If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a crack in your car’s windshield, you’re not alone. Cracked windshields are a common annoyance for drivers and can be a real safety hazard. A cracked windshield can obstruct your view of the road and compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle in case of an accident.
In this article, we’ll look at how to fix a cracked windshield, how much it might cost, and whether you can tackle it yourself. We’ll also explore ways to prevent the crack from spreading and answer some frequently asked questions about windshield repairs.
How to Fix a Cracked Windshield
A cracked windshield doesn’t necessarily mean you must rush to a professional for repairs. In fact, you might be able to fix it, depending on the size and severity of the crack.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
Step 1: Assess the Damage
Before you start any repairs, you need to evaluate the extent of the damage. The size and location of the crack will determine whether it can be fixed with a DIY approach or if you need professional help. Typically, if the crack is smaller than a dollar bill, you can attempt to fix it on your own.
Step 2: Gather Your Materials
You’ll need a few tools and materials for this job, which you can find at an auto parts store or online. These include:
Windshield Repair Kit
This is the heart of your repair project. Windshield repair kits are readily available at auto parts stores and online retailers. They usually contain:
Resin: The resin is a specialized adhesive that fills the crack and bonds the glass back together.
Applicator: The applicator is a tool used to inject the epoxy resin into the crack and create pressure for a proper seal.
This DIY kit often has detailed instructions, so follow them closely for the best results.
Safety Gloves and Glasses
Your safety is a top priority during any repair work. Safety gloves will protect your hands from potential injury, and safety glasses will shield your eyes from accidental splashes of resin or broken glass.
Razor Blade or Sharp Utility Knife
This tool cleans and prepares the damaged area before applying the resin. It’s crucial to remove any loose glass shards and ensure a clean surface for the repair.
Clean, Dry Cloth or Paper Towels
Keeping the area clean and dry is crucial for the repair’s success. You’ll use these materials to wipe down the windshield, remove debris, and help clean up after the resin has cured.
In addition to these materials, it’s a good idea to work in a well-ventilated area and to follow any safety guidelines provided with your repair kit.
Proper preparation and attention to detail will significantly increase the chances of a successful windshield repair.
Step 3: Clean the Area
Use a razor blade or utility knife to clean the cracked area. Make sure to remove any loose glass shards, dirt, or debris. Cleaning the surface thoroughly ensures a better bond when you apply the resin.
Step 4: Apply the Resin
Follow the instructions provided in your windshield repair kit for applying the resin. Usually, this involves attaching the applicator to the crack and filling it with resin. You may need to use a plunger or other tools provided to force the resin into the crack.
Step 5: Let the Resin Cure
The curing time can vary, so consult the instructions in your kit. Typically, the resin might take around 30 minutes to an hour to cure completely. Keep your vehicle out of direct sunlight, as direct heat can affect the curing process.
Step 6: Scrape Off Excess Resin
After the resin has cured, use a razor blade or the edge of a credit card to carefully scrape off any excess resin. Be gentle to avoid scratching the glass. You can also apply some glass cleaner to make the process smoother.
Step 7: Polish the Windshield
Once the excess resin is removed, use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to polish the windshield. This will help make the repaired area more transparent and blend in with the rest of the glass.
How Much to Fix a Cracked Windshield
The cost of fixing a cracked windshield can vary widely depending on several factors:
Size and Severity of the Crack: Smaller cracks are generally less expensive to repair than larger, more severe ones.
Repair or Replacement: If the crack is extensive or has compromised the windshield’s integrity, it may need an entire windshield replacement, which is more costly than a repair.
Type of Vehicle: The make and model of your vehicle can also influence the cost. Luxury and high-end vehicles may have pricier windshields due to specialized features.
Insurance Coverage: Some insurance policies cover chip repair, significantly reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
On average, a windshield repair can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, while a full replacement can range from $100 to $400 or more, depending on the abovementioned factors. It’s important to consult your insurance provider to see if your policy covers windshield replacement or repairs, as this can save you money.
Can I Fix a Crack in My Windshield Myself?
As mentioned, if the crack is smaller than a dollar bill and doesn’t obstruct your line of sight, you can attempt a DIY repair. The process is relatively simple and cost-effective.
However, it’s crucial to recognize the limits of a DIY repair and understand when seeking professional help is the safer and wiser choice. Here are some scenarios where professional assistance becomes a necessity:
Extensive Cracks: If the crack is long or looks like a spiderweb on your windshield, DIY won’t work. Fixing big damage yourself can be unsafe and ineffective.
Line of Sight Blockage: Your safety on the road is crucial. Even small cracks that block your view are risky. In such cases, you must go pro for repair or replacement.
Edge Cracks: Cracks near the windshield’s edges, close to the frame, are tricky for DIY. They affect your windshield’s strength. It’s safer to let experts handle these repairs.
Protecting Structural Integrity: Your windshield is vital for your car’s safety. Damage that harms its strength needs professional attention to keep your safety features intact.
Insurance Benefits: If your insurance covers a windshield replacement or repair, use it. Professional repairs often come with guarantees, ensuring top-notch work.
In these situations, choosing a pro isn’t just a convenience; it’s essential for your safety and your car’s well-being. Always prioritize safety when it comes to your windshield.
How Do I Stop My Windshield Crack from Spreading?
If you have a crack in your windshield and are waiting for repairs or replacement, you can take some precautions to prevent the crack from spreading:
Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Sudden temperature changes, such as blasting the defroster on a cold morning or using hot water to de-ice the windshield, can cause the crack to expand.
Drive Cautiously: Potholes, speed bumps, and rough roads can worsen the crack. Drive carefully to minimize vibrations and impacts.
Keep the Windshield Clean: Dirt and debris can further damage the crack, so regularly clean your windshield.
Apply a Temporary Fix: Some auto parts stores offer temporary windshield repair kits with clear adhesive film. While this won’t be a permanent solution, it can help prevent the crack from spreading until you can get professional repairs.
Can I use super glue to fix a windshield crack?
While it may seem like a quick fix, using super glue on your windshield is not recommended. The adhesive is not designed for glass and won’t provide a proper, long-lasting repair. It’s best to use a windshield repair kit designed specifically for this purpose.
Will my insurance cover the cost of windshield repair?
Many auto insurance policies do cover a windshield repair. Contact your insurance provider to find out if your policy includes this coverage. In some cases, your insurer may even cover the entire repair cost, making it a cost-effective solution.
How long does a professionally repaired windshield last?
A professionally repaired windshield can last for the life of the original glass if done correctly. However, the longevity of the repair depends on the size and location of the crack and the quality of the repair work. Regular maintenance and care can also extend the life of the repair.
Can I drive with a cracked windshield legally?
Laws regarding cracked windshields vary by location, so checking your local regulations is essential. In many places, you can drive with a cracked windshield as long as it doesn’t obstruct your view, especially in the driver’s line of sight. However, getting it repaired as soon as possible is always safer to prevent further damage and ensure your safety.
A cracked or chipped windshield is a common issue, but it should be taken seriously. Depending on the size and location of the crack, you may be able to fix it yourself using a windshield repair kit. However, for larger or more severe cracks or those that obstruct your view, it’s best to seek professional assistance from businesses like Auto Glass & Window Tint of Oceanside. Remember that safety should always come first, and maintaining a clear, undamaged windshield is essential for safe and comfortable driving.