Expected Lifespan of a Windshield Gard® kit
The most common question that we are asked is about longevity of the film. While there are a large number of factors, the short answer is the film should last for a minimum of 15k to 20k miles or 18 to 24 months. For cars in ideal conditions with the film treated really well, we expect 30k miles or more.
So what causes somebody to replace the film? Eventually the film will begin to accumulate small scratches and pits from road debris, just like a windshield would if it wasn't protected. At a certain point, these reach the point where it begins to interfere with visibility out the front of the windshield, just like a pitted windshield would, if it wasn't replaced due to being broken first. Under the film, the windshield should remain pristine when the film is removed.
Note that the film is covered by warranty for 18 months or 18k miles, whichever comes first. This warranty covers manufacturer defects in the film: premature delamination, yellowing, failure of the adhesive. It does not cover normal wear and tear on the film. Wear and tear on the film includes pits and scratches due to road debris hitting the film. In reasonable conditions, the film is expected to last longer than the warranty period.
So what factors cause Windshield Gard® to age faster?
- UV and heat very slowly age the film, so vehicles that are kept outdoors full time in a hot area with a very high UV index will age the film faster. Conversely, garage-kept vehicles have a lot less time in the sun, so the film will last longer, some of our customers with garage-kept sports cars have had their film last over 6 years.
- Off roading or driving in areas with lots of grit and sand of course also means the film is hit with a lot more debris. For our customers with lots of off-roading in dry, dusty areas, we usually see the worst film life, usually about 15k miles. These customers were seeing frequent broken windshields prior to using the film, so even at this lifespan, the film is doing a great job of protecting the windshield and preventing the frequent replacement they would see without the film.
What can be done to extend the life of the film?
- ClearX® wax treatment helps to protect the surface of the film both from scratches as well as UV damage. Regular applications will help to extend the life of the film. Each kit comes with one 4oz bottle, which is good for about 4 applications, or about 1 year.
- Using the sprayer every time you use your windshield wipers helps to ensure that the wipers glide over the surface of the film, removing grit from the windshield easily.
- Never pressure wash, use an abrasive pad, or use chemicals on your windshield. To clean, use a microfiber cloth. Simple green is a compatible soap that can be used to clean your film.
- Ceramic coatings can be applied over the film. This helps dust and water to come off of the windshield.
- In areas with lots of snow, avoid the use of ice scrapers when possible. If you must scrape the windshield, using a plastic scraper is much gentler on the film, do not use a metal scraper.
How Do I remove the film?
To remove the film, use a hair dryer to warm one corner, to soften the adhesive. Then try to slowly peel up that corner, continuing to heat with the hair dryer. If the film won't come off in one piece and begins to break up, a stainless razor can be used to carefully score the film in strips or a grid, to make it easier to pull off one piece at a time. Once all the film is removed, any remaining adhesive can be softened with isopropyl alcohol and removed with a non-abrasive scrub pad (for example the white pad that comes with our installation kits).
Upon removal, your windshield should be free from all the thousands of scratches and pits that the film absorbed.