The simplest solution to the problem of a cracked windshield would just be to take your car to a repair shop, but if you intend to go the DIY route, you can take on the repair yourself with the right supplies.
Can Your Windshield Be Repaired?
Not all damage is fixable, and windshield replacement might be your only option if any of the following apply:
- The cracks or breaks are at the edges
- Any chips and their surrounding cracks are less than an inch in diameter
- There are two or fewer cracks under eight inches long
- There are fewer than three chips
Keep in mind that even though you can repair chips and cracks that are in your line of sight and make them structurally sound, they won’t be invisible, meaning they may be distracting to stare through as you drive.
DIY Repair Options
If you want to repair your windshield or slow down a spreading crack, you don’t necessarily need the help of a professional shop. Consider the following DIY solutions:
Temporary Fix: Nail Polish or Superglue
First, clean the area around the crack or chip and dry it thoroughly. Cover it with glue or clear nail polish, and once it’s dry, apply some clear packing tape.
Keep in mind, though, that such a fix is only intended to keep the windshield from becoming damaged further and buy you some time before having it professionally repaired or replaced. It is not meant to be a permanent solution.
Long-Term Fix: Windshield Repair Kit
Depending on the location and extent of the damage, you may need a full repair kit. The general steps involved with windshield repair kits are as follows:
1. Clean the Crack/Chip
Use glass cleaner to clean up the area and a microfiber towel to thoroughly dry it afterward.
2. Drill a Hole (If Necessary)
Some kits require a small hole for the glue to spread. If that is the case for yours, use a 1/16” bit to drill only into the top layer.
3. Insert the Glue or Epoxy
Most kits use a patch and pedestal to make inserting glue or epoxy easier. Line up the patch over the crack and stick it in place, then attach the pedestal and fill its tube with the material. Use the included syringe to force it through the pedestal into the crack or chip. Be aware, though, that if the syringe pulls out of the pedestal, it won’t create enough pressure to push the liquid adhesive into the glass.
4. Watch for Air Bubbles
You may have to wait for up to ten minutes for any air bubbles to stop forming.
5. Remove the Pedestal/Syringe
After pressing in the syringe one final time to ensure that all the glue or epoxy is in the crack, check that enough time has passed for the adhesive to cure, then remove the pedestal and syringe.
6. Apply the Curing Strip
If your kit comes with a curing strip, place it over the crack and press out any air bubbles. Once the allotted time has passed, carefully scrape off the strip and any excess epoxy left over.