A tiny dent or a surface scratch on a car’s windshield is not a pleasing sight for many car owners. But on the other hand, there are some people who don’t pay attention to their car even if it has a cracked windshield.
Windscreen cracks are inevitable, and this is because it gets hit by multiple objects when you’re driving on the highway. When you’re driving at a high speed, a tiny rock that comes in contact with your windshield can cause a ding or a crack since your car is moving fast. All that kinetic energy is transferred from the rock to your windshield. So, the level of the damage will depend on the speed and size of the projectile.
But regardless of this, you’ll have to get to fixed to avoid further issues which may cost you a lot of money. And most importantly, windshield ensures your safety.
Repairing your cracked windshield the correct way using a repair kit
The most economical but effective way of getting your cracked windshield repaired is by using a windshield repair kit. Do keep in mind that these kits are not intended for larger cracks or chips. If you’re not comfortable performing a repair job by yourself, always seek a professional.
Also, do not attempt a windshield repair if you don’t have any experience. A DIY repair kit must be used only as a temporary fix, and only if you don’t have access to a quality glass shop. It will never deliver a result that is as good as a professional’s. You may end up causing more damage instead of having it fixed.
Follow these steps to fix minor damage on your windshield.
Before you start with the repairs, check the insurance or contracts that involve car repairs. The total amount of repair or replacement cost varies significantly from region to region, the type of insurance, and the type of windshield in your car. It would be best to pay a visit to a glass shop if you find that your car’s insurance or repair contract is still valid.
If that’s not the case, proceed with the following instructions.
First of all, make sure that the chip or crack is not so severe that it is beyond repair. You can make use of a magnifying glass to inspect the damage. If you’re confident that a DIY kit can fix it, go ahead.
You will need –
- A windshield repair kit. You can buy online or at the local stores that deal with automotive parts. A bridge-style repair kit that comes with suction cups is best.
- Glass cleaner
- Paper towels
- Razor blade
The procedures involved in fixing the windshield using a repair kit may slightly differ from one product to another, but the principle is same regardless of the product.
If you’re not sure how to begin, refer to the instructions, it will give you a head start.
1. Have the damaged area cleaned thoroughly.
Clean up the damaged area using a glass cleaner, and allow it to dry for a few minutes.
Now, take the razor blade and take out any loose pieces of glass particles that may be stuck in the chip. Once you’re done with this step, use the glass cleaner and clean the area one more time and let it dry.
Take the suction cups and place them on your windshield in such a way that the threaded center is positioned right over the damaged area. You can also make adjustments using the arms, so if you’re off the center, don’t worry.
If your kit is different, take your time to read the instructions and become familiar with it. Some models use a syringe to pump the resin into the chip, while some use a threaded barrel.
Regardless of the model, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how it’s used. It’s also a good idea to add lubricants to the suction cups so that you can glide the tool across the windshield if you have to.
With the suction cup tool in place, you’ll now have to prepare the barrel or syringe to load the resin. No special tools are required to do this; just use your hands to insert or thread in the repair tube.
Once you’ve placed the repair tube, make sure that the tools are aligned correctly. To ensure this, take a good look at it from the inside of the car. If the tip of the syringe or rubber tube is misaligned, have it corrected.
2. Fill the applicator with resin.
There are different types of resins that are designed to fill cracks and chips in cars’ windshields. In other words, the resin used for repairing cracks differs from the resins used to fill chips. Most repair kits usually include both types of resins, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
Add a couple of drops of resin into the chip depending on its size. Typically 3 to 4 drops work excellent.
Next, insert the plunger in place firmly (for best results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully). This will push the resin into the vacuum created by the damage. After tightening the plunger, loosen it and tighten it again after a few seconds.
Repeat this process at least three times. This is done to remove the air bubbles. The same principle is applied even in the case of a syringe applicator. Again, you should follow the instructions if you want to get the best results.
Wait for a few minutes to allow the resin to penetrate all parts of the damaged area, and remove the suction cup tool carefully.
3. Final touches.
Apply the curing tape or finishing with the film. Use the tape to stick the film onto the windshield so that it won’t slide around.
Now, take the razor blade and press the film firmly to let the resins spread towards the edges of the film. Let it dry for at least an hour.
After removing the film, if you find that the resin is still wet, you can add a few more drops and apply another finishing film.
Why should you not ignore the cracks or chips on your car’s windshield?
