Replace cracked or shattered windshields immediately, as the windshield plays a crucial role in supporting the overall structure of the vehicle. In fact, 30% to 70% of your car's roof strength and 50% of the car's rollover strength is provided by the windshield. Making sure that the windshield is properly installed and that the urethane has sufficient time to cure is crucial in ensuring maximum windshield performance. With this in mind, you'll need to be especially careful if you're going to wash your car after an auto glass replacement. Here are 3 tips you'll want to follow.
Wash the Car by Hand and Not with a High Pressure Wash
If you absolutely must wash your car, wash it by hand using a soap bucket and hand cloth or with a low pressure hose. You really want to avoid taking your car to a high pressure car wash for at least 24 hours after the windshield has been replaced in order to give the adhesive sufficient time to cure. Although water can speed up the amount of time needed for the windshield adhesive to cure, the pressure of the water and the chemical ingredients in the detergent can really disrupt the chemical composition of the adhesive if it hasn't cured yet. This will affect the structural integrity of the adhesive significantly and prevent it from curing properly.
Putting your car through a high pressure wash may cause the adhesive to come undone in some areas. This means that there will be leaks and holes in the seams. However, since these areas are usually covered by the frame of the car, you really won't know how much damage you've done until you're in an accident.
Avoid Using Chemical Cleaners Near the Windshield
As mentioned above, you never know what the chemical ingredients in the soap or conditioner can do to the adhesives. Use mild detergents and cleaners only when washing your car after you've gotten the windshield replaced. You also want to wash your car section by section to try to avoid getting any chemicals near the windshield. When washing the top of the car, try to wipe away as much soap as possible with a cloth before rinsing your car down.
Crack Open the Windows When Washing
When washing your car outdoors, you want to make sure that pressure doesn't build up inside the car from temporal fluctuations and ambient heat. Pressurization within the car can push out onto the windshield causing the urethane seal to crack. This will make the windshield much more susceptible to damages in the future. In addition, without a proper seal, the windshield will not be able to provide as much structural support to the car as what may be needed.
To reduce pressurization, crack open at least one of the windows when you are washing your car. Make sure that the car is properly ventilated at all times by checking that the temperature outside the car is equal to the temperature inside the car.
Ideally, you should really avoid using your car or even handling it after the new windshield has been installed. You want to give the urethane seal sufficient time to cure without any external interference because the overall structural integrity of the car can become compromised if the windshield is not properly secured in place. Most of the time, most mechanics and auto shops recommend leaving the car with them until the adhesive has completely cured, as they can store the vehicle in an optimal environment. You should use a rental car or a courtesy car in the meantime if possible.