Windshield Chip Repair: How To Get Started

Glass repair -- mechanic works on cracked windshield

Any kind of driving--whether on highways, city streets or rural roads--can put your car's windshield in danger. That danger could take the form of stones flung from the tires of trucks, rocks and other debris flying through the air, or other detritus. You may not see the object as it comes toward and hits your car’s windshield, but you’ll likely hear it.

A windshield chip is an annoyance and a potential safety hazard, and it should be repaired before the chip spreads and becomes a crack--and a total windshield replacement. You may be able to do your own windshield chip repair, if you’re a little handy and follow these steps.

How bad is it? The first step is to get out a magnifying glass and carefully examine the windshield chip. If it’s larger than a nickel, say the experts, it’s best to have the chip professionally repaired. If it’s not that bad, you may be able to perform the repair yourself.

Purchase a chip repair kit. Auto parts stores carry do-it-yourself windshield chip repair kits. There are also kits available on the Internet, including Permatex Windshield Repair Kit and Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit. These are inexpensive kits ranging from about $12-$15, far less than $200-$500 for a complete windshield replacement and much less than a mobile windshield chip repair that might cost $75-$100. Each kit has specific instructions to follow, but there are some general steps in all DIY windshield chip repair.

Clean the area. Next, clean the area with the chip with a good glass cleaner or an alcohol pad. Allow to dry thoroughly. Pick out any shards of broken glass using a push-pin. Clean the area again with an alcohol pad.

Place adhesive disc in the center of the chip. Open the remove the adhesive disc from the windshield chip repair kit and place it in the center of the chip, pressing firmly on the glass. The tab of the disc should be pointing to you. Put the pedestal from the kit on the adhesive tab, pointing straight up.

Apply resin to the chip. Cut or snip off the top of the tube of resin. Empty about three-fourths of the resin into the pedestal. The resin will begin flowing into the chip area. Pull out the plunger from the pedestal and release it. This forces the compound into the chip. Leave the assembly in position for about 20 minutes.

Remove syringe and cut adhesive and pedestal with a safety razor.  The windshield chip repair kit will include a safety razor that you use to cut out the adhesive and pedestal from the windshield.

Dry in the sun, apply more resin, then check air bubbles. Move the car into direct sunlight and put several drops of resin into the center of the windshield chip. Put the plastic square included in the kit over the resin, smoothing out with the razor to evenly distribute the resin. Allow to dry for about 15 minutes. The ultraviolet rays of the sun will harden the resin.

Perform final touches. With the razor, remove the plastic strip and scrape resin from the glass. Spray the entire repaired area with glass cleaner and wipe it down.

Keep in mind that your DIY windshield chip repair won’t completely eliminate the flaw. It will just make it less prominent and potentially keep the chip from widening into a crack. This is a temporary fix that will buy you some time before you pony up for a complete windshield replacement.

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