How many windows does your car have? It sounds like a stupid question, right? But you are probably not sure. The average car has eight individual windows, including the front and rear windshields and side windows. Although these windows may not have many moving parts (note: power window malfunctions rank near the top of common auto repair needs), your windows need maintenance just like every other part of your car.

These 3 window maintenance tips will help you keep in the clear this summer:

Tip # 1: Ditch the Household Cleaners

Many consumers believe that all glass cleaners are designed to clean all types of glass. This assumption certainly is not true for auto glass cleaners.

Ammonia, the main ingredient of most glass cleaners, should never come near your car's windows. Not only can the fumes be noxious, creating potential respiratory dangers in a hot cramped car, but ammonia can dry out the plastic seals that keep your windows firmly in place. Additionally, applying ammonia-based cleaners to tinted windows can cause severe cracking, peeling, and "purpling". It can also nullify any potential factory warranties protecting your window tinting.

Possibly the best, and certainly the cheapest, car window cleaning solution is purified or distilled water. Spraying a few squirts of mineral-free water on your windows will keep your windows streak-free and clear. The key to preventing streaks from forming is to make sure that you wipe up the water in the same direction and make sure that all water is wiped up before it has the chance to dry on the window.

Tip # 2: Go Micro

Car windows can get a lot of wear and tear. This creates a dilemma, not only do you need to remove the accumulated detritus on your windows, but you must do so gently enough to avoid scratching or scuffing them in the process.

  • Paper towels: With more automakers making the switch from tempered glass to laminated safety glass, it's important remember that keeping your windows clean can take a toll on your windows. To avoid scratches and scuffing you should use fabric-based towels over their more often used paper brethren.

  • Micro Fiber: Your best drying and wiping solution is using two micro fiber towels. One towel should be used for scrubbing and mopping up the washing concoction you apply to your windows. This towel should be relatively large, thick, and feature more pronounced ridges. Once you've scrubbed your windows and mopped up any excess fluid on the windows, you should use a second micro fiber towel to finish the job. This towel can be thinner, smaller, and feature less pronounced ridges.

Tip # 3: Spritz Up Your Wiper Fluid

Summer driving can blot out the otherwise clear view you see through your windshield. Torrential down pours, dust storms, hail, and swarms of bugs can coat your windshield with gunk that can overwhelm your windshield wipers.

  • Wiper fluid: Although wiper fluid might seem pretty low tech, the blue concoction you glug into your wiper fluid reserve may boast many claims: anti-freezing, de-icing, bug-removing, ect. Many of these claims, however, might be little more than marketing gimmicks.
  • Wiper Fluid 2.0: You can create a better wiper fluid with a simple spritzing of household products stored in your workshop or kitchen cupboard. Begin with the least expensive wiper fluid (1 gallon) you can find at your local auto shop. Pour half the wiper fluid into a reserve container. Next, add ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent to the container. Last, shake up the concoction (it will foam considerably) and pour it into your wiper fluid reserve. This spritz is an economic solution that delivers on the promises often advertised by manufacturers.

Summer driving is all about road trips and fun; these tips can help you see more clearly through your car's many windows while you're enjoying the journey. For more information, look for professionals at sites like