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There is nothing worse than rain and road spray pummeling your windshield, making it hard to see. Even when you flick those brand-new wipers to the high setting, the slop is too much and you still can’t see. Wouldn’t it be nice, and safer, if there was something you could do to improve your visibility in the rain?
Well there is plenty you can do. Rain repellents have been on the market for a while, making water bead and sheet off of treated windshields. And like many things, the technology has improved over the years.
Below we take a look at three popular options, and from this list our hope is you might find one that suits your needs.
Top 3 Rain Repellents that Actually Work:
|Aquapel Glass Treatment by PGW 6 Single...||Check Price|
|Gtechniq G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass 15...||Check Price|
|Rain-X 800002243 Glass Treatment- 7 fl...||Check Price|
Aquapel Glass Treatment
- Rain repellent glass treatment
- One applicator treats an average windshield
- Improves vision in the rain
￼Aquapel is a well-reviewed product supplied in a package of six single-use applicators. (You may also find this product under the brand name Trico View.)
To apply, you first must thoroughly clean the glass (see the FAQ’s for more on prep and cleaning). Then you simply squeeze the plastic “wings” of the applicator together, and with the felt side down, apply by wiping the wet felt over your windshield.
Application is quick and easy to use, and there is enough solution in the applicator that you might be able to do some of the other windows on the car after completing the windshield. There are a number of YouTube videos that demonstrate the application of Aquapel.
You do need to follow the directions precisely, especially wiping off all the excess Aquapel. It is also a good idea to buff the glass clear with a clean cloth after removing the excess liquid with a paper towel. Plus, you should never allow the Aquapel to dry while treating the glass.
Many find that it is difficult to impossible to remove spots from paint and rubber, so you need to be careful with those drips and you may even want to protect adjacent surfaces.
Performance of Aquapel meets user expectations. The treated windshield is clear and it sheds water in an almost magical manner. Plus, this water repellency lasts for months.
For those timid about using “industrial” type chemicals, Aquapel may not be your first choice. You should take precautions against breathing the vapors and skin contact. The number of emergency phone numbers right on the applicator are a good reminder to use some care with the applicator.
What I like:
- Visibility in the rain is improved.
- Water freely beads and rolls of the treated glass, and at higher speeds rain removes itself.
- Easy to apply with self-contained applicator.
- Glass also repels dirt and is cleaner over time in areas the wipers do not touch.
- Treatment is durable and long lasting.
- Clear and leaves no haze if properly applied and cured properly.
- Used by professional detailers on high-end cars.
What I don’t like:
- Glass must be pristinely cleaned prior to application.
- The applicator can drip and drops are VERY hard to remove from other surfaces. (Covering of adjacent surfaces with tape or plastic may be necessary.)
- Not as long lasting as G·techniq G1.
- Not forgiving or easy to use. Must not allow Aquapel to dry. Excess liquid must be wiped off, then in an additional step you should buff till glass is clear.
- Toxic. You need to use in well ventilated areas and you need to avoid breathing the vapors.
- You should wear rubber gloves and eye protection when applying.
$4.67 per application
G·techniq G1 Clear Vision Smart Glass
- Protects glass from rain, sleet, ice, snow and other...
- Protection for up to 2 years.
- Makes wet weather driving easier and safer.
G·techniq G1 glass treatment comes in a kit with two different products and applicator pads. The bottle of G1 is the actual glass treatment and the container of G2 is a cleaner used to “remove” the excess G1. It sounds a bit confusing, but YouTube has videos that cover how to use the G·techniq G1.
A number of steps are required to apply the G1, starting with meticulous cleaning of the windshield – seriously the glass must be spotless. Both of the supplied products in the kit are used straight from the bottle, so no mixing is required. But there are multiple applications using the small applicator pads that demand elbow grease. Also, a helpful tip is to transfer the G2 cleaner to a spray bottle. Many found using the G2 with the supplied applicator pads for the cleaning was frustrating.
As for performance, the G1 is a true glass coating that sheds rain, and it lasts. Many users note a year of performance, and G·techniq states up to two years or thirty thousand miles of driving. So, it is a little fussy to apply, but you will not be applying it as much as some of the other options.
One thing worth noting, keep the caps on both the G1 and G2 at ALL times when not using. Both liquids evaporate quickly, so you will need to take the cap on and off a few times when treating your glass. It is a pain, yes, but this stuff is expensive and you do not want it just floating off into the air while you are wiping the windshield.
What I like:
- Water freely beads and rolls of the treated glass.
- Visibility in the rain is improved.
- Long lasting, many users reported a year of performance (G·techniq states 30,000 miles of driving or up to 2 years).
- Dirt does not cling and the glass is cleaner over time.
- Used by professional detailers, even on the most expensive cars.
- Is not as toxic as the Aquapel.
What I don’t like:
- Most expensive product on our list.
- Complex application involving multiple steps and two products that require elbow grease and time.
- Evaporates quickly. Keep the cap on, even in between soaking the applicator pads. This stuff is expensive and you do not want it just floating off into the air
- The G2 cleaner should be supplied in a spray bottle. Those who used the G2 with the supplied applicator pads were disappointed.
- Drips are VERY hard to remove from adjacent surfaces.
