When to repair or replace a cracked windshield

It"s a gorgeous day. The sun is shining, traffic is moving along smartly. But suddenly—whack! There"s a rosebud the form size of a quarter smachồng in the windshield, directly in your line of sight.

You didn"t see whatever projectile caused this thing either coming or going, but as your heartbeat returns to lớn normal, the awful truth sinks in: You"re going lớn have to have the windshield replaced. This means dealing with the glass shop, being without your oto for a day or two, having a potentially leaky windshield and, worst of all, risking higher insurance premiums.

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It doesn’t actually have lớn be this way, though. A cracked windshield can happen at any time, but repairing the damage yourself is easier than you think, thanks khổng lồ some smart products you can get usually for less than $10. The only additional investment you have sầu khổng lồ make: A little time và patience.

Alternating cycles of vacuum & pressure will push adhesive into the chip, and evacuate air from the bottom of the chip.

It’s well worth considering, as some insurance policies won"t even cover chipped glass. On average, windshield repairs cost about $250, but fixes for premium or luxury cars can be far more expensive sầu, potentially topping $1,000. Sure, you might be able to lớn just raise or lower your seat an inch so you didn"t have to lớn look right through the chip, but it’s not a great strategy—small cracks can propagate inlớn larger ones in an instant, and damaged glass can become a safety issue, as it weakens its resistance khổng lồ future projectiles.

Left alone, water will find its way into the chip, pulled in by surface tension. If the chip goes all the way through the top lamination, any moisture that gets that deep can delaminate the glass from the center membrane. Eventually, the membrane will fog, causing a larger blemish. Water also can freeze in the chip, causing a larger flaw or even a craông chồng. Finally, water can carry dirt inlớn the crack—and there"s no way khổng lồ flush it out. None of these are attractive sầu propositions.

But before you panic, drive sầu trang chủ & get out your magnifying glass. Take a cthua trận look at your new chip. It just might be possible to repair it instead of replacing the entire windshield, simply by injecting an epoxy or acrylic compound into the chip to lớn act as an adhesive or filler. Do this as soon as possible, and you’ll save sầu yourself the headađậy of a full replacement, & also become the savvy car-repair genius you always thought you were.

Of course, not all chips can be fixed, nor all blemishes erased entirely. The best you can hope for is to fill most of the chip, và live with a visible flaw in your otherwise crystal-clear glass. But the improvement on most chips will be dramatic, & at least you"ve sealed the chip from the atmosphere and probably eliminated the possibility of it growing larger or discoloring in the future.

By the way: You can"t fix long cracks. If that’s what you’ve got, bite the bullet and get over lớn the repair shop. But pretty much any chip that goes inlớn the glass perpendicular lớn the surface or at a shallow angle can be repaired. That includes cone-shaped chips, leaf-shaped chips or almost any chip that hasn"t flaked a big piece of glass off onkhổng lồ the road.

Windshield Repair Kits

Windshield craông xã repair kits can be found in the tự động hóa parts department of many retailers lượt thích Walmart and Target, as well as more traditional tự động hóa parts stores lượt thích Pep Boys and AutoZone. Failing that, the warehouse-distributor tự động parts stores that cater to lớn professional mechanics can supply you. Of course, there’s also Amazon, which can sling a repair kit khổng lồ your door usually overnight. A good gauge there is the customer reviews, & our survey found multiple options from Permatex, RainX, ARISD, Loctite, and Gliston.

Procedures differ marginally, but the principle is the same. We fixed a couple of windshields lớn chạy thử some of these products, & the results were excellent. Read our report below—but regardless of which kit you use, remember to lớn start with an absolutely dry windshield that"s somewhere near room temperature. You don"t want to lớn trap any water in the repair, so use a hair dryer if the window is wet.

If the surface is dirty, don"t use any detergents or window cleaner. Lighter fluid or acetone can help dry and clean the surface, but don"t use so much that it dribbles down the glass and peels the paint, or worse.

Test #1: Pre-Mixed Adhesive

We first used a simple kit from Loctite with a one-part adhesive and an uncomplicated syringe khổng lồ apply it. Start by peeling off the backing film on one side of the precut adhesive sầu strip và applying it to the pre-cleaned glass, centered over the chip. Burnish with the baông chồng of your thumbnail or a blunt object. Now peel the remaining film.

Orient the plastic adapter so that the fitting is as cthất bại khổng lồ vertical as possible & stiông chồng it khổng lồ the film. Burnish again. Pull the cap off the syringe, keeping it pointy-end-up so the adhesive doesn"t wind up on the fender. Attach the syringe to lớn the adapter.

Now here"s the tricky part: Lay your watch down somewhere so you can see the second hand, or phối up your smartphone in stopwatch mode. Grasp the syringe body with one hand to stabilize it, & pull the handle of the syringe out as far as it will go. Hold the handle in this position for a full minute. This pulls a partial vacuum in the syringe—and in the craông chồng.

