Repairing Windshield Cracks and Chips

If you have a growing crack or chip in your windshield, you probably know it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Your choices are to replace the whole windshield, repair the crack or chip, or do nothing.

Replacing your whole windshield is an option. However it will likely cost you quite a bit of money. Unless you have tons of extra money lying around this would not be a solution for you. Even if you do there are other things to consider. Replacing the entire windshield will take more time as well. So unless you really have to replace the whole windshield you should try to get it repaired.

There are several different ways a windshield can be repaired, take the next few minutes to learn about each technique.

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Let’s start with the DIY windshield repair technique that can be done at home. Most auto parts stores sell one or more DIY windshield repair kits. Each kit comes with a glass removal tool (often a razor blade), a suction or stabilizing device, a resin that is injected into the crack or chip and a sheet or two of curing film. The first step is to be sure the area you will be repairing is completely clean, then you can use the tool supplied in the kit or a small razor blade to remove any loose or semi-loose glass particles. This step is very important as any loose pieces will prevent the resin from making a clean and clear seal in the glass.

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After removing any particles, you can then attach the suction or stabilizing device so that the opening is centred directly over the chip or crack. Then you will screw in a tube in the opening of the suction or stabilizing device. This is where you will next inject or drop in the sealing resin. The next step is to screw the tube in until it puts pressure on the glass. Some kits come with a plunger device for this purpose. The plunger or tube is released and pressed against the glass several times to remove any air bubbles. Lastly a sheet of curing film is placed over the fixed area for about 15 minutes. Then the film can be removed and the area wiped clean. If done correctly it should be very hard to tell where the chip or crack was.

There are other types of windshield repair kits that work like a vacuum as you push resin into the crack or chip, but these methods seem to make it a bit trickier to get the sealant or resin exactly where you want it. However, it is all about your comfort level and experience with glass repair that can help you determine which version of the product to use.

Professional windshield repair techs use a similar technique but it differs by the equipment used, not to mention their experience repairing windshields. Most windshield repair techs use a professional machine that injects the resin into the cracks or chips while keeping the surrounding glass pressured to create a tight seal. After the resin is injected a professional grade mylar, similar to the curing sheets in the DIY kits, is applied to the crack or chip. The windshield repair tech will then usually apply a high powered ultra-violet light directly to the area being repaired. This is done to fully cure the sealant or resin.

There is also a professional vacuum method similar to the DIY vacuum method, but in a glass or auto repair shop the technician would use a special machine designed for windshield repair. This small machine actually both draws air out from the cracks and compresses the glass together and at the same time it injects a resin to bond the broken glass together. Just as in the other technique, a ray of ultraviolet light is applied to the repair to fully bond it, creating a smooth and clear finish.

In the event the windshield needs to be replaced, your best bet is to have a professional do it. The window tech first first uses a special tool to remove the moulding from around the glass. The next step is to remove the damaged windshield. Windshield repair techs have a special suction device that grabs onto the glass and makes it easy to remove as all they have to do is pull the handle of the suction device, and out comes the windshield. Next the tech applies a primer to the outer edge of the glass and then applies a strong Urethane adhesive to the edge of the glass and the vehicle frame where the glass rests against. Lastly the tech reattaches or replaces the moulding and reattaches the windshield wipers. The vehicle will be safe to drive about an hour after replacement.

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