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Tools & Steps To Fix Your Chipped Windshield

The moment a rock comes flying at your windshield is agonizing, but in many cases a chip or crack can be fixed. Sometimes it can even be fixed as a small DIY project in your home garage.

Below is a breakdown of how to repair a cracked windshield, and when a full replacement is needed.

Can a Cracked Windshield be Repaired?

In some cases, yes. But, the answer to this question depends entirely on the severity of the damage, and a few other aspects. Some cracks can be fixed, but for others, replacing the whole windshield may be the only option.

Small debris is the cause of most windshield damage, but these small pieces can often leave significant damage. The worst part is- depending on the type of crack you have- the damage tends to spread. What you’re eventually left with is a line through your entire windshield, or even entire spider web of cracks.

In order to prevent this, you have to repair your windshield quickly, before you end up having to replace it entirely. Unfortunately, not every crack can be repaired.


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To determine if a repair is possible, inspect with these questions in mind:

  • What does the damage look like?
  • How deep is the damage?
  • How long has it been there?
  • Where is it located?

What does the damage look like?

If the damage is small and circular, it is most likely an easy repair, even if there are one or two fracture lines spreading from the center.

As a general rule, damage that is smaller than a quarter can be repaired. Cracks up to three inches can generally be repaired as well, but more than likely this will have to be taken care of at a professional auto body shop.

How deep is the damage?

If the debris that cracked your windshield went deep enough- to the second layer of glass or to the safety glass in the inner layer of your windshield- you’ll likely have to replace your entire windshield.

How long has the damage been there?

While it’s likely that the longer you wait to repair a windshield the more likely the damage is to expand, creating broken streaks across your field of vision, it’s not the only reason for asking.

The longer the damage sits, the more debris it collects. This will then need to be cleaned out before a resin can be applied. Otherwise, it will cause the resin to be discolored.

Where is the damage?

Generally, if the damage extends to the outer of the edges, you’ll need to replace the entire windshield. This is because the seal between the glass and the vehicle’s frame could be compromised.

Any crack that enters a driver’s field of vision is not recommended for resin repair due to safety reasons, deeming a need to completely replace the windshield.

Asking these questions is the first step to repairing the damage. If you’ve taken a look at your windshield and have cleared it for easy repair, then follow the steps below for a rundown on how to fix a cracked windshield DIY.

How to Fix a Chipped Windshield

If you have the right tools, and at least some experience working on cars, then it's likely you can repair your windshield in your own garage.  

Windshield repair tools and supplies

Having the proper tools for the job is essential. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Windshield repair kits - These kits are an all-in-one option that often include a suction device to remove the air from the gap, a resin, applicator, and a clear coat or sealant. This is the absolute minimum that you need to do a repair.
  • Resins - With resin, you have the option of choosing either a low or high viscosity resin. What you choose will be dependent on the type of damage your windshield has, climate your in, and tint of windshield. A longer crack will need a higher viscosity, whereas a small chip or a quarter sized starburst crack will only need a lower viscosity resin.
  • UV curing lights - UV curing lights are used to dry out the chemicals and resin used in the repair. Generally, this is only used by professional body shops, but can come in handy in a home shop. Important to note is that larger impacts/ cracks will need a voltage of up to 15 watts, whereas smaller damage will be require a lower amount of power.
  • Pre-treatment chemicals - These chemicals remove moisture and prepare the damage for the resins, so that they can better adhere to the surface.


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Other tools and pieces that might come in handy, and would improve the overall quality of the repair, include:

  • Mouldings
  • Clips
  • Rivets
  • Seals
  • Cowling end replacements
  • Cleaning brush
  • Glass removal tool
  • Fractional tape measure
  • Glass setting stick

Now that you’ve gathered at least the minimum tools necessary to get the job done, it’s time to move on to the actual repair.

Steps to repairing a cracked windshield

Before you start, be aware that doing this repair on your own requires at least a minimal knowledge of cars, and is best done with some experience in windshield repair.

Regardless of your level of experience, know that windshield repair can vary depending on different factors, so this isn’t an exhaustive repair process. If you’re not sure about fixing the windshield on your own, a professional should always be consulted.  

  • Step 1 – Park your car somewhere out of sun and heat so that resins and any liquids you use on the surface won’t dry prematurely.
  • Step 2 – Prepare the affected area by scraping a razor blade over the damage to remove loose particles such as glass and dirt. If necessary, use the corner of the blade to dig out harder to reach pieces. Do this until the area is clear of debris and unwanted loose pieces.
  • Step 3 - Your windshield repair kit should include suction cups and a mount. Place the mount directly centered over the impact point. Make sure the suction cups are firmly in place on the glass.
  • Step 4 – Screw in your resin tool. This is typically a white tube, which should be placed directly over the damaged area. The rubber area around the edge of the tube should completely encircle the damaged area. You can check this by going inside the car.
  • Step 5 – Add the resin. Do this by putting the tip of the resin dropper over the resin tube in step 4. Add 6 or so drops, or whatever is recommended on the packaging for the size of damage you’re fixing.
  • Step 6 –Immediately after dropping the resin, press your resin plunger down so that pressure will force the resin to seep into the entire affected area. You can tap the surrounding glass and even slowly tighten the central plunger to ensure that there are no air bubbles in the resin.
  • Step 7 – If you’re satisfied with the results, remove all of the tools and add one drop of resin to the impact point and lay a plastic strip down (which comes with a windshield repair kit). Allow this to dry under UV curing lamps or in the sun for up to ten minutes.
  • Step 8 - remove the strip and scrape of excess resin with the razor blade.

It’s recommended to avoid car washes for at least 48 hours after the fix.

Next Steps

It is generally recommended that damage with more than three cracks should be taken to a professional repair shop. Long cracks that span across the windshield are also more difficult to repair in a home shop.

If you’re ready to tackle your own windshield repair, head to Auto Body Toolmart for all the right tools to fix your windshield with professional quality.

 

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