Never let it be said that 020.com doesn’t cover a range and variety of subjects in a bid to bring the latest news about “stuff” and “things” to your desktop. While I’m usually to be found ranting or raving about my latest find in the CD bin at Woolies this time I’m going to be found taking an indepth look at glass cleaner.
Yes…you heard me right, glass cleaner.
You see I know that a lot of you folks out there drive, and when it comes to driving we like to know you are getting to and from work safely. So with the dark nights well and truly upon us and the skies showing more overcast tendencies I figured now might be a good time to check out something that might be beneficial to the motorists out there.
Today I’m looking at an Automotive Glass Protection Kit from an Australian based company called Nanoprotect. There have been a considerable number of similar kits available over the years and for those of you who still don’t know what I’m wittering on about let me bring you up to speed.
Kits of this nature are basically chemical treatments designed to work on glass. Essentially providing a protective layer or film on its surface that in adverse weather conditions improves visibility and decreases the need for frantic windscreen wiper action so generally make driving in adverse conditions easier.
This is one such kit and what intrigued me were some of the bolder than bold claims that adorned its packaging. Claiming to offer crystal clear vision in dry or wet conditions it was also a) water repelling b) self cleaning c) UV & Weather resistant d) stops calcium & salt build up e) extremely long lasting.
The pack comes in a two stage application, the windscreen (or any other glass you care to mention) needs to be clean and dry before you put on the final solution. Hence Nanoprotect provide you with a cleaning fluid to apply first and a lint free cloth to get you going. The supplied cloth rapidly proved itself useless so after I had obtained something decent I set about doing the business.
The cleaner was alcohol based, and if you want to get your glass spotless you’re going to need to put some real elbow grease into the job, in order to prevent the inevitable horrible smearing that was becoming worryingly prevalent I was forced to work in tiny areas at a time rubbing in concentric circles. Also this wasn’t my car and I didn’t want to make the window so blemished that the driver would crash on his way home. My initial plan was to do every window on the car but I figured it would be prudent to leave the some untouched so I could monitor the difference.
Once I had used a dry leather to get the glass as clean I possibly could this was where the next stage came in. The actual protector is a silicon based substance and the first thing that hits you is the smell. A proper ‘knock your head back’ stink comes from the bottle when you open so I reckon ensuring you are working in a ventilated area might be the best idea. Application follows in much the same way as with the cleaner, you know straight away that there is something different about this stuff because as soon as you spray it on the glass it beads up instantly almost as though it is attempting to repel itself. Despite the claims of it being non harmful to non glass products I was careful to avoid the rubber seals around the windscreen.
Application was again reliant on loads of elbow grease, working this stuff into the glass seemed to require a fair old bit of pressure on the glass before the streaks and marks I was leaving behind were gone. And as I mentioned a whiff of the stuff was a bit lethal (after a while though I got used to it and it brought back memories of something my grandfather used to drink).
Not content to just put it on a car I tried it on a pane of domestic glass on a window. In all honesty it went on to flat household glass a lot easier than its car counterpart that made me wonder if modern vehicle glass has properties that might make things more difficult to apply (tints and the likes).
Post application I suffered somewhat with streaking on the glass, noticeable on the car with the tint but actually not life threateningly bad from the inside. Giving the surface another going over sometime after application and it cleared up a lot better.
It didn’t rain till the next day but when looking at the treated glass it was evident where the application had been placed. The car windscreen was clearly wet but the globules of water had beaded and were stood “off” the surface of the glass.
It was time to test the claims of the vehicle under adverse weather conditions and speed (all legal of course). Thus our tester Andy took his vehicle on to the M1 for a junction or so during heavy rain and stuck his foot down (ahem). The results were positive, at speed the heavy rain droplets that linger on your glass were swept away leaving behind a relatively fine mist of water. Essentially visibility was clear and as if to prove this point he turned off the wipers entirely. Of course we at 020.com don’t endorse any methods of driving that might put yourself or other road users at risk, and in most cases this is a product that will reduce the need for wiper use but not omit it entirely.
It’s not all beer and skittles though another of our testers reported that the presence of the solution on his windscreen made his wipers make an annoying squeak, but then again you have to ask yourself is that definitely caused by putting a coating on your glass or could that be the wipers out of adjustment. In this instance let’s just say your mileage will vary from car to car and in terms of the adjustment of your blades.
One of the other claims of the solution was the improvement of night vision during driving. Well, let’s just say that thanks to the obvious water dispersal technically things are better but in terms of glare from oncoming headlights at night, we couldn’t conclusively say one way or the other whether things were better or worse.
A fairly hefty frost (tests conducted in Sheffield, brrrr! Cold!) allowed us to test another aspect of the solution. Once again mileage may vary but removing the ice seemed relatively easy with a scraper although I have to wonder just how much of that is “wishful thinking factor”. It seemed easier but then again how much consideration I actually give to scraping ice off the windshield of cars on a normal occasion is open to debate.
So in conclusion the results were most positive, one factor we encountered was how regular the car was cleaned. Our first test vehicle rarely gets washed and as a result getting the glass clean was a little more difficult and led to the aforementioned streaking. The second car however is very much a labour of love for the owner and sees the right side of a bucket of water and a sponge at least once a week. As a result the application in this instance was a doddle. So this is something you might want to take into consideration when you are applying the solution.
As a whole I think we can say the experiment was a success, yeah the solution makes a lot of claims and it would probably take a much longer term test than this one to conclusively prove all of them. However the main claims were supported and apart from the minor quibble of a squeaky wiper blade there was clear evidence that from 40mph upwards your windscreen did seem to “self clear” to a degree which impressed our test team.
On that note I think it’s safe to say this is one product we can recommend. Even as milder winters become more de rigueur, there will always be the prospect of your windows picking up grime and dirt from the roads especially if you start eating up the motorway miles. I don’t think you will ever find a solution that is perfect but for now this one should stand you in good stead.