“What’s the best way to wash my Lexus windows, especially the windshield?”
As with Lexus fans’ tire questions from a few weeks ago, we’re going to use this opportunity to answer both the great question above and the range of windows-related questions often asked by Lexus owners:
For starters, always use a good quality automotive glass cleaner when washing any of your Lexus windows—never dish soap or common household cleaners.
Also, note that auto glass cleaners are typically alcohol- or ammonia-based, and some people avoid ammonia-based window cleaners out of concern for their potential effects on nearby vinyl, rubber, and leather—so no matter what, be careful when spraying.
If you really want to clean like a pro, you’ll want two microfiber cloths, folded into quarters. Use the first to apply and work the cleaner, and the second to wipe off and buff. Use plenty of cleaner so it doesn’t evaporate before you’re done, and spray the cleaner on the glass rather than apply it to the towel.
Some additional tips: Roll your windows halfway down to clean the top edges of the glass. Also, avoid working in direct sunlight, as this can cause the glass cleaner to evaporate too quickly and leave streaks.
How often do I need to change my window wipers?
The accepted rule of thumb is every six to twelve months—frequency will depend on how much you drive and in what climate. Extreme temperatures are hard on wipers, with the biggest enemies being sun and ozone.
Whether you use the wipers or not, these elements will eventually cause the wipers to harden to the point where they can’t follow the curvature of the windshield—that’s what causes chatter. Meanwhile, the process of cleaning abrasive material from the glass eventually deteriorates each wiper’s cleaning edge, which results in streaking.
It’s best not to wait until wipers chatter or streak; have them replaced during normal service. Don’t forget about the rear wiper while you’re at it. This is easy to forget because it’s used less often, but it’s subject to the same exposure.
A mysterious oily film has gotten on my windshield and won’t go away. What’s going on and what should I do?
If you’ve seen this on your vehicle, you’ve likely picked up some industrial pollution—oil or some kind of petroleum product. In our modern world, there are umpteen ways for this stuff to get on your windshield, but it commonly gets thrown onto cars via rainy-day road spray.
Another potential culprit is the window-washing sponge/squeegee device found in self-service gas stations, which people tend to apply to surfaces other than their windows, like using the squeegee to wipe off exterior fuel drips near the gas cap. As a result, gas, oil, and road salts can get embedded on squeegees, awaiting transfer to the next user’s window.
Note that if you see an oily film on your windows, it’s likely also in your wipers. Petroleum products are not kind to rubber, and can cause the wiper material to break down. And of course, every time the wipers activate, you unwittingly reapply the mess.
The answer is to thoroughly clean the window as described above, and if necessary change your wipers. Have several cloths on hand when you do this; the first one you use will gunk up quickly, and if you don’t change it you’ll just keep smearing the stuff around.
What should I use in my window-washer reservoir?
This is a good question, because the reservoir must be kept full. Extensive use of the wipers on a dry windshield is bad for the glass and bad for the wipers.
Always use window-washer soap made for this purpose; if you’re in a winter environment, get the kind with a lower freezing point. Your Lexus dealer has it, of course, and so do part stores. Never use dish soap; not only can it potentially affect painted surfaces, but it can also foam up and diminish the function of the sprayers. And never add automotive antifreeze to the washer reservoir.
What are acoustic glass and water-repellent glass?
As its name suggests, acoustic glass has special sound-deadening qualities that help enhance the quietness of the ride. On Lexus vehicles so equipped, this can help prevent external noises and create the quiet cabin environment that Lexus vehicles are known for. (Acoustic glass is typically used for the windshield, and on some Lexus models the front driver and passenger doors.)
Lexus’ water-repellent glass is a feature that’s been around for the better part of a decade, and in current models it’s found on the driver and front-passenger windows. It has a titanium-silica coating that helps the water bead up and run off. This safety (and convenience) feature helps keep the windows clear when it’s raining, making it easier to see the mirrors.
The effect is similar to that of aftermarket window treatments, the difference being that the treatment is permanent and requires no special care beyond normal cleaning. Here again, you can observe the difference by comparing the behavior of water on the front and rear passenger windows: in front, rain will bead up and roll off quickly, whereas in the rear, the water tends to sheet.
—CLARK HEIDEGER, LEXUS AUTOMOTIVE EDITOR