Here Are the Kind of Windshield Repairs You Can Do Yourself
It doesn’t matter if you drive an older compact car or a brand-new luxury land yacht; pebbles and stones don’t discriminate. Whenever you’re driving on the highway, there’s a chance you’re going to take a ding on your windshield from a flying chunk of rock. And suddenly, your windshield wipers can’t get rid of the shimmering divot in the windshield. How much is that going to cost you?
A windshield chip can be a distraction, especially if it's in your line of sight. And it could get worse, a lot worse. It’s cheaper to fix a chip than replace a windshield, so if you don’t want the damage to spread, this isn’t a job you should put at the bottom of your to-do list. You need to learn how to fix it yourself or find a car glass repair service that will do it for you.
If you choose a car glass repair service, they’ll fill and bond the void left behind by the damage. High-quality resin is injected into the chip or crack and the air is extracted to remove bubbles. Sounds easy enough, but this kind of repair something you could do yourself and save money?
How to repair a windshield chip yourself
If you’re someone who has a DIY’er mentality, it’s possible to do your own glass repair. Kits are available at auto parts stores, not to mention on Amazon and other online retailers. Most kits will provide the instructions you need to get the job done.
Generally, chips smaller than a quarter and cracks smaller than the length of a 5-dollar bill are simple enough to repair.
DIY windshield repair takes a small investment of your time, but the instructions (that come with the repair kit) have to be followed meticulously to achieve flawless results.
First, you’ll need to get yourself a windshield crack repair kit ahead of time. Most kits will handle a dozen chips or a medium-sized crack, and you can re-use them if you don’t use the adhesive all in one shot. The basic steps include:
- Removing any debris inside the crack or chip. With the pin (that comes in most kits), carefully extract any fragments of glass from the area of damage.
- Cleaning the windshield well. Any dirt or debris around the damage can be drawn in and become permanently embedded in your windshield.
- Applying resin to the chip or crack. The method varies by kit, so follow the included instructions.
- Extracting air from the area of damage. Again, each kit has a process to follow to remove air. Some kits will have a plunger while others will have a driver.
- Curing the resin and removing any excess. It takes time to fully cure and kits will have strips to protect the resin from getting contaminated during this step. Then, scrape away any excess to smoothen the surface.
Is it better to have a professional windshield repair?
The car window repair process isn’t hard, but it needs to be done according to instructions or the results won’t be what you want. Even something as minor as temperature and humidity can affect your windshield repair.
As mentioned, minor damage (if it’s in the right place) can easily be repaired.
But if the damage:
- is larger than the diameter of a quarter (or if the crack is longer than a $5-dollar bill)
- reaches to the very edge of the windshield
- is in the driver’s direct line of vision
- penetrates the inner layer of glass
you might want a professional to look at it. Unfortunately, any of these events could require a windshield replacement.
In an auto glass shop, they have the experience of thousands of other repairs to give you peace of mind. Furthermore, the climate-controlled environment is set up to yield better results. And most of all, you have the assurance that if something doesn’t go right with a glass repair, they can help you with a windshield replacement.
Cost of windshield repair vs. windshield replacement
If you’re looking to repair a stone chip on your windshield yourself, there are kits available that won’t put a dent in your finances. For example, one of the best DIY windshield repair crack kits on Amazon is from Permatex and is just barely more than $25. Other kits, like this one from Rain-X, are even less money but aren’t rated as high.
If you aren’t confident fixing your own cracked windshield or stone chip, that’s perfectly fine. It can be unnerving to work on glass, much less your car’s windshield. Many car insurance policies cover glass repairs for a reduced deductible. It may be $50 or $100, and some insurers cover the full cost of glass chip repairs. In BC, ICBC may cover your repair for free (without a deductible!)
If you wait too long and the chip or crack spreads and becomes irreparable, it’s obviously more expensive. On average, a windshield replacement is around $400. New cars with advanced driver-assistive systems (ADAS) or rain-sensing wipers have a camera or sensor mounted to the windshield that will need to be re-installed and, in many cases, recalibrated. Luxury cars may also have more costly windshields, and a windshield replacement can run upwards of $1,000 for some models.
Whether you do it yourself or you have a glass repair shop do it, having a stone chip repaired is much more affordable than replacing a windshield, so make sure you prioritize the job accordingly.
Time for an upgrade?
If fixing a chip in your windshield has become one job too many, maybe it’s time to get a vehicle that doesn’t require so much maintenance.
Shop hundreds of certified vehicles online today—we'll even give you an instant offer for your old car and pick it up when we drop off your new car!