It seems like only yesterday that we experienced our last frost – meaning that there’s a good chance you still have antifreeze in your windshield washer system. Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s important that you remove it. Why? One reason is the performance of your lights.
Now, most of you may be thinking that we’re talking exclusively about headlight cleaning systems. Your headlight cleaning system may have reacted to the antifreeze over the course of the winter. It’s a smart idea to consider using an extra product for summer because, as the weather warms up, the antifreeze can become more aggressive, causing the coating to deteriorate.
But whether your car is equipped with a headlight cleaning system or not, there is still a good chance you have a modern headlight system. This means that your headlights will likely be controlled via a camera, e.g. for antiglare high beams. If so, you may have noticed that, when your windshield is dirty, there’s a decrease in your headlight functionality.
Optimal light distribution depends what the camera can “see”. The camera – located on the front side of your rearview mirror – reads the traffic and light situation in front of it. But, if the camera is to be as effective as possible, the windshield must be free from debris. Possible malfunctions in the wipers, or the quality of your washer fluid, can leave streaks or residue that alter the effectiveness of the camera. This is especially true when additives like antifreeze are in the washer fluid, causing it to foam.
The wipers may eliminate the foam but, chances are, it will leave streaks where the blades made contact – and there’s a good chance that this is in front of the camera. This is especially problematic because, from the driver’s seat, there’s only a small chance you will notice this.
This can quickly become a problem – especially at night – when your lights don’t automatically come on when they should. The good news is that, when it’s raining, this shouldn’t become an issue as the grime should wash away with the rain. You can also try running your wipers a few extra times to get rid of the dirt. If, however, it rains and/or you’ve tried running them several times, there’s a good chance they’re either worn out, or additives are to blame. In either case, good quality products can help immensely. Good products should be on the same level as finding the best fan nozzles or polycarbonate lenses – up high.