HOW TO CLEAN AND CARE FOR YOUR POLYCARBONATE WINDSHIELD
Your polycarbonate windshield takes a beating. Just think of all the elements it comes in contact with through the course of a ride. Mud, dust, dirt, rocks, branches, and more—all of these things are inevitable when you’re hitting the trails, but none of them are good for your UTV windshield.
Keeping your windshield clean is important for many reasons. First and foremost, a clean windshield promotes visibility. We don’t know about you, but we like being able to see what’s ahead while we’re going 60+ MPH. But in addition to keeping you safe, a clean windshield just makes your machine look nicer. Proper care can also extend the life of your windshield, which leaves you with more money in your pocket.
Cleaning and caring for a polycarbonate windshield requires a very specific technique. Polycarbonate might be stronger than glass, but unless it’s hard coated, poly collects scratches more easily. That’s why you can’t just grab some Windex and bunched-up paper towels and go at it all willy-nilly. If you want your polycarbonate windshield to stay clean and pristine, there are some “dos” and “don’ts” that you should know.
USE THE RIGHT SUPPLIES
Proper windshield care starts with the right supplies. But before we get into that, let’s start by looking at some items you should NEVER reach for when cleaning a polycarbonate windshield:
- Wiper blades
- Scrapers and/or squeegees
- Pressure washers
- Windshield cleaners
- Anything with alcohol and/or ammonia
- Any type of dry or abrasive material
All of these materials will wreak havoc on a polycarbonate windshield, especially if it’s not hard coated (more on that later).
So what can you use? Polycarbonate windshield care is actually really simple. You’ll just need a few basic items that you probably already have at home:
- Squirt bottle
- Warm water
- Gentle dish soap or baby shampoo
- Clean microfiber cloth
Once you have all of those things on hand, it’s time to start cleaning!
THE CLEANING PROCESS
Start by spraying your windshield with warm, soapy water. Even if you’re using the world’s softest, most non-abrasive cloth, you should never wipe your windshield down without spraying it first. Without water to soften all that dried-on muck, you’re really just spreading mud (which contains gritty sand) back and forth, which can damage your windshield.
The dirtier your windshield is, the more water you’ll want to use. And if the mud is really caked on, you might even need to let it soak for awhile before moving on.
Once you’ve coated your dirty windshield in water, use your microfiber cloth to gently wipe back and forth. Never use circular motions when cleaning polycarbonate. A back-and-forth motion is better because you’re pushing dirt to the sides, rather than dragging it around in circles—another potentially damaging habit.
Another helpful tip is to flip to a clean section of cloth after every pass. This helps you avoid trapping dirt particles in your microfiber cloth.
After you have gently wiped all of the gunk and debris off your windshield (and we can’t emphasize the word “gently” enough), it’s time to rinse. Gently (there it is again!) pour or spray water over the windshield to rinse all of the soap off.
Now it’s time to dry! To avoid collecting water spots, use a clean chamois and blot your windshield dry. The key here is blotting—don’t rub or wipe down your windshield with a chamois, because again, that could lead to unwanted scuffs.
CLEANING A WINDSHIELD ON THE TRAIL
Sometimes things get a little out of hand when riding (in the best way, of course) and you end up totally covered in mud while still miles from home. It’s fun, sure, but you still need a clear windshield to make it back.
Because cleaning a polycarbonate windshield requires such basic supplies, keeping it clean while on the go is a piece of cake. Just make sure you have these materials stashed away somewhere:
- Spray bottle with a water/soap mixture
- Bottle of water for rinsing
- Microfiber cloths
LONG-TERM WINDSHIELD CARE
Knowing how to properly clean a polycarbonate windshield is one way to keep yours looking good, but it’s not the only thing you should be doing in terms of windshield care.
Here are some other tips for extending the life of your UTV windshield.
Don’t wait until your windshield is absolutely covered to clean it. You can wear that caked-on mud like a badge of honor on your machine’s body work, but regularly cleaning your windshield will keep it looking new for longer. Get in the habit of doing a quick clean after every ride, even if it’s not that dirty.
PARK IN THE SHADE
When you’re not riding, make sure to store your machine out of direct sunlight—preferably in a garage or shed. If you don’t have room in the garage, cover the windshield with a tarp or find somewhere shady. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage polycarbonate windshields over time.
GET IT HARD COATED
Treatments like SuperATV’s proprietary XR Optic Hard Coating greatly extend the life of a polycarbonate windshield. XR Optic provides unmatched scratch and abrasion resistance. It also offers protection against those UV rays we were just talking about, so you won’t have to worry about your windshield turning cloudy or discolored over time.