks and scratches from the screen as well.
Using these as a system is a good idea for at least once a year on a daily driver, and as required on the more babied cars you have. Make a note that the Metal Polish, Clay Bar and Clay Towel are not for perspex, plastic or tinted items though, as these surfaces are soft and can be marked/damaged quite easily.
Get some of our Clean Detail or Fully Slick detailing sprays and spray a lubricating coat on the glass, ready for the clay products to be used on it. Do about a quarter section of the windscreen at a time. You will find the clay bar does not work too well on a dry surface, so be sure it's ample wet! Rub the clay towel or bar on the wet surface, use a circular pattern over small sections of the screen at a time till you feel (and hear on real dirty glass) it's perfectly smooth. Wipe the screen clean with another dry microfibre cloth Use some Naked Glass or the Clean Detail to make sure it's clean again, and allow a minute or so for it to dry before the next process.
Second step is with the Metal Polish. Get a clean Dirty Deeds microfibre cloth and apply a 10cm dollop onto the cloth and then apply, again onto a small section of the glass and in a circular motion. Feel free to get a little bit aggressive with it, as this action breaks the diminishing abrasive down, making it more effective and giving you a kick ass clean screen! After polishing for about a minute, remove with a clean side of the Dirty Deeds cloth. Then when the entire screen is done, give it a final clean with the Naked Glass cleaner and wipe clean with the microfibre cloth so you can inspect it and see if it's done.
If you have exposed rubbers or black plastic on and around the windscreen, it might be a good idea to get a light adhesive tape and mask these areas off, especially if you know you're a bit messy! Reason is that the abrasive in the Metal Polish can leave white stains if it gets on them. However, if you don't mask up and get white marks, they are easy to clean off with a gentle scrub using a soft bristle brush and our Vinyl Revival. Finish by wiping the areas clean with a microfibre cloth like the Dirty Deeds.
If you have some harder to remove marks, or light scratches/wiper marks (usually from inadvertently hitting the wipers on a dry and dirty screen, which I do a bit as you mix up the light and wiper stalks from driving so many different cars!) It's fixable. Just apply the Metal Polish with a machine, using either a very hard foam compound pad, or a purpose specific glass polishing pad. Apply onto the windscreen, then turn the machine on at its slowest speed (so you do not spray you and the local area or shed in the polish compound) gradually turn the machine up to just past half speed and move over in a series of passes top to bottom, side to side, making sure you get a blanket coverage, taking extra time on the areas the marks may be in. Working on about a quarter of the screen at a time, I find about 4 to 5 passes is usually enough. Once you're done, turn the machine off while it is still on the glass, pull it off and then clean down with a clean microfibre buffing cloth as above.
Harder to remove water marks might need a few applications, however we have seen some severe water marks that are virtually impossible to remove without damaging the glass, which means if this does not work, you will need to look at replacing the glass, but for all of but the most evil of cases this method works just fine.
Your screen is now clean
Your screen is now clean and you will especially note the difference next time you go driving in the rain, which we try and avoid in the Gull Wing. We've been caught out again (we do use this great car often) and am happy to report that the wipers work great, just like they would have on the German Autobahns in 1955!
Our products in this article are available at your local Bowden's Own car care stockist which you can find on our stockist link here.
If you have any questions about glass polishing, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 351 308.
Love your car,