While you"re holding this vacuum, the air in the craông xã bubbles up through the adhesive sầu in the syringe, while adhesive sầu creeps down toward the glass and chip. Now let go of the handle. Don"t follow the handle, but let it go abruptly. The pressure wave from the handle slamming down will force adhesive into lớn the craông chồng.

Repeat this suck-and-slam operation a half-dozen times or so, forcing the craông chồng virtually full of adhesive sầu. Now remove sầu the syringe, adapter, and adhesive sheet. There will be a film of adhesive sầu on the surface of the glass. You can chase that bachồng with an alcohol-dampened paper towel, but leave the pimple of adhesive sầu right above sầu the craông chồng undisturbed until it cures for a few hours.

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With the pimple hardened, simply take a single-edge razor blade và shave sầu the protruding adhesive off. Use a sharp blade, & you"ll be able lớn do this in a single pass.

Test #2: Two-Part Adhesive

We also tried a repair kit that used a two-part adhesive sầu. These are far less common—though you might find them in your tìm kiếm and be forced to use one in a pinch—và they require users khổng lồ phối two small vials of adhesive sầu & hardener in the syringe before starting, which was simple.

The adhesive disc và syringe adapter are similar, if not identical, to the simpler kit"s, & are applied in an identical fashion. The syringe, however, is more complex. It uses a wire latch arrangement on the body that drops into two notches on the handle when necessary.

A simple pushpin stuchồng inlớn the body toàn thân serves as a very crude valve sầu khổng lồ let air in and out of the body toàn thân. Once the syringe is attached khổng lồ the adapter (the adapter already being stuông chồng airtight khổng lồ the glass), you remove the pushpin. Then you bottom the syringe plunger, pushing the air out, insert the pin, and pull the handle out until the clip clicks into the slot. This will hold the plunger out, & the partial vacuum under it for the designated time.

Rather than rapidly releasing the pressure like you do with the Loctite kit, in this case you remove the pin, admitting air into the syringe barrel. Then you replace the pin, sealing the hole, followed by releasing the clip, pushing the handle in khổng lồ lightly pressurize the barrel and force adhesive sầu inlớn the chip for a minute or so. The second slot will trap the clip as soon as you"ve sầu pushed in far enough. Repeat this “vent, suông chồng, vent, squeeze” operation several times to lớn force adhesive sầu into the crachồng.

While the clip-and-slot and vent system relieves you of the necessity of constantly grasping the syringe barrel like it"s the last beer at the picnic, there are caveats. The vacuum pulled isn"t as good, purging less air on every iteration. And the simpler Loctite kit seemed khổng lồ force the adhesive sầu deeper inlớn the crack faster by using the plunger as a piston khổng lồ rapidly pressurize the system.

Having said that, both kits did a great job. After shaving the excess adhesive off, both cracks were barely visible. The adhesive remained clear, and has the same refractive sầu index as the glass so that it renders the craông chồng invisible from almost any angle.

One final warning: Don"t try to lớn depress the plunger by h& and squeeze the adhesive deeper inlớn the glass with either kit. The adhesive sầu patch might become unglued và squirt adhesive all over your windshield & fender và shirt. Don"t ask how we know this.

How It Works: Laminated Safety Glass

Ordinary window glass, lượt thích you have sầu around the house, is pretty amazing stuff. It"s clear, strong and cheap. But it"s also brittle, shattering into long, dangerous, wickedly sharp shards when overstressed. Plastics would be as strong, but not nearly hard enough to lớn resist scratching and remain clear enough for a car window—just look at any plastic-glazed outdoor bus stop or phone booth, with its patimãng cầu of fine scratches.

For the side windows of cars, automakers have come up with a good compromise: tempered glass. It"s stronger than standard, but more importantly, when it does shatter it breaks up into lớn small granules. These granules are still sharp, but should vì chưng less damage than the long shards of untempered glass. However, for a windshield, constantly bombarded by pebbles, tempered glass would have a short life span.

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So, many years back, the oto manufacturers switched to a laminated glass sandwich for the windshield. It"s a simple process. Two thinner sheets of glass are fused lớn a rubber inner layer. The tempered-glass outer layers are then independent of each other. The rubbery center sheet provides damping lớn any shoông chồng waves from errant stones, reducing the probability of breakage.

And if the glass is hit by an object hard enough, odds are that only the outer sheet will break, as is the case with most stone chips. If a really big piece of debris hits the glass hard enough to break both inner and outer layers, the tough membrane prevents it from winding up in your lap.

Even better, the shards of glass from the inner lamination wind up stuck to lớn the membrane, keeping them from spalling away from the windshield at a high velothành phố, causing great havoc.

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