A damaged windshield can put the car driver and passenger in danger. It can allow road dust, dirt, water, insects and other outside agents to enter the car and disturb the occupants. It can also hinder the driver’s vision, which makes accidents more likely to occur as the driver needs a clear view of the surroundings to navigate the traffic safely. Lastly, a chipped or cracked windshield cannot serve as a buffer to protect the occupants in the case of accidents. Therefore, it is imperative to get a windshield repair as soon as the need arises.
How to avoid chips and cracks in the windshield
Keeping a suitable distance from other vehicles. Rocks, stones, mud, dust and other agents are the most common cause to blame for a cracked windshield. This kind of damage is usually caused when the tires of vehicles traveling ahead fling up street debris that hits the windshield. As a result, keeping a distance between the car and other vehicles can certainly reduce the risk of having to have windshield crack repair.
Driving at a moderate speed. Since high speed increases the chances that debris will hit the windshield more forcefully, low car speed will help the windshield last longer.
Driving on well-maintained road only. The impact that the windshield experiences from a bumpy drive can make it more likely for chips and cracks to appear.
Avoid exposing the windshield to sudden temperature variations. Temperature extremes can cause stress crack as well as deteriorate the situation of a cracked or chipped windshield. Therefore, it is ill-advised to defrost a windshield with hot water. Use of a heater in moderate mode is more suitable for the task. Likewise, driving fast after a winter storm is also discouraged.
Checking the windshield regularly. Experienced drivers know that they must repair a windshield chip or crack, regardless of the size, as soon as it occurs because it can spread rapidly over the entire windshield if ignored. Therefore, it is advisable to learn how to fix a cracked windshield.
Kinds of damage of the windshield
Chip: a small piece of glass missing from the windshield.
Bull’s eye: a dark and circular area of damage in the middle of the windshield. A bull’s eye that does not have circular shape is called a half moon.
Edge crack and floater crack: cracks starting near the edge and in the middle of the windshield respectively.
Stress crack: a crack caused when a windshield is subject to a strong and sudden change in temperature.
Long crack: a crack longer than six inches.
Star break: a series of crack radiating from one chip and resembling a star.
Repair or replacement of windscreen?
Depth of damage
How much the damage penetrates the windshield is the key factor which determines whether a repair or a full replacement is the best option. Basically, a windshield is composed of three layers, two layers of glass and a layer of plastic in between. If a chip or crack penetrates all the three layers, a car windshield repair cannot be successfully performed.
Generally speaking, a chip around the size of a coin or a crack no more than three inches in length can be easily repaired. A windshield with larger damage should be replaced although a number of garages with advanced technology are capable of repairing seriously chipped or cracked windshield.
Location of damage
The location plays a crucial role in terms of whether to repair or replace a damaged windshield. A chip or crack at the edge of a windscreen can spread rapidly and compromise the structural integrity of the windshield, which necessitates the installation of a new windshield unless the defect is spotted and repaired quickly.
A windshield with chips or cracks in the driver’s line of sight should be replaced as glass distortion caused by repairs at this location can impair the driver’s view of the surroundings and increase the risks of accidents.
Damage in parts of the windshield that faces sensors such as rain sensors, lane departure warning systems, automatic braking systems, etc. cannot be repaired. As these mechanical components needs a crystal-clear view, glass distortion of any degrees may cause them to malfunction.
Where to repair windshield damage
The work repair can be performed in a shop or by a mobile service in which the technician comes to the vehicle and fixes it on the spot. The latter typically has higher quote.
Cost of repairs
Most car insurance policies cover the cost of windshield repairs so the service can be performed free of charges. However, drivers occasionally decide, or are forced to, pay for the cost out of their pocket rather than claim it from the insurance. The price range for car glass repair in general is known to vary greatly, and it usually takes between $20 and $325 to fix a damaged windshield. The substantial differences are due to several factors, namely the location of the damage, the type of vehicle and the extent of the damage. The damage extent is the deciding factor.
It costs $30 on average to have a chipped or cracked windshield repair. A single chip or crack that is less than a foot in length can cost between $20 and $60 to fix. It will take $50 to $60 to repair a chip or crack up to a foot long and $60 to $70 to repair to repair a chip or crack between one and two feet in length. Meanwhile, the purchase of the necessary tools to perform windshield crack repair DIY typically costs $ 30.
