Did you know windshields do more than just provide a clear view of the open road? Besides this safety element, windshields are actually a critical component to the constitution of your car. This is why they are specially designed using a marked form of glass consisting of limestone, soda ash, silica fine sand and other materials blended together and heated for maximum strength and utility. This is the process that bolsters the strength and soundness of the windshield, and as a result, your vehicle.
For this reason, if you’re on the market for a used car, you’ll want to make sure the windshield meets certain standards and criteria — for your own safety as well as that of your passengers.
Here are 4 glass defects you should look for in the windshield of any used car you’re looking to purchase.
1. Odd Sounds at Accelerated Speeds
Ask to take the vehicle for a test drive (the majority of dealerships and sellers will have no problem with this, in fact, it’s to be expected). As you begin picking up velocity, pay attention to any peculiar noises coming from the windshield. If you hear any whooshing, wheezing, or whistling, this is indicative of a few things:
- The windshield was not properly installed
- The size of the windshield is not the correct size for the make and model of the car
- There may be small cracks and gaps riddled throughout the windshield that are allowing unwanted air to seep through
- All of the above
Generally speaking, the swooshing sound will be in a lower tone and quite pronounced. And based on how serious the defects are, those noises can be even more noticeable. A windshield that has been properly and professionally positioned will not make any noises — even while driving at accelerated speeds.
The soundness of the installation should be sealed tight and prevent any air from bleeding through the glass. So if you hear these sounds while test driving your prospective vehicle, you may want to reconsider that particular car.
2. Meandering Glass
Do a thorough inspection of the vehicle — become a detective. Scrupulously look the windshield over, and if you happen to notice any inconsistencies on it (bulges, bumps, etc), this is a telltale sign that the glass is of a substandard calibre. A premium windshield will be flush, smooth, and polished. Meandering glass riddled with irregularities means that the mobile windshield replacement was done haphazardly using a form of glass not suited for the vehicle. And this can actually be dangerous due to the fact that irregular glass can warp your range of vision.
3. Aged Adhesive Remains
This is a red flag. If you notice that old windshield adhesive (glue designed for the installation of the windshield) remains around the crevices of the glass, this is a clear indication that the windshield has not been accurately secured. The windshield installer should completely clear the previous adhesive and start with a fresh installation. If he fails to do this, it could result in:
- Water leaking through when it rains
- Crooked glass leading to cracks and blemishes
- Rattling windshield
If there appears to be old gluing that has yet to be removed on the windshield of the used car, either ask them to fix it before any deal is made, or move on to a different vehicle altogether.
4. Water Leaks
The most effective method of checking for a sound windshield on a used car is to go for a spin in the rain. If there are any gaps, openings, or breaches in the glass, this will become abundantly apparent in a downpour. The reason this is such a great tactic is that many times, the small apertures are too minute to notice with the naked eye — so you can use rain as your litmus test.
You can also use a nearby car wash if precipitation is not an option. It’s at this point you’ll want to pay particular attention to the corners of the windshield. If water begins seeping into the car through the edges of the glass; you’ve got a dud.
This just means that the seal isn’t strong enough, and if that’s the case, a wise choice would be to move on and look at other vehicles. A windshield defective in this manner runs the risk of detaching from the frame of the car and literally falling from its structure!