Car Care

Windscreen 101: How to prevent vision impairment

Have you ever been driving in torrential rain and struggled to see the road in front of you?  As heavy rainfall is far more likely during the winter months, now is the most important time to ensure your windscreen clearing systems are functioning correctly.

When it comes to vehicle maintenance, your windscreen’s wiper and washer system is often the one component overlooked by drivers, so we’ve put together a windscreen 101 to help prevent any vision impairment.

Maintain your washer fluid

First things first - always make sure there’s fluid in your washer reservoir. To find your washer fill point, open your bonnet and locate your washer fluid reservoir cap which is normally blue and features a washer icon on top.

If the system contains fluid but fails to operate, the motor may have become stuck through lack of use. In this case, try and find your washer motor as it may require just a gentle tap to return functionality. To locate your washer motor follow the filler neck beneath the cap - this should lead you to your washer reservoir and motor. If you can’t find it, if it’s out of reach, or it still doesn’t operate properly then you may need to visit a mechanic.

If using an additive, don’t mix different solution types as they might not be compatible with one other and could lead to blockages further down the line. Make sure to always read the instructions on the bottle to ensure you use the correct concentration; otherwise the liquid can become too foamy.


If your wipers smear in both directions, you may have worn or dirty blades, a dirty windscreen, or even contaminated/poor washer fluid. If your blades are less than six months old then they may just need a clean with a cloth dipped in hot soapy water. You can even rub the blade with some isopropyl alcohol afterwards to remove any residue.

If the smearing is only in one direction, the blades could be too hard or perhaps even the wrong size. Either way the wipers require replacement.

Water beads that won’t wipe away

‘Beading’ is generally a good thing as it’s supposed to help the water slide right down your windscreen thanks to good-quality washer fluid, but sometimes the water can cling to the glass and obscure your vision instead.  

This can be due to pollution residue and grime building up on the windscreen, causing the water beads to stick. We recommend giving your windscreen a good clean, ensure your fluid is up to strength, and maybe even treat the windscreen with a solution like Rain-X Water Repellent which is readily available at most auto parts suppliers.  


The sound of wipers screeching or chattering away is bad enough, but this can also lead to smearing on the windscreen itself. Once again, this can be attributed to a dirty windscreen or wiper blades, but it could also be a result of a bent wiper arm which reduces the blade tension or angle, essentially preventing the blade from working correctly.

Check for external blockages

The last thing to check is the windscreen washer nozzles, especially if your car has recently been polished. Dirt can get stuck in the opening and block the jets. An easy fix is to take a pin and clean them out, but be careful not to disturb the nozzle alignment.  

Let the AA help

Having issues with your windscreen, wipers or washer system? It’s more important than ever during winter to get any issues seen to. Visit and our experienced technicians will be happy to help.

AA Shop stock a selection of quality products to ensure your windscreen remains as clear as possible whilst driving. Check out the Rain-X Anti Fog and Rain-X Water repellent to prevent vision problems before they begin. Visit to view our full range of products.

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