Windshields are expensive but vital. They are a key part of the structural integrity of your car and could easily save your life. Day-to-day they protect your face from rocks, weather and bugs and regulate the temperature in your car.
Cars usually move forty to sixty miles on main roads, and the impact from rocks flying up and hitting your windshield can be quite substantial. It is definitely dangerous in the long run!
As we have mentioned before, a windshield is two layers of glass bonded to a single sheet of resin or polymer vinyl in the middle. Thus if your windshield needs replacing entirely, then you need to buy a new one from an auto-repair shop or other retailer. It’s not enough to use glass or even plastic because of the aforementioned reinforcement your windshield provides you.
DIY Windshield Repair
For small chips and cracks, it may be more cost-effective to repair it yourself. It won’t be to the same level as professional work, but it is adequate for dealing with light damage.
- Check Your Insurance Policy
Given that we’re based on Arizona, you may be surprised to find that if you have comprehensive auto insurance, then it will cover the entire cost of repair or replacement. Check your policy to find out if you’re covered. If you are, why repair it yourself when a professional can do it with no cost to yourself.
- Inspect Your Windshield to See the Length, Depth, Location and Size of the Damage
We will cover this more fully below, but in essence, if the chip is one inch wide or less or the crack is three inches or less it’s perfectly possible to fix them yourself, though the quality won’t be the best. If the crack is longer than three inches, consult us or another auto-repair shop to see if it’s safe to fix yourself.
- Buy A Bridge-style Windshield Repair Kit
Bridge-style repair kits can be bought at most auto stores, and we recommend the bridge-style because it is similar to what we, as professionals, use. The suction cups will help stabilise the device and the applicator will suck all the air out of the crack.
- Plan to Work in the Sun Or With A UV Light
The resin needs to be cured under UV light in order to properly fix the damage. If you don’t have a sunny day or a UV lamp, wait until the weather’s right. The resin will need to cure for thirty minutes to two hours.
- Prepare the Windshield
Use a thin metal object to tap out any loose glass. Then clean and dry the entire windshield. If the crack or chip has no circular end point, very carefully tap one edge of the crack to form one.
- Use the Applicator
Carefully follow the instructions on your applicator. Most applicators will come with two types of resin: one for cracks and one to fill in chips and areas of missing glass.
- Cure in the Sun
Ideally, leave your car in the sun or under a UV lamp for two hours. Driving before the resin has cured properly can increase the chances of worsening the damage.
When to Use A Professional
- Size of the Chip or Crack is Too Big
For chips anything over an inch in diameter, or a crack over three inches long is best dealt with by a professional because the area of weakness needs careful tending to. Multiple chips and cracks will necessitate a complete replacement.
- Location of the Damage
There are two places where you must get your windshield immediately replacement if you see damage there. The most important one is if there is any damage in the driver’s line of sight, no matter how small. Light will reflect differently on damaged glass and cause vision impairment. Even a second of hesitation could be enough to cause a serious accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 46% percent of fatal car crashes are caused or influenced by vision impairment.
The other problem area is the side of the windshield near the bonding. You should never attempt to repair this on your own and should consult a professional first. Depending on the type of damage, your windshield may need immediate replacement.
- Depth of Damage
If the damage is severe enough to reach or even penetrate the plastic interlayer, it isn’t safe to repair any more. It requires replacement as soon as possible. If the windshield is damaged from the inside, there are very few repair personnel who could repair it confidently. Interior damage will always call for immediate replacement.
- Incorrect Installation
So you took the cheaper route of fixing or even replacing your windshield entirely. While it’s not a difficult task, it does need someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. The pressure needs to be applied evenly on all sides of the windshield otherwise chips and cracks will actually occur much faster and easier than a properly installed one. Poorly repaired or replaced windshield can pop out.
As safewindows.org says “The windshield is an integral part of the safety restraint system in your car. It keeps the roof from crushing in on you in a rollover, it allows the airbags to deploy in the correct position to cushion passengers, and prevents you and your family from being ejected in a serious collision. It’s important to your family’s safety that the automotive glass in your vehicle be installed properly.”
If you have any concerns at all about your windshield and doubt your ability (or the ability of a friend or relative) to safely fix your windshield, it is always best to ask a professional for help. We offer service at excellent rates that serves a catchment area of
30 miles from Phoenix covering Mesa and Scottsdale as well. We do same day and next day services and can also sell you products to help you care for your home.