Racing Optics Windshield Tear-Away Review

Rogue Toad

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Introduction:

Since Wranglers are notorious for windshield chips and cracks due to their upright nature, I installed some windshield protection tear-away film made by Racing Optics. The kit costs $199 and provides 3 layers of tear-aways that are supposed to protect the windshield from rocks and the like. This is similar to the technology used by NASCAR, etc. though is meant more for breakage protection rather than a quick removal for optical clarity.

If you'd like to know more about the kit this is their website: https://www.racingoptics.com/ro-jeep/

The steps for installation are as follows (along with my tips / comments):
1. Clean all dust & debris from the front end of the vehicle and windshield. Do this inside the garage and make sure all windows, doors, and sources of dust are eliminated as best as possible. Comment: Prep is everything! Make sure everything is spotless. I have a couple minor dirt motes between the film and the windshield which probably came off my arm from mowing the grass earlier. Triple check everything.
2. Remove the installation tools from the Racing Optics kit box and prepare for the installation. Comment: the kit includes the film, a squeegee, and a bottle of installation solution.
3. Install and date the Racing Optics sticker to the windshield. Comment: I didn't do this. I see no need for a sticker.
4. Apply installation solution to the hood of the Jeep and place the film on the hood. Make sure the film is liner side up. Comment: there will be a sticker on the film which shows which side is the liner. This will also help you remove the film.
5. Re-Apply the solution to the windshield making sure to leave no dry spots on the windshield. Use the provided squeegee to remove the water that was just applied, cleaning the windshield. Comment: Seems optional to me since the windshield should have been cleaned in the prep phase, but I did it anyway - this may also clean off any chemicals depending on what cleaner you used.
6. Re-apply the solution to the windshield making sure to leave no dry spots. Comment: Use plenty of solution. There is no real downside to too much, but any dry spots are going to be a problem.
7. Remove the liner from the film (liner will be marked with a sticker) and then spray the installation solution on the film's adhesive. Make sure there are no dry spots. Comment: again, use plenty. The kit comes with more than enough solution, so be generous.
8. With a friend, take the film from the hood of the jeep and lay on the windshield. There should be approximately a 1/4-1/2 inch gap all the way around. Comment: a friend is going to be a big help here not only to get everything lifted and aligned properly, but to also help hold the film in place during the next steps.
9. Take the squeegee and make a single pass down the center of the windshield from top to bottom. This will keep the film in place on the windshield. Comment: it will "help" keep it on the windshield, but again a friend is a help when you go to the next step. Use a firm pressure and focus on removing all solution and air bubbles.
10. Make several passes with the squeegee as seen in the video to remove all of the water in-between the film and the glass. Comment: again, a friend is helpful to hold one side while you make horizontal passes on the other side. Work from a horizontal center line outward to the top and bottom, working the solution out. The video on their site is very helpful and should be reviewed first so you understand what to do. When you get most of the solution out, wrap a paper towel around the end of the squeegee to absorb the final bits of solution coming out to dry the edges.
11. The film will now need between 3-7 days to fully cure depending on your temperature and humidity, and you should avoid car washes until then. You can drive it after an hour or two. Comment: I made sure to do the install when no rain was in the forecast for the next couple of days just to be safe.


My further tips:

1. Prep, prep, prep, then clean and prep again. You'll get the best result.​
2. Use plenty of installation solution on every step.​
3. Use plenty of pressure when squeegeeing and always work from the center outward. Don't leave any solution or bubbles behind.​
4. If you get an edge that isn't sticking, try peeling it up slightly, spraying more solution, the working it back down again.​


Now what you've all been waiting for, the pics (followed by my closing review and comments):

Outside of windshield after installation:
xFvNdYr.jpg



Corner of windshield showing where you tear away layers:
C06rpXh.jpg



Optical clarity from inside the vehicle. If you look VERY closely you can see a couple of "hazy" spots. Those are the dust/dirt motes. Not really an issue and I don't notice them in everyday use.
CbMxPYm.jpg



Area at the bottom center of windshield that I just couldn't get to adhere. I cut with a razor blade to see if it would help, but no go. This seems to have progressed slightly in the month since the install, but isn't in my field of view so not an issue for me (yet).
digT3Ey.jpg





Final Thoughts:

While I've yet to get struck with any large rocks that would otherwise cause a chip or crack, I do feel pretty confident that this will be a marked improvement over the stock glass. I've had it on a month and have been very happy with the clarity (it was slightly hazy the first couple of days but cleared up as it cured). I have no issues with wipers or scratches from road debris yet. Each layer is supposed to be "good" for 6 months, but I assume that has nothing to do with protection, and is only to restore clarity when the outermost layer gets scratched.

