Rear Window Screens- Cheap Insurance
Protecting a rear vehicle window from breaking when venturing off-road with a trailer or caravan has been a head scratching exercise for many folk over the years. There are lots of commercial (usually very expensive) solutions which are designed to be attached to the trailer or under-carriage of the vehicle however, despite the protection they afford, it is not uncommon for a rock to bounce up and break a window.
For this reason you will often see travelers taping everything for old bits of cor-flute to beer cartons over their rear windows in an effort to complete their trip unscathed.
Now while these solutions may be effective they aren’t the most most elegant which is why Plasweld Plastics has developed a range of rear window protectors that are strong, re-usable and easy to install and remove.
It has taken us many years and countless attempts to develop this product into a convenient and affordable solution that can be included in the safety kit of any off road tow vehicle however, we appreciate that there will be some dyed in the wool DIYers out there who will insist on having a go themselves so, here are a few tips that you might find useful.
- Firstly, the best material to use is polycarbonate. Polycarbonate, which is available under many brand names (Lexan being the most widely known) is clear, flexible, UV stable and extremely strong. Its only drawback is that it is a little more prone to scratching than acrylic however, with a common sense and care it will offer many years of service.
- The next best material is clear acrylic. Again, acrylic comes in many forms and brands, the best known being Perspex. It is a very resilient plastic however it does not have the strength or flexibility of polycarbonate. It is possible that that a rear window protector made from acrylic will save a window from breaking however the acrylic may crack in the process.
- Polycarbonate and acrylic can be purchased in full sheets or by the square metre cut to size. Both the plastics mentioned here can be cut to size and shape with a jig saw or band saw.
- Once you have chosen your material and cut it to shape you will need to decide how to attach it to your window. The simplest way of course is to tape it however taping makes it hard to take on an off and the tape can often be affected by rain and dust. It may also leave marks on the paint work depending on how long it remains in place. Some people use hook and loop fasteners like Velcro. The down side to hook and loop is that one part needs to be permanently attached to the vehicle (not desirable to many) and it has a habit of getting clogged with dirt and mud which affects its ability to stick. We use a good quality suction cups which means that the rear window protector can be quickly attached and removed as needed without having to have any permanent fixtures on the vehicle. Good quality suction cups applied to a clean window have an amazing ability to hang on. And, because we have so many points of contact, even if one or two became unstuck, it is very unlikely that all would come unstuck at the same time. We have never had a customer tell us that they have lost the product as a result of suckers coming unstuck. We have these suction cups for sale if required.
- The way these rear window savers work is that they create and impact zone which absorbs and spreads the shock of impact. It is therefore important that there is a gap between the material and the window. In other words, the material needs to sit off the glass by 10 to 15mm. If you use suction cups you will naturally end up with a gap of about 15mm however you may also need some intermediate bumpers to ensure the gap is maintained. This is because most rear windows are curved left to right and top to bottom. Clear silicon self adhesive bumpers can be purchased from most hardware shops. We use a silicon bumper which attaches with a small stainless steel screw and nyloc nut so that it can never fall off.
If all goes to plan you should end up with a clears screen which is easily attached and follows the curvature of the window. It should sit off about 15mm. You may have to make cut outs to accommodate rear window wipers etc.
All the materials you need for the job can be purchased from Plasweld and, typically, by doing it your self you could expect to save around $70 to $80 depending on materials used) over the cost of buying one ready made from us.
Remember that no matter what stone protection you choose to use there is no guarantee that a large rock or other heavy impact wont still cause damage. At best these rear window protectors add another line of defense which should help to lower the risk of breaking a window. As always it is wise to take care on gravel roads and adjust your driving to suit the prevailing conditions.
You can read more about our Rear Window Savers here .
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