Here’s how to repair chips and cracks in your windshield


Here's how to repair chips and cracks in your windshield


When rocks or other objects hit your windshield, they can leave damage in the form of chips in the glass or cracks from impacts. There are certain things you can't control when you drive, including but not limited to:

  • Debris on the road, including rocks
  • The actions of other drivers
  • The weather

Rocks can be kicked up by passing cars, causing them to fly into the air. High winds can blow debris around and hail can also do serious damage to a car. Your windshield is part of the safety of your vehicle. It serves many purposes including:

  • Additional structural rigidity when turning or driving on rough roads
  • Protect from the wind so it doesn't touch your eyes while driving on the highway
  • Protection from insects, dirt, rocks and road debris
  • Support for the roof in the event of a collision or rollover

Your windshield consists of two layers of tempered glass surrounding a thin plastic film. The hardening process is called tempering.

Tempering heats and/or cools the glass, making it stronger than regular glass and causing the plastic layer to adhere between the layers of glass, which is called lamination. Overall, this is referred to as tempered laminated glass.

If you see rock chips or cracks in your windshield, only the outer layer is damaged. These chips and cracks can be repaired using resin, which minimizes the occurrence of the damage and repairs its structural integrity.

Method 1 of 3: Have the damage professionally repaired

Many insurance companies cover windshield repair at no cost to the policyholder. This depends on the carrier and the type of policy you have.

Step 1: Check your coverage with your insurance agency. Check with your agent to see if your policy covers windshield repair costs.

Step 2: Find a glass repair shop. If your insurance provides free windshield repair, take your vehicle to a glass repair shop.

Confirm that the repair shop bills your insurance company directly. If they don't bill you directly, find another store or check with your insurance agent to see if you will be reimbursed.

Step 3: Get the glass damage repaired. Most rock chip or crack repairs take less than an hour to complete.

Method 2 of 3: Repair your windshield chip yourself

If your insurance doesn't provide free windshield repair or if you prefer to do your own vehicle repairs, you can do so with some time and a few inexpensive supplies.

Materials needed

  • Clean clothes
  • Glass cleaner
  • Mirror
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Razor blade
  • Windshield Repair Kit
  • Tip: Park your vehicle away from direct sunlight and warm environment for windshield repair. Ideally, you want to work at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Step 1: Clean the repair area. There will be a needle or pen included in the kit. You can use it to scrape off the impact point cleanly.

Then remove any loose glass or debris from the chip. If there is any left when you put the resin in, it will be a permanent part of your windshield.

Step 2: Install the bridge device. A bridge tool should be included in the windshield repair kit. It is equipped with suction cups to temporarily attach the bridge to the windshield.

The bridge has a ring that needs to be installed directly over the chip, bullseye or star in the windshield.

Place a mirror on the dashboard so you can see if the ring is properly centered from the inside of the windshield.

Press the suction cups firmly into place.

Step 3: Screw in the resin chamber. The resin chamber has a rubber mouth at the bottom that presses against the glass.

Tighten the resin chamber until the rubber muzzle lies flat on the windshield and provides a tight seal.

  • Warning: excessive pressure may cause the windshield to crack further. Tighten the resin chamber slowly and carefully.
  • Tip: Wear nitrile gloves to prevent resin from getting into your hands.

Step 4: Add 3 – 6 drops of resin to the resin chamber. Use the resin dropper in the window repair kit.

If the glass damage is less than a dime, put in only 3 drops. If the damage is