Approx. $12.41 per application per 2.25 uses bottle
Approx. $5.15 per application per 15 uses bottle
Rain-X Original Glass Treatment
- Restores headlights and clear plastic by removing haze and...
- Try Rain‑X Original Glass Water Repellent on your glass...
- Improves driving visibility and wiper blade performance
- An ideal windshield prep for Rain-X Original Treatment
- 7oz. bottle
Of the three products on our list, Rain-X is the brand name most likely to be recognized by the average motorist. It has been on the market for a while and is sold in most automotive supply stores. Plus, the company has done a fair amount of advertising.
When it comes to application, the Rain-X is simple to use. It follows the Mr. Miyagi principle: wax on, wax off. Or more precisely spray it on and wipe it off. No mixing or using a separate cleaner after applying is required. Plus, it comes in a trigger spray bottle, ready to use.
However, for best results, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Clean the glass, every speck and spot. When applying, build an even coat and make sure to buff aggressively at the right time. If you skip or cheat the buffing called for in the instructions, you may see some “smearing” or steaking with the Rain-X.
For those looking for the economical option, this is it. The cost per application is a fraction of the first two options.
However, it does not last as long as the other two. Some claim to get a few weeks to a month, while others claim the beading lasts a couple of months. But if you use your wipers, do not expect it last for more than a couple of weeks. This far from the effective duration of the Aquapel and G·techniq G1, so you will have to apply more often, but this is offset by the lower per application than the other products.
What I like:
- Repels water and visibility in the rain is improved.
- Cost effective.
- Widely available.
- Safe and easy to use. No mixing and only one product to use.
- Comes in its own spray bottle, ready to use.
- Easier to clean from adjacent surfaces.
What I don’t like:
- May takes two coats to get best results.
- Does not last as long as other products. Need to apply more often.
- Use of wipers reduces performance life to just a couple of weeks.
- Must remove all excess when applying/buffing. Any residue will cause streaks.
Approx. 50¢ per application
Rain Repellent Buying Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
Be Careful of Counterfeit Aquapel
Counterfeit Aquapel? Yep. Apparently some auto detailing products are high profile enough warrant being copied and sold online. When buying Aquapel from a retailer such as Amazon be sure to check the reviews to make sure there aren’t complaints of the product being a counterfeit. Many sellers online are selling fake Aquapel. The fake product doesn’t have the same smell, application characteristics, or water repelling ability. Try to always purchase from trusted retailers. Generally you can trust stores such as Autogeek, Autopia, etc…
What makes a good rain repellent?
Most important, and a bit obvious, the first requirement for a rain repellent is the product should bead and shed water drops, making it easier to see. And the best products are effective enough at shedding water that you can forego the use of your windshield wipers. This performance will make driving safer, which is the ultimate goal.
Preferred products will be easy to apply and leave the glass clear, and they should leave no visible streaks or smears.
If you drip or dribble some rain repellent on adjacent surfaces, you should be able to remove it. Some products are hard to remove and require protecting other surfaces, which makes installation more difficult.
Also, a bit obvious, a product must perform for an extended period of time. If you need to apply every day, well even auto enthusiasts might raise an eyebrow or two.
Benefits of buying a quality rain repellent?
A quality rain repellent beads and sheds the water off your windshield, no wipers needed. So, the best products are effective enough at shedding water to reduce your windshield wiper use, extending the life of the blades. And the treated glass surface may make the wipers pass over the glass with less skipping and reduced noise when you do use them.
A couple of additional benefits are horizontal glass/windows will also shed rain and this reduces the amount of water spotting. Plus, a rain repellent forms a protective barrier that protects glass from etching caused by things like acid rain, bird droppings, and insects.
All of those are great benefits. But more important, when you see better, you and your passengers are safer in the rain. Not all detailing products can claim added safety, but a rain repellent can. Plus, consider this, when it is easier to see in the rain, driving is less stressful during those downpours.
One last thing, dirt finds it more difficult to stick to a treated windshield. Many users see a noticeable improvement in the windshield outside the areas where the wiper blades reach.
How do you prepare the surface for application of a rain repellent?
This is a critical step and before you install a rain repellent, you must get the glass clean. We are not talking a quick spritz and wipe. It must be free from ALL dirt and debris.
This means you should use a quality glass cleaner and cloth, and if needed a clay bar or razor blades (be careful to avoid scratching the glass when scraping with a razor). You need to use whatever it takes to remove the asphalt sealer spots, tree sap, bugs, that weird white blotch and whatever else is on the glass.
While not necessary to prepare the glass for a rain repellent, glass polish could also be used to remove scratches in your glass while doing the prep work.
Bottom line, the repellent must be applied to glass, not over dirt on the glass. And that means meticulous cleaning is needed before you apply a rain repellent.
What are some free or cheap alternatives to commercial rain repellents and do they work?
For side and rear windows, wax and paint sealants can be used and work well. These will last as long on the glass as it does on your paint, so you will need to reapply periodically. But these alternatives are not recommended for windshields since they may cause wipers to skip.
Avoid using paint coatings because they may not adhere properly to glass, and due to this they will not last. Add to that, paint coatings are expensive and it’s counterproductive to use them on glass.
In the end, using wax or paint sealant on glass (except the windshield) is worthwhile since you’ll be better off compared to using nothing. The better visibility, and added safety, is astonishing for a little added effort and the use of an alternative product you may have lying around the garage.