Imperial Home Page -> Repair ->Body -> Glass -> Windshield -> Scratches
Question from Marc:
My '67 Coupe has a spot on the windshield where the previous owner failed to replace the wiper blade in time and left a superficial scratch. My question, is there a method for rubbing these out or some way to smooth them over?
JC Whitney has sold a repair kit for years. I have never used one, but it's shown on p. 132 of their catalog # 657T-12 (they do a new catalog about every 3 weeks, I think). Looks like it comes w/ some compound and a drill-operated polishing wheel. Recommends 1500rpm working speed. Says it comes with enough compound for 25 windshields and it removes haze, light scratches, etc.
Like I said, I have never used it, but I've heard that it works. I also understand you need to be careful about grinding down 1 area of the windshield too much or you'll have an imperfection in the windshield and in that area, it will distort all that you see.
The compound used by professionals is Cerium Oxide, and the buffing wheel is a special VERY firm felt, sold for this use only.
I have such a setup, bought through an auto glass wholesale outfit (C. R. Laurence Co.), and it does work well. However, you can only take out shallow scratches - if you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, it is probably do deep to do much good with. The dangers are of course that you might leave an optical imperfection right in your line of sight, and that you might get too carried away with the buffing and overheat the glass to the point where it cracks from the temperature induced stress (glass expands like most other substances when it gets hot). Follow directions exactly and you will not have these problems.
I don't know that J.C.Whitney sells the same product, but my bet is that it is the same stuff, marked up about 300%.
If you are lucky enough to be restoring a car for which new glass is still available, by all means buy a new windshield! Save the old one for the days when they are no longer available, if you have room, or give it to someone who can preserve it, but don't struggle with glass defects if you don't have to!
Eastwood also sells such a kit.
It's been my experience that for the economical sum of about $10-$25 a pair ( depending on the size requirements of the originals) of fresh wiper blades can save big bucks over a windshield replacement. In my glass shop I always inspect the customers wiper blades after a new windshield installation and 75% of the time a fresh set get installed. The strong UV of today's climates along with acid rains, etc. all contribute to the breaking down of the rubber compounds that are used in the squeegee edge of the wiper blade. It's recommended that your wiper blades be changed about ever 6mos.on a daily driver, and perhaps at least annually for a show car who spends most of it's time undercover or in a garage. Sometimes I'll ask a customer when the last time his wiper blades have been changed and they can't remember or like one fellow said" I've owned this car for about 6 years and have never changed them!" There wasn't even any edge left on his blades! Ouch!
Some brands of blades have a Teflon coated blade which most of my customers like as they seem to glide easier over the glass, weak springs in the wiper arms can be another culprit of poor operating wiper blades as they won't apply enough pressure to clean the glass. Some folks will over compensate for this by adding a set of those heavy duty truck stop style spring clips which exert way too much pressure and will wear the blade out much faster and thus result in scuffs and rainbow arching scratches on their windshield. One other tip to add is make sure your washer fluid jug or bottle is topped off, running the blades dry after the juice has run out doesn't help matters any.
This page last updated December 22, 2002. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club