If I had to this over again, I'd be even more careful with prep. I would also like to figure out how to ensure I don't have any small de-laminated areas like that one in the center of my windshield. It costs more than my glass deductible, but I weigh that against the hassle of getting a windshield replaced - which inevitably happens when I'm half way across the country on a road trip.

I did have a problem with my shipment as well as a couple of questions, but each time I contacted Racing Optics I got a reply within an hour or so and they've bent over backward to help me out. Their customer service has been excellent.


EDIT: I just noticed upon review of their site that there isn't a link to buy the Jeep kit directly like there was for me... Not sure what is going on there.
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SleeplessJeep

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OH MY GOD I can’t believe this actually exists. I’ve been thinking for weeks “man it’s be great if there were windshield tear offs like my old motocross racing goggles had”.

I knew it was a great idea but didn’t even for a moment fathom it was a real, already existing thing. Problem for me is I need about 5x that many layers and cheaper to make it work for the reason I wanted it (daggum bugs here in Texas).

That being said, I do already have a chip in my JL that I’ve barely even 1k miles on at this point. Ugghh

Anyway thanks for the write up and photos.
 

pangmaster

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Thanks for this. I just replaced my windshield in June and already got tagged by another rock and have a nice top to bottom crack. So I'm considering gorilla glass, but this would also be an option.
 
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Rogue Toad

Rogue Toad

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I knew it was a great idea but didn’t even for a moment fathom it was a real, already existing thing. Problem for me is I need about 5x that many layers and cheaper to make it work for the reason I wanted it (daggum bugs here in Texas).

That being said, I do already have a chip in my JL that I’ve barely even 1k miles on at this point. Ugghh
I would swear that when I was researching this, I did see something like you are talking about - tear aways just for bugs and what not. But for the life of me I can't remember where.


Thanks for this. I just replaced my windshield in June and already got tagged by another rock and have a nice top to bottom crack. So I'm considering gorilla glass, but this would also be an option.
I thought about Gorilla glass but at the time I ordered it seemed GG was delaying builds, so I didn't go that route. Had I though, I think I might have still gotten the film. The wrangler glass is just so upright I'm not sure even GG is going to be enough. I'm eager to see what people think after it's been in the field for awhile.



Dude, I can't install a screen protector on my phone without dust getting caught under it during installation.

Props to taking this on!
It was actually pretty easy. As long as you have a stepladder and a friend and take your time there isn't much to it.

As for the dust, I prepped and prepped and prepped and couldn't figure out where any dust had come from. When I went back in the house I realized I still had small debris on my arms from mowing the grass. Figures. lol
 

DaddyEngineer

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I’m with Wranglerbro, it takes me two screensavers every time I add one to my iPhone 7, and even then the second always ends up with at least one dust mote. So the only way I could see this for me is if they got windshield or tint shops to install it.

But, while I know it should be rare, most of my major cracks were because I got a large rock right at the edge of the glass. 2 of 3 JK replacements and my first (and, knock on wood only so far) JL were from that scenario. But in spite of that, when my free windshield coverage ends, I plan on this, even if I have to install it myself. So thanks for this review.

Scott
 

Zacreth

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I had this on my Lexus. I was testing it for the heat in AZ and how long each layer would last but I had a 2 layer racing version.
Needless to say it's one of the best ones. It does get hazy but that was around the 3-4 months mark. The second layer was clear and I was thinking of becoming am installer in AZ but then Covid happened.

As for impacts, AZ is rock country for highways is all I have to say. I took a direct hit from a large rock and it made a light impact mark on the plastic but the windshield survived and it helped having it on the car.
 

moodywizard

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Nice, still have the giant crack on passenger side. Waiting for another hit on the driver side to push me into replacement. Will keep this bookmarked for the future!
 
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