Cracked windshields are splitting America apart! It’s no wonder that more than 16,000 Americans work as automotive glass installers. One bump in the road or one errant pebble can drive a hole through your windshield.
But a cracked windshield isn’t the end of the world. You can get effective repairs without spending too much money or losing too much time. The key is to know everything about windshield repair.
What happens when a windshield gets cracked? How can you repair a small crack by yourself? When should you take your car to professionals?
Answer these questions and you can keep your car functioning and safe for years to come. Here is your quick guide.
Understand How Windshields Work
Windshields in modern cars have three layers. Plastic vinyl lies inside two layers of glass.
The glass layers insulate the car and shield it from rain and debris. The vinyl adds structure, and it can prevent the glass from shattering.
When you have a broken windshield, your outer layer of glass is likely the only thing that has broken. You need to replace or fix this outer layer without damaging the other two layers.
Distinguish Between Different Types of Cracks
Cracks can occur in a few different ways. Stress cracks come from repeated impacts on the windshield. Pebbles or hail may hit the same spot several times, or bumps in the roadway can open up a crack and cause the glass to split open.
The outer edges of your windshield tend to be the weakest points of the windshield. Cracks can start on your edges and extend toward the center. If you let these cracks continue, pieces of your glass may fall off.
Floater cracks are several inches away from your edges. Many of them occur due to extreme heat and cold, which cause the glass to warp and crack.
Besides cracks, there are other types of damage to your windshield. Chips are small aberrations in your glass that can eventually form cracks. They often occur when small objects like pebbles strike your windshield.
Star cracks create tiny fissures that emanate in all directions. The cracks are small enough that you can fill them in right away.
Bullseyes resemble concentric circles emanating from a divot or hole in your glass. They can compromise the integrity of your windshield and damage the vinyl layer underneath.
Add Some Filler
For a temporary fix, you can put clear nail polish inside the crack in your windshield. Do not put tape over the crack, as it can impede your view out of your windshield.
Fillers are glues that can repair stress cracks, star cracks, and divots. You can buy a filler at an auto repair store, and you should get a windshield repair kit.
You should turn your car off and spray some window cleaner over the non-damaged areas. You can use a poker or tweezers to remove the loose glass.
Some kits come with a patch. If your cracks are bigger than the patch, you should call a repair service to get your windshield replaced.
If the cracks are smaller, you can leave the patch over the cracks so they don’t grow bigger. Your kit should have a syringe that you can put the filler in.
Some kits come with a pedestal, which you can place over your patch and then fill with resin. The pedestal will allow the resin to disperse into the cracks and repair the windshield.
Air bubbles may be trapped underneath your broken layer of glass. Allow these bubbles to escape before you move on.
You can then remove the patch, pedestal, and syringe. You can place a curing strip over the top of the cracks to seal the cracks shut. If there is any resin leaking from the strip, you can scrape it off with a knife or razor blade.
Replace Your Cracked Windshield
You should replace your broken windshield if your cracks are too big or if you have many star cracks. You should also order a replacement if all three layers of your windshield are broken.
Do not hesitate to bring your car to a repair shop. You can take a look at a few repair shops to find the best rates for you, but you should prioritize experts in anything to do with AutoGlass.
You can get a ticket for driving a car with a shattered windshield. If you feel like your car isn’t safe to drive, you should ask a tow truck to bring your vehicle to the repair shop.
The repair shop will take care of replacing your windshield for you. It may take a few hours or a couple of days to remove the windshield and find the right replacement.
Go easy on your car in the days after your replacement. Driving too fast or going down a bumpy road can pop your windshield out of place. Take steps to prevent future cracks like avoiding roadways with debris on them.
Fix Your Windshield
A cracked windshield doesn’t have to set you back. Windshields have three layers, and most cracks only affect the outer layer. Many cracks occur around the edges of your windshield.
Buy a windshield repair kit and follow the instructions one by one. Each kit is different, but most let you inject resin into your cracks and seal them up with curing strips. If you have many deep cracks, you need to replace your entire windshield.
A cracked windshield is just one car problem you may face. Read more car repair guides by following our coverage.