Windshield repair kits
Permatex Windshield 09103 Repair Kit:
Arguably the best windshield repair kit, it is certain to be of great help for drivers who wants both user-friendly products and professional quality repairs. In addition to straightforward instructions, it comes with a newly-redesigned delivery system with the advanced spring-lock feature that promises both convenience and efficiency. No mixing required and the resin cures by natural sunlight. Permatex 09103 kits are able to conduct permanent, airtight repairs on most types of damaged windshield glass. They are effective even against chips as big as 2.75 inches.
The Blue-Star Windshield Repair Kit:
This is a powerful asset for the ordinary driver who wants to perform professional windshield chip repair. Blue Star kits offer a low-cost solution when it comes to fixing windshield and leaving barely visible marks.
Eastup DIY Windshield Repair Kit:
Though the Eastup kit does not guarantee flawless results, its ease of use stands out as an attractive advantage as no professional skills or tools are required to use them. It is also a great windshield chip repair kit that is very effective aganist bulleyes, hairlines and rock chips. An Eastup kit is also an economical choice as it contains up to three seals so a single kit can be used to fix as many as three chips.
RainX Fix a Windshield Repair Kit:
The RainX kit is easy to use and capable of fixing all kinds of all types of damaged windshield glass. Its advanced resin formula allows instant and almost invisible repairs. Suitable for multiple repairs, it can be regarded as an affordable choice.
Versachem 90110 Windshield Repair Kit:
The Versachem 90110 kit should not be overlooked by drivers whose pressing concerns are to prevent chips and cracks from spreading across the whole windshield. Recognized as an excellent windshield crack repair kit by auto glass shop technicians, it provides resin that fills up deep cracks and covers surface damage perfectly. No mixing is required and the resin cures in sunlight.
DIY windshield repair
Clear the place of damage from debris
The first step is to remove debris and pieces of broken glass from the damage area. This preparation step is very important especially when windshield rock chip repair is concerned. It is advisable to tap out rocks or small glass shards from impact points with a thin mental object and handle the shards with a pair of gloves so that they will not cause injuries.
Cleaning and degreasing of the crack and glass surface
The next step is to clean the area around the crack with an alcohol pad. Normally, a small hole would be drilled through the top layer of the windshield glass to make it easier for the repair process, but this is optional. A professional mechanic is usually more fit for this task than a fan of DIY windshield chip repair. After that, the damage area should be cleaned with the alcohol pad again and then dried with a hair dryer. The windshield must be completely clean and dry before the repair can begin.
Filling a defect with a special polymer compound with the help of an applicator
From this step on, the process should not take place in direct sunlight.
First of all, the applicator needs to be set up and loaded with a special polymer compound usually known as the resin. Most repair kits have two types of resin that are specifically designed to fill cracks and to fill chips. Mixing up the resin will compromise the result. A few drops of resin usually satisfy the repair need.
Most repair kits come with suction cups that help the applicator stick to the windshield firmly. These suction cups need to be covered with a layer of lubricant or Vaseline so they can glide across the windshield during the repair process. The next step is to position the suction cups in such a way that the applicator tip is over the the end of the crack/ chip. Then the applicator must be tightened until it attaches to the windshield surface. In the absence of suction cups, holding the applicator by hand is required.
To fix windshield crack, the following step is to apply the resin along the crack by sliding the applicator back and forth over the crack. It is best to start with the first the first 2–3 inches of the crack before proceeding to the rest of the crack. The crack must be sealed once it is filled with resin.
The same approach can be used to fix windshield chip. However, it should be remembered that a bull’s eye tapper is required for this process.
Alignment and drying of the polymer composition
The resin must be covered with curing tape to keep it in place during the curing process. It is imperative to use the specialized curing tape rather than other kinds of wraps or strips since they block UV light essential to curing.
Then, the repaired windshield must be exposed to direct sunlight or an ultraviolet light and left still for 30 to 120 minutes.
Now the resin the resin can be scrapped with a razor blade, leaving the windshield surface smooth. To finalize the repair process, the windshield should be wiped down with a glass cleaner.