Imagine you’re driving down a quiet road on a bright sunny day.
You cruise along without a care in the world and enjoying the scenery until suddenly–POP!
It sounds like someone just lit a bottle rocket in your vehicle. As a large dump truck drove past you, it kicked up a rock cracking your windshield.
After the moment of panic subsides, you pull over onto the shoulder and check a few things.
Your car is still running fine, there aren’t any odd noises, and you determine there isn’t a flat tire.
But you notice a large crack right smack dab in the middle of your windshield. Your heart sinks knowing it will be a costly fix. That’s assuming your windshield doesn’t need to be replaced.
Before you contact the nearest windshield repair specialist, follow these 7 tips to save you time and money.
A Few Facts About Windshields
Windshields are wondrous pieces of glass keeping us safe in our vehicles from high-speed winds, the weather, and provide structural strength to our vehicles.
The majority of windshields are made of two or more pieces of glass lined with thin plastic in between each pane. This laminated glass rarely shatters due to the plastic holding the glass together.
When a vehicle’s airbags are deployed, the passenger’s airbag shoots upwards and is forced down and into place by the windshield. Windshields are an integral part of a vehicles safety system in the event of an accident.
Windshield damage is rarely caused by an automobile accident. The most common causes of windshield damage are from the weather, a stray ball, or kicked up rocks.
In addition to regular automobile maintenance, maintaining a functional windshield is important for your safety and saving money. Luckily, the repair is pretty simple. Here are 7 windshield repair tips to save time and money.
1. Examine the Windshield Damage
Whether your automobile has been struck by a pebble or the victim of an unfortunate golfing accident, check the damage of the windshield before calling a specialist to fix it.
Take note of the location of the damage. Chips and cracks located in the driver’s side of the windshield can affect visibility making driving dangerous. If this is the case with a large crack, you may want to consider having a windshield repair specialist come to you or ride with a friend to get a windshield repair kit.
On the other hand, if the crack or chip is along the edge of the windshield, this can compromise the structure of the windshield.
Smaller cracks and chips, typically under 5-6 inches that only affect the top outer layer of the windshield can be a “Do It Yourself” fix. This will save you money and time. There are several DIY windshield repair kits and tips anyone can do.
Larger cracks and chips that may be deeper than the first layer of glass may require a specialist to fix or replace the windshield.
A large gaping hole from a golf ball or deep crack on the very edge will require the windshield to be completely replaced.
2. Do Not Wait
That small chip or crack in your windshield may seem inconsequential at first. A tiny crack or chip can wait, right?
Nope! That small windshield chip or crack can easily grow out of control. Changes in temperature, weather, and wind force on the windshield can turn a small windshield fix into a much greater problem.
Waiting until the last minute can cause the chip or crack to grow and possibly require the windshield to be replaced all together.
3. Check Your Insurance Policy
Depending on how significant the damage on your windshield is, you may want to consider working with your insurance. If the cost of windshield repair is greater than your deductible, placing a claim with your insurance provider will save you money.
Make sure your windshield damage is covered in your policy. You will find this in the comprehensive coverage.
It’s worth mentioning placing a claim for a windshield repair will not affect your driving record or raise your rates.
4. DIY Windshield Repair Kits
Once you’ve examined the chip in your windshield and determined it’s small enough to fix yourself, there are several methods of fixing your windshield.
Windshield repair kits have made fixing cracks and chips a breeze. They include step-by-step instructions, tools to remove broken glass, resin, a tool to apply the resin, and curing film.
We recommend a bridge-style repair kit. They are more stable than syringe applicators because they fasten with suction cups to the windshield. The applicator should also suction out air as you apply to the resin to prevent air bubble.
You can find DIY windshield repair kits online, at your local hardware store, automotive stores, and superstores.
5. Is There a Best Time to Fix Your Windshield?
Pick a dry sunny day where you have a few hours to spend fixing your windshield. The sun will help cure the resin once it’s applied over the chip or crack.
Park your car in a shaded area while you work so you can take your time applying the resin.
Before you start sealing the crack clean the surface of your windshield. Remove excess glass chips, dirt, and dust, then wipe dry.
After you’ve cleaned the windshield you can apply the resin. Once everything is applied and ready, you can move the windshield into a sunny area where it can cure. This generally takes about 2 hours.
6. Removing Shallow Scratches from Your Windshield
Fixing a shallow scratch in your windshield can be quick and easy. Here are 3 simple ways to do so.
Acrylic scratch remover comes as a liquid that you can rub into the scratch. It will chemically react with the glass and plastic of the windshield drying hard and smooth. You can find acrylic scratch remover at you local automotive store, online, or at a superstore.
Another DIY windshield repair option is Cerium Oxide. Cerium oxide comes in either a paste or powder and is perfect for buffing scratches out of your windshield.
Add a dab to your windshield and buff out the scratch with a buffing pad. Attach a buffing pad to a drill for extra strength and less work.
Finally, toothpaste can remove scratches too. Rub a small amount of clear whitening toothpaste on the scratches and watch them disappear. You can use toothpaste to fix your foggy headlights too.
7. If DIY isn’t an Option, Shop Around for the Right Glass Specialist
Sometimes the safest and most affordable option is having a professional fix your windshield.
Research your local windshield repair specialists to find what services they offer, prices for fixes or windshield replacements, promotional discounts, and reviews of each. Request quotes from different companies to see who is both affordable and provides quality services.
The Auto Glass Express provide excellent and reliable windshield repair services as well as 24/7 emergency services.
Experiencing a cracked or damaged windshield is nervewracking. If you know very little about windshields or how to repair them, you can end up spending extra money on additional services, or new windshield you may not need. Conversely, ignoring the damage can cause worse damage to your windshield.
By examining the damage, reacting quickly, researching your options, and shopping around for the right windshield repair professional, you will save yourself time, money, and headache.
For more tips on automobile maintenance and repairs, check out our tips to keep your vehicle running smoothly.