Whether caused by a stone flying up from the road or some other impact, chips and cracks will grow with time. If they grow too large, the entire windshield may require replacement. Did you know that these cracks and chips can be repaired? Some small windshield chips and cracks can even be repaired at home with a repair kit.
- Buy a windshield repair kit
- Clean the glass around chip or crack
- Apply the adhesive patch and plastic pedestal that comes with the kit.
- Inject the kit’s epoxy resin with the syringe
- Allow it to cure and remove the pedestal
- Remove any excess epoxy and clean the glass
How Big is Too Big?
Chips larger than a quarter and cracks more than three inches long cannot be fixed with a DIY kit and should be either repaired or replaced by a professional glass service like Glass Doctor. If it is smaller than a quarter, windshield chip repair can be a DIY job. Follow the steps below to fix that chip before it spreads.
Windshield Chip Repair
First, purchase a windshield repair kit at your local auto parts store. Epoxy resin, which will be contained in the kit, has a shelf life, so be sure to check the expiration date if it has one. Otherwise, ask the employees to make sure it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for more than six months.
To make sure you get proper adhesion during the repair, clean the outside of the windshield well where the repair will take place. But never spray glass cleaner directly onto the crack or chip. Instead, pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth, and wipe the surface. Use a pin or thumbtack to remove any loose shards of glass in the chip or crack.
If the epoxy resin in your repair kit requires UV light to cure, pull your car out of the garage or from the shade into the open daylight. If possible, save windshield repair for a warm, sunny day. If it’s been raining, make sure you use a hair dryer to remove moisture from inside the chip or crack before applying the epoxy.
Follow the instructions closely on your kit. Use this guide as a reference along with the kit’s instructions.
How to Repair a Windshield in 10 Steps
- Peel off the paper backing on the adhesive patch to expose one side of the adhesive. The chip can’t be any larger than the circular cutout in the middle of this patch. Center the patch over the chip and apply it to the clean, dry outdoor-facing side of the windshield glass. Peel off the other side of the paper backing and apply the pedestal –the molded piece of plastic with a tube angling upward – to the adhesive. Line up the tabs for easy removal.
- Mix your resin if necessary. Pour the liquid resin into the pedestal, filling it all the way up to the top. Compress your syringe all the way down and insert it firmly into the pedestal.
- Use one hand to hold the pedestal while you slowly pull up on the syringe plunger – don’t’ worry, this will not draw up the resin. Keep drawing up the syringe plunger until you reach the end of its functional length. Some syringes may have a clip to stop you from accidentally removing the syringe from the pedestal. Drawing the plunger up creates a vacuum in the syringe that will slowly draw the air bubbles out of the resin and away from your chip or crack; from inside the car, you should notice air bubbles slowly leaving the chip. Reference the directions for how long the syringe should sit. We’ve seen some kits that take as long as 10 minutes, others as quick as 1 minute. However, don’t proceed until you no longer see bubbles.
- Hold the pedestal with your hand while you remove the syringe from the pedestal with your other hand. Reinsert the syringe. Now slowly push the syringe plunger down to force the resin into the chip or crack. You should usually stop pushing about halfway down, wherever the instructions recommend or where the clip stops the syringe.
- Gently knock on the window with your knuckles to free any trapped air bubbles in the chip. If there’s a small area in the chip that isn’t filled, compress the syringe down a little farther. Just a little (half inch), or you’ll risk blowing out the adhesive seal (and have to start over).
- Reference the instructions for how long the syringe should stay in this position. Once the epoxy resin is cured, remove the adhesive patch and pedestal.
- Don’t wipe anything yet! Grab your tube of resin and put a drop or two right on top of the chip/crack.
- Grab your curing strip and place it on top of the chip/crack with the drops of resin. Place it down at an angle to avoid trapping air bubbles. Gently hold the strip with your fingers while you use a razor blade to squeegee out any air bubbles and allow it to cure for the recommended time.
- Use a sharp razor blade to scrape off the curing strip. Don’t just pull it off! Place your finger on top of the chip or crack and use a razor blade to break the bond between the strip and the glass around the perimeter of the chip/crack. Finally, twist the strip off so you don’t pull out any resin from inside the chip or crack.
- Use a razor blade to scrape perpendicular to the glass to remove any leftover resin.
You did it! Well done.
Professional Windshield Chip Repair
If you’d rather leave windshield chip repair to the professionals (probably a good idea!), pick up the phone and call your local Glass Doctor. Our glass repair experts will come right to your vehicle to either repair or replace your windshield. You can reach us at (833) 365-2927, or you can schedule an appointment online.
Windshields aren’t the only thing ruined by cracks or chips. Lots of homeowners have garage floors with unsightly chips and cracks. Learn more from the experts at Five Star Painting about garage floor finishes and coatings. Five Star Painting is part of Neighborly’s reliable network of home service professionals. Just like all the Neighborly brands, you can expect trustworthy home services for any budget.