Rider EducationBy Robin Koontz
How to Clean and Protect your windshield
written by Allen Smith, of Tulsa Enterprises
With very few exceptions, little by little GoldWingers clean their windshields to death. Take a stroll around the parking lot outside a restaurant where a GWRRA chapter is eating. Look through all the windshields. Except for the brand new machines, almost every windshield shows evidence of well-intentioned abuse by the bikerís owners. (While thatís what keeps those of us in the business of supplying aftermarket windshields and accessories in business, itís largely unnecessary and can be avoided with a bit of care.) Sure, you need to keep your windshield clean, both for appearances and safety, but you donít need to go about it the wrong way!
First of all, you should know a bit about your GoldWingís windshield. Unlike most automobile or truck windshields, it is not made of glass. The original equipment Honda GoldWing GL1500 windshield is made of hard coated polycarbonate. While polycarbonate is great stuff, if you use a cleaner containing alcohol or ammonia (including Windexģ or Pledgeģ) you start softening the hard coating, exposing the windshield to greater tendency to scratches or pitting. Windex, Pledge, and other alcohol-based household cleaners work great on glass, but arenít meant for synthetics.
WARNING: Do not use Rain-Xģ on any coated windshield!
Second, if you grab one of those service station scrubber wands, you donít know what kind of abrasives are imbedded in itís spongy or squeegee surfaces. Itís worth it to carry your own cleaning materials. At service stations, the temptation is to do a "final wipe-off" with those handy paper towels. Resist the urge! Paper is processed wood pulp. Youíre essentially scrubbing your windshield with a handful of ground-up twigs! Is it any wonder your windshield quickly goes from crystal clear to a crazy quilt pattern of swirls and whorls thatís especially annoying when riding in the rain or in the glare of on-coming headlights!
Alcohol or high-petroleum-content cleaners are even more destructive to aftermarket windshields made of Lexanģ. Spritz a little alcohol on one of these windshields and it immediately turns milky white. I had a customer tell me he destroyed one of these windshields while refilling his fuel tank. The hose nozzle sprung loose, gushing gasoline all over the inside of his Lexan windshield. Was he angry!
Hereís how I tell my customers to clean their windshields.
Step 1. Use a wet, not damp, wash cloth or hand towel you keep for that purpose in a plastic zip-lock bag inside your Wingís travel trunk. Allow the water to soften the dried-on bugs. Work cross-wise and up and down; if you use a circular motion you tend, unconsciously, to increase the rag pressure and scrub harder than you need to. Also, if thereís any grit on the cloth to gouge the surface, circular scratches are more annoying to the eye than straight ones. (By the way, I donít use diaper material because the tightness of the weave tends to pick up and retain grit.) Soft terry cloth is the best for the initial soaking and wiping.
Step 2. With the windshield still wet, sparingly spray on some of Sumner Laboratories product called 210ģ. Using clean tee-shirt material, gently wipe the windshield dry, again using straight back-and-forth motions. Sumnerís 210ģ is available through many motorcycle and plastic supply houses (and Tulsa Enterprises carries it too!). itís specifically formulated for use on Lucite or Lexan. Besides being anti-static and anti-fog, it helps seal the pores of plastic and leaves a protective coating. As with any product youíve not tried before, test it on a small area of the windshield.
Of course, in the final analysis, for severely scratched and pitted windshields, the best thing to do is start over with a fresh one, promising yourself to give it better care than you gave the last one. Just as investing in a fresh set of motorcycle tires makes a world of difference in how your motorcycle rides, by making the relatively small investment for a new windshield, you can improve your whole outlook on life!
Robin Koontz, Chapter Educator
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