A cracked windscreen is more than just a minor inconvenience. Not only does it obstruct the driver’s view, but it also weakens the structural integrity of the glass. Over time, small cracks can grow larger, compromising the safety of the vehicle and its occupants. Fixing a cracked windscreen is, therefore, a matter of urgency. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do it:
1. Assess the Damage
Determine the degree of the damage before you begin the repair process. There are various kinds of windscreen deterioration, including:
Bull’s eye: Damage done in a circle by a spherical item.
Star break: Tiny cracks extending from the impact’s focal point.
A combination of different sorts of injury is a combo break.
Crack: A single line of separation that can be as wide as the windscreen or just an inch wide.
It is advised to talk with professionals about a windshield replacement rather than a repair if the damage is greater than the size of a dollar bill or is directly in the driver’s line of sight.
2. Prepare the Area
Clean the Windshield: Before attempting to repair the crack, make sure the windscreen is clean. Utilise a soft cloth and a high-quality glass cleaner. This prevents contamination during the repair process.
Dry the Affected Area: The repair resin won’t properly bond with the glass if there’s moisture. Dry the damaged area using a hairdryer or wait until it’s naturally dried
3. Purchase a Windscreen Repair Kit
These kits are readily available in auto parts stores and come with the essential tools and materials required to repair minor windshield cracks or chips. A typical kit includes:
A resin solution designed to fill the crack.
An applicator to help apply the resin.
A curing film to speed up the drying process.
4. Applying the Resin
Position the Applicator: Most kits come with a bridge-like applicator. The applicator is attached to the windshield using suction cups, positioning it directly over the crack.
Insert the Resin: Once the applicator is in place, the resin tube is inserted into it. Depending on the kit, you might need to pull or push the applicator’s syringe to create a vacuum. This draws air out of the crack. Then, as you release or push the syringe, the resin is inserted into the crack.
Spread the Resin: After filling the crack, spread the resin over the damaged area using a piece of the curing film. Ensure that the resin fully covers the crack or chip and a little of the surrounding area.
5. Curing the Resin
For the resin to solidify and hold the crack together, it needs to be cured:
Sunlight Exposure: Most repair resins require ultraviolet (UV) light to cure. Place the vehicle in direct sunlight for the duration recommended by the kit’s manufacturer. It typically takes anywhere from a
few minutes to an hour, depending on the product.
Remove Excess Resin: Once the resin is cured, peel off the curing film. Any resin that’s sitting above the
glass surface should be scraped off gently with a razor blade, ensuring that the glass isn’t scratched.
6. Polish the Area
To restore the windshield’s smooth appearance, you can polish the repaired area using a fine grit sandpaper and a polishing compound. This not only makes the repair less noticeable but also helps in ensuring that the windshield wipers don’t get damaged by any leftover resin.
7. Consult a Professional
While DIY repair kits are effective for minor damages, they might not always produce perfect results. If the damage is still noticeable after repair or if you’re unsure about the repair’s durability, consult with a professional. They can assess whether the windshield needs further repair or replacement.
Should you do it on your own or hire professionals?
Should you tackle it solo or bring in the experts? Evaluate the following factors to make an informed decision:
Size and Position of Damage:
Some small chips can be addressed with DIY windshield repair kits found in auto parts shops. These typically contain a resin that fills in the chip, halting its spread.
When a crack exceeds the length of a dollar bill or obstructs the driver’s view, it might be beyond repair. In such cases, replacing the entire windshield becomes necessary, a job best entrusted to experts.
Windshields are more than just a sheet of glass; they add structural strength to your vehicle and play a crucial role in the functioning of passenger-side airbags. A subpar repair or incorrect installation could jeopardize safety. Handling a windshield correctly is vital to avoid further damage or potential injuries.
Expertise and Equipment:
While DIY solutions exist, they might not match the durability and quality of a professional repair. Professionals possess not only the skill but also state-of-the-art tools and premium materials to ensure that the job is done right and safely.
Warranties and Insurance:
Many seasoned windshield repair, or replacement businesses offer guarantees on their services. Going the DIY route and failing could end up being costlier in the long run. Additionally, your car insurance might cover windshield fixes or replacements, either in full or part. Always consult your insurance details before choosing a course of action.
Time and Effort:
Professionals, with their expertise, can efficiently restore or replace your windshield, saving you time. For those not versed in the repair process, a DIY approach can be daunting, time-intensive, and might not yield successful results. For substantial windshield damages or replacements, it’s prudent to rely on skilled technicians.
Fixing a cracked windscreen can be a straightforward process, provided the damage is minor. However, always prioritize safety. If the crack is substantial or affects the driver’s visibility, a windshield replacement might be necessary. With the above steps, you can extend the lifespan of your windshield, ensuring that your vehicle remains safe and visually appealing.