Friday, 17 December 2010

Windscreen Smear

More readers are interested in practicalities than you would think. In 13 years of Sunday Times columns this one of 19 November 1989 brought more response than almost any other. Correspondents wrote with enthusiasm on cures for windscreen smear or juddery wipers, ranging from potato peelings to Coca Cola – “look what it does to coins.” Kitchen roll soaked in white spirit, alcohol, lemon juice or Windolene, hair shampoo, vinegar or bizarrely Silvo liquid polish were among the suggestions. They all, “… worked a treat.” One driver was never without a Financial Times, which seemed to clean road dirt best; others advocated car polish, soapy water or household detergent on a foam backed scouring pad. There were warnings against detergents, washing-up liquid or Rain-X and other proprietary additives that were supposed to help. Squeaking wiper blades could be cured by a) replacement, b) twisting the operating arm to change their angle of attack or, c) lubricating their hinges with olive oil. Some blamed acid rain for the problem. Others thought driving in acid rain would cure it. Salt residue following anti-icing measures seemed particularly problematical. Polishing a windscreen to squeaky clean with Kleenex tissue and screenwash fluid still seems a good bet although modern Jaguar dealers are said to stock a paste that does the job in a trice. Perhaps this is a descendent of the solution Trico-Folberth was working on with Jaguar 21 years ago.

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