Wondering if you can DIY windshield crack repair?
With some cracks, you’ll need to take them in to get fixed by the professionals no matter what. But you can help salvage minor cracks, reduce the cost of the repairs, and extend the amount of time before needing to get the windshield fixed using some DIY strategies.
A cracked windshield might sound like no big deal. However, cracked windshields can shatter. Although the glass is designed for safety and won’t actually shatter into your vehicle, the shattered windshield can destroy your visibility, putting you at higher risk of an accident.
Avoid driving with an unrepaired cracked windshield. You can do a lot with DIY windshield repair — keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Why DIY Windshield Crack Repair?
Large, significant windshield cracks tend to mean you’ll need a full replacement. However, small chips can typically be repaired. Even some large cracks can be repaired rather than replaced, especially if they don’t cross your field of vision while driving.
The best way to figure out whether or not the crack needs repairing or replacing is to get the advice of a professional. However, you may not be able to get your car in to be looked at right away, so you’ll need to know how to do some windshield repair on your own in the meantime.
In addition to being dangerous, driving with a crack in your windshield is generally not legal. And even if the glass doesn’t shatter, the crack will spread over time, getting in the way of your vision even more and reducing the vehicle’s structural integrity.
Cracks that affect structural integrity are concerning for a few reasons. First, they can compromise the glass’s strength, so if there’s a collision, the broken glass is more likely to injure you.
The windshield is also an important part of the structural support for the vehicle itself. If there’s an accident like a rollover, the car might not hold up and protect you as well as it should.
Windshield damage can even affect airbag deployment, or increase the chances of getting thrown through the windshield in an accident.
Finally, even a small hindrance in your ability to see the road can be a big problem. If something suddenly appears in the road in the tiny “blind spot” created by the crack, you won’t be able to avoid it. The longer you wait to repair the crack, the more dangerous it will be — and the more expensive the repair.
When to DIY
One of the most important things about DIY car repair is knowing when to actually do it yourself, and when to leave it to a pro.
Many people enjoy DIY work – you get to learn new skills and have the satisfaction of taking matters into your own hands. For the most part, you should DIY the repair if it’s a small crack or chip, it’s not blocking your vision, and it’s not spreading.
If it’s large, growing larger, or directly in your field of driving vision, head to a professional.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the steps you’ll use for your DIY repair.
1. Buy a Windshield Repair Kit
You can find a windshield repair kit online or at an auto parts store without spending too much. They usually cost about $10.
2. Work on a Dry Surface
You’ll want to work with a completely dry windshield ta’s not too hot or not too cold. This is a good time to pull your car into the garage or under another cover, so the weather can’t affect your work.
It’s crucial the windshield is completely dry, so that water doesn’t get into the cracks as you repair it. Trapped water will only cause more damage.
If you moved your car inside and dried it off, give it some time to let all the water evaporate. You can also use a hair dryer to make sure the window gets totally dry before you start.
If the glass is dirty, avoid cleaning it with window cleaner or detergents. You can use a little bit of acetone or lighter fluid to clean and dry the surface instead. However, be careful not to use so much that it drips down your glass since it can damage the paint of your car if it touches it.
3. Use Your Kit
Windshield repair kits differ slightly, but most of them are fairly similar. They’ll likely include an adhesive and a syringe or applicator.
Start by peeling the adhesive strip off of the backing, and apply it to the clean, dry glass over the chip or crack. Keep the chip in the center of the adhesive, and use your nail or a blunt item to smooth the adhesive down all the way.
Peel the rest of the film off of the adhesive, and apply the applicator to the adhesive, making sure it’s completely flat and smooth again. Now, attach the syringe to the applicator. Pull out the handle of the syringe to make a vacuum in the crack.
Hold this position for at least a minute. The air will rise up into the syringe, while the adhesive fills in the space in the chip.
Finally, let go of the handle of the syringe suddenly. Let it fall down, forcing adhesive the rest of the way into the chip. Repeat this process a few times, so that the air gets sucked out of the crack or chip and adhesive fills it in completely.
After the excess adhesive is dry, you can shave away any places where it bubbles up above the surface of the glass. The adhesive will keep the crack from spreading and getting worse, and help your windshield maintain its structural integrity.
Would You Try DIY Windshield Crack Repair?
Some people prefer taking the car into the shop for windshield crack repair. For major cracks, that’s definitely the right move. But if you like DIY projects, you’ll love how easily you can fix minor windshield damage on your own.
Looking for more DIY fixes? Check out these five common car issues that everyone should know how to fix.