You are putting yourself at great risk if you’re driving around with a large crack on your car’s windshield. There is no doubt that windshields are tough. But it doesn’t mean that it is indestructible, even a very small crack can compromise its structural integrity.
And since it is often exposed to harsh elements including debris, the sun’s UV rays and cleaning solutions which usually contain harmful chemicals, etc. even a tiny little crack will allow moisture and dirt to seep into the gap. This will eventually cause the glass to develop more considerable crack overtime.
Another disadvantage of driving a car with a cracked windshield is that the visibility of the road during the night becomes very low, which compromises your safety.
It is a good practice to always keep your windshield clean and free from any sort of damage to ensure your safety as well as the other people on the road. The longer you wait the more damage your windshield will suffer. And you may have to opt for a replacement, which is not very cheap.
On top of all that, in some countries, it is illegal to drive around with a cracked windshield. You may be heavily fined if the authority catches you. In the case of an unfortunate accident, your cracked windshield may fail to find favor in the eyes of the authorities, even if it wasn’t your fault.
Windshield Repair or replacement – which is a better option?
There are several factors that should tell you whether you should have your windshield repaired or replaced. Before we talk about those factors, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of windshield damages.
The two major forms of windshield damage are ‘cracks’ and’ ‘chips.’ Cracks usually appear in a straight line that runs vertically or horizontally along the glass. On the other hand, chips leave a crater-like mark on the windshield.
While most windshield chips and cracks can be repaired, it must be mentioned that a replacement is the best option if you can spare the budget.
Below are the factors which will determine whether your windshield can be repaired or not.
1. The severity of the damage.
Did you know that the car’s windshield provides over 50 percent of structural strength in case of a rollover? That should pretty much explain why it is crucial to keep the windshield intact.
Most modern car’s windshield is made up of three layers. So you can be sure that the windshield’s structural strength has been compromised if the crack or dent has affected more than one layer. This means, even if the third layer is intact, you probably have to seek a replacement.
Also, it is not possible to repair such severe types of damages.
2. Location of the damage.
You should not attempt a windshield repair if the chip or crack is at the driver’s line of sight or right in front of the driver. In this case, the repairs may not be able to offer a crystal clear view, or in other words, it may distort the view, which can be dangerous especially in the night.
You also have to consider the location of the sensors. If the damage is distorting the view of the sensors, it may cause them to malfunction. And just so you know, it can be very dangerous.
3. Size of the damage.
The advancement of technology has enabled the repair companies to fix larger chips and cracks. But not every repair company has the latest technology. And so the ability to repair or fix larger sized damages may vary from company to company. However, most repair companies have the ability to fix quarter-sized chips, and three-inch-long cracks.
When to seek a windshield replacement.
If your car’s windshield does not meet the above factors, you should consider a replacement. It is also worth noting that it’s best to let a professional inspect your car.
An auto glass should be replaced if:
- The crack is at least 4 inches long
- The glass is not laminated (tempered glass cannot be repaired)
- The depth of the chip is halfway into the glass
- The crack or chip has affected the outside edge of the glass
See more in A simple guide to windshield replacement
What not to do with your windshield.
Do not make the mistake of falling for the numerous hacks or internet myths regarding how to fix a cracked windshield. You may find a lot of those DIY projects very appealing, but in reality, it does not work. Although some of them may work temporarily, it’s not going to fix your problem in the long run.
For instance, many people try applying super glue or nail polish in an attempt to fix the cracks on the windshield. These substances are not intended for holding up aFor instance, many people try applying super glue or nail polish in an attempt to fix the cracks on the windshield. These substances are not intended for holding up a windshield and no car manufacturer recommends using such chemicals. It can actually make the repair even more difficult, which may eventually cause you to replace the windshield.
Where should you go for windshield repairs?
If you just noticed a crack or a chip on your windshield, the best thing you can do is to let a professional do the repairs. The technicians at our company will give you the best options after inspecting the condition of your auto glass. The problem with the DIY repair kit is that, it involves a lot of complicated procedures, and its results are not always satisfactory.
A lot of people think that repairing minor damages on the windshield is cost-efficient, but it is not true. The best repair kits are pretty costly. And there is always a risk involved because you’ll have to execute each and every step with precision, which can be really hard.
The teams at the autoglass.ca professionals will ensure that your windshield will be repaired by using the most advanced equipment. And you can also be sure that the repair cost will be very reasonable.