Tiny Windshield Specks in Bright Sunlight

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by edstewbob, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. edstewbob

    edstewbob Junior Member

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    When the sun is fairly low but bright on the horizon and in front of the windshield there are thousands of tiny specks visible in the windshield that are fairly evenly distributed. They are very small and almost look metallic and appear to be within the safety glass laminate. It is very annoying even when using the sun visor and restricts visibility noticeably. We have the same thing with our 2006 Prius with approx 80,000 miles and our 2010 Prius has about 30,000 miles. At first I thought it might be some pitting on the surface of the windshield due to road or dust debris but the glass appears to be perfectly smooth. No matter how well I clean the windshield these small specks still appear. I have researched this a bit and have seen quite a few reports from others with this phenomenon especially with GM and BMW vehicles even with new vehicles or new windshields. The most likely thing I have found so far is that it is caused by a metal flake put between the glass laminations to help reduce glare. The following patent was mentioned as related Heat treatable sputter-coated glass ... - Google Patents
    Has anyone else seen this in their windshield?
     
  2. Feri

    Feri Active Member

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  3. Teakwood

    Teakwood Member

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    I strongly doubt that there is a problem with the windshield manufacture.

    I have encountered a similar problem on several vehicles over the years. I have found that there are several contributors.

    For one, hard water can cause problems when it evaporates on windows.

    For another, windshields are constantly bombarded with fine silt and other small debris in the air. When these hit the glass at 60 mph, they tend to stick and/or cause micro-pitting.

    The best solution I have found is a substance which I got from a local auto-glass repair shop. I do not know the name of the stuff, but it is a coarse white powder, looking rather like dried wax. I put some of this on a damp cloth and rub the windshield. I suspect it is a mild abrasive powder. In any case, it works to clear up those tiny little specs on glass.

    I suggest that you stop by a local auto-glass shop and have a chat with them.
     
  4. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Senior Member

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  5. edstewbob

    edstewbob Junior Member

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    The specks or flecks that I see are fairly well distributed across the windshield, there could be some places where they are a little more dense but there are hundreds or thousands of them across the entire windshield. I have read posts in other forums where this has been reported by many people and in the end no one thought it was a defect in the windshield itself but at least one place reported it as a "feature" to reduce glare, at least that is what I got out of my research because most of the replies focused on the likelihood of a glass surface issue rather than something within the laminates. My wife brought it to my attention recently otherwise I would not have noticed it and she said it was there from the start. Now that is all I can see in bright sunlight, damn her anyway. I'm not convinced for sure either way whether it is a surface problem due to flying debris and dust but several others have reported the same phenomena with new windshields and with their new cars which would lend more toward something that is not on the surface of the glass. I'll look for some of that white powder abrasive and see if I can try an experiment on a portion of the windshield.
     
  6. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    Glad I'm not the only one. This has been a problem, and the only time I've seen it before was when I lived out west with a lot of wind and dust getting blown around (essentially sandblasting the glass), but it took a few months of that before I started noticing. This has been right away.

    When I wash the car, the rinse hose uses hard water. I'll check into that. I tried using Windex after I was done, but the flecks are still there. I even tried some water/soap/vinegar like I do when cleaning the inside of the windshield.
     
  7. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I've been able to correct this problem using CarPro ceriglass and their glass pads using my Flex 3401. I think they also sell a lot that allows you to do this by hand if you do not own a machine.
     
  8. kbeck

    kbeck Active Member

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    For what it's worth, every car I've ever owned, from the 1971 VW to the 2002 Civic I sold a couple of years ago have developed this with age.

    My understanding is that the special construction of front windshields in particular result in internal delamination as they get old. When it got bad I had the windshields on the badly afflicted cars replaced, not that expensive a proposition.

    I see the above comments about special cleaners and such. If the specs are inside the window, they won't do much; on the surface, more.

    Good luck!

    KBeck
     
  9. Langosta

    Langosta New Member

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    Many thanks to Edstewbob for a thorough examination of a problem we have encountered with our brand new Prius. Driving it towards the setting sun yesterday, I saw what looked like a fine spray of dots throughout the windshield. Cleaning it with the wipers and windshield solution did nothing, nor did cleaning the inside of the window. Since the car has been driven only 200 miles and the flecks are throughout the window, the problem can't be due to aging, buildup, or sprinkling on the windshield. I'm trying to figure out if the manufacturer did intentionally embed these flecks to reduce glare. If so, they should know that they have created another problem. And, yes, I noticed this and have forever afflicted my husband with this annoying feature, just like the author's wife did.
     
  10. Preeeus

    Preeeus Member

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    I have noticed this too. I don't recall if it was on the Prius or another vehicle.

    When I first noticed it, I thought it was most likely damage to the exterior of the glass. But after inspecting the glass, I could find no evidence of pitting that was large enough to cause such a significant optical effect (in my amateur opinion).

    When the sun is at certain angles, it can definitely affect visibility through the windshield and provides a distraction. I have never found a solution.
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    take it back to the dealer, you're under warranty.
     
  12. qdllc

    qdllc Senior Member

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    Also, do you live someplace that gets high winds and had sediment in the air (e.g., grit/sand)? I lived in Wyoming for 3 years. Pretty much needed a new windshield when I moved back east. My parents took a couple trips out to Wyoming to visit. Wound up replacing their windshield a few years later. The "sandblasting" ultimately puts tiny "etchings" in the glass. You can't fix them because they are too small to do anything with, but when the sun hits it right, it can make it difficult to see through the glass.
     
  13. Daniel1983

    Daniel1983 New Member

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    I bought a month ago vw golf and it have exactly the same problem!
    Maybe someone find an explanation of these tiny specks?
    This is defect window or Anti-Glare coating ?

    Thanks,
     
  14. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    I've noticed it too, the first week I had my brand new 2016 Gen4.

    It's definitely not water spots. And it's not pitting. It hasn't been a distraction for me, and only noticeable when the sun is low. I can live with it.
     
  15. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Has a magnifying glass been used to inspect the outside window surface?

    Sand blasting/ rocks would be my first opinion.

    I've never notice this anti glare flecking type windshield.
     
  16. DonDNH

    DonDNH Senior Member

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    My guess is that it is pitting. It might even have been caused when trucking your car from the port to your dealer's lot. It doesn't take much dust/sand in the air and all the road crap thrown up by trucks following in convoy can be brutal on a windshield.

    While you might have only driven a short distance, your car might have traveled much farther.
     
  17. Daniel1983

    Daniel1983 New Member

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    When the sun is high, the window looks clear and clean in 100%. But when the sun is low and I'm driveing when the sun is front of me, many yellow dots that looks like small copper chips appear in the windshield . When I photograph the windshield in such a situation it seems quite clear with no dots, the camera did not catch them. I am attaching picture of this situation.
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Coast Cruiser

    Coast Cruiser Senior Member

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    I sure hope it's not pitting, Don. Seems like it would have to be a LOT of blowing sand to cause it. Does Toyota not cover the vehicle windows before loading on the truck? You would think the dock workers would put a simple piece of cardboard over the front glass before transporting. (I've seen other auto companies that do it.)

    I live fairly close to the massive Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. (And the dealer where I got my Prius is only 6 miles from the Port.) It's not as easy to drive through that area anymore; you used to be able to see thousands of new cars parked out there. I'm going to take a ride down there again, and see if I can get some photos.
     
  19. SCdave

    SCdave Junior Member

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    On another vehicle of mine, I got this after getting stuck in a 50+ mph sand storm in Palm Springs/desert area which has very fine sand. Didn't realized it until driving into sun at dawn or dusk. Can't feel these micro specks on windshield with your finger/finger nail like you would a pebble or something else that might have pitted the windshield.

    If you were not out in the desert during a high wind storm, than hardwater stains most likely and use one of the suggested products. Or get a car wash or detailer to do it for you.

    If sand micro pitting, then it would take an abrasive product that comes with a matching pad to attach to a variable speed drill or better yet, one of the specially polishing right angle tools. Havent gone this route yet myself.

    The white powder mentioned may have been aluminum oxide powder, an abrasive. You don't play with this stuff though.

    If you were not in a desert sand storm, then I would go back to dealer. Not likely but small possibility your vehicle could have been delivered first to a Riverside County/desert dealership and sat on a lot during a wind storm. Dealershios do move/trade for new vehicles as needed. Who knows.

    But if not dealer issue, replacing glass is easiest. If you attempt polishing with aluminum oxizide powder, you will have to be very careful not to get it on your paint and have patience with the polishing process. This is uniform micro pitting over the complete surface and not just one small isolated pit to polish out. Process will take hours.

    I'm not an expert, just spent lots of hours researching it and still not satisfied with the info I've researched.

    Lastly, live with micro pitting and keep windshield as clean as possible to help reduce glare.

    Oh, lesson learned for me. If in high wind storm in desert, get off the highway and into a protected reaidential area. Wind storm of 50+ and driving into wind storm on highway at 65+ = 115+ mph impact of 1000s of small projectiles. Duhhhhh :(
     
    #19 SCdave, Jul 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2016
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  20. booke02

    booke02 Active Member

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    Has you car been parked under trees. Some trees (such as cyprus) drip a very fine drizzle of sap, which can cause the problem that you describe. Test by rubbing an area of the glass with nail polish remover.
     
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