Windshield - filmy inside

Whenever I drive at nite or on rainy days, the windshield on my 98 Camry won’t clear and/or stay clear. I have more luck defrosting w/the A/C that auto. goes on, but it takes a while and then it fogs up again. (I get plenty of heat and cold air coming in) I’ve wiped it with various different cloth/windex-type combos, but still seems like it has a film. This has continued to happen since I got new windshield (replaced due to crack). If the A/C chemicals leave film on the window, why doesn’t this happen to all the cars here in SoCal? It’s feeling unsafe to drive at night. Please help!

“The AC chemicals” are contained in the AC system. I think you have a heater core leak, actually. Do you ever notice coolant disappearing?

This is a common situation that is typically caused by the owner leaving the fresh air switch in the Recirc position. Turn it to admit outside air and your problems will be solved.

If the film is accompanied by a strong, sour smell, you could have a small leak in the heater core. However, I agree that you need fresh air coming in to take the humidity out. The recirc. setting. is for quick cooling or heating only. In the past I was in Saudi Arabia visiting an oil company; my driver had a rear drive Buick, Le Sabre I believe. It was one of the very few days it rained (first time that year) and th windshield fogged up. The driver kept wiping it until I reached over and put “defrost” on with full fan. The windshield cleared up instantly; the only time I was ever called a miracle worker.

do you smell anything?

the clouded windows indicate a leaking heater core.


you normally equalize the difference between inside and outside humidity yourself.

your car may need more help to do this. the aforementioned recirc switch is really important.

Thanks, all, for the advice. I do use the fresh, not recirc, option. I don’t smell anything, and my nose is very sensitive. I don’t know if was losing coolant, as I just had radiator replaced, because of crack in one of the rad tanks. The rad overflow kept getting really low and I was adding water, till got the rad. Don’t know what else to try.

Watch the coolant level and crack the windows to add more air circulation A/C along with the heater may help.

I had the exact same problem with the new windshield in my Saturn. I had two windshields replaced this summer, one in my Saturn and one in my truck. This did not happen with the truck, but the Saturn was real bad about it. I tried to rain-x the inside of the windshield and that didn’t even help. I finally just went at it with window cleaner and paper towels until I got the film off. I stall have traces around the edges and under the mirror and an occasional light spot here and there, but the drivers field of vision is now clear and I’ll get the rest later. Cleaning the inside of a windshield is tough on us older guys, especially the really slanted ones.

If you really want to get the film off, look for the microfiber window towels that they sell at your favorite parts stores. They will cut the film easily with no added chemicals. I used them on a car that I purchased whose owners were heavy smokers, worked great. If your heater core is bad, the film is just going to come back, however.

I read the other posts. See if you can close off the dash vents. Some of them may have a control right on them.

First, get the windows clean. Nothing and I mean nothing works better than crumpled up newspaper with your favorite glass cleaner. Use one sheet to apply and work the cleaner around the window and another to dry it, especially if the film is heavy. Try it and you’ll be amazed at how good it works. No colored print, just the black and white newsprint. And you can’t beat the price!

Once you have all the oils off the window, watch how long it takes to accumulate. It’s normal to have body oils, plastic ougassing etc leave a film over the course of a month or two. If it appears before then and there is no environmental reason for it, you may have to look at slow leaks in your heater core as one example.

You mean the vents pointing toward me, or up to the windshield? Not sure why I would do this.

Not the ones toward the windshield. The ones pointing toward you. You might be losing airflow to the windshield if you leave them open. I don’t know how your car is set up. The Yaris (a Toyota car) allows air to go through the dash vents while defrosting. You would do this because you are desperately trying to find a solution. At least I believe that from what you posted.

The microfiber towels didn’t work on the film that was on my new windshield. The towels stuck to the windshield like it had an adhesive on it. Only paper towels, windshield cleaner (NOT window cleaner) and a lot of rubbing worked. Once I got it off, then the microfiber towel worked for the final cleaning. Finished off with Rain-X on the outside.

I got my answer…anyone who thought it might be the heater core was right!!! Ta Da…I finally discovered a new symptom that clinched it. There was something leaking and collecting under my floor mat on driver’s side. Thanks for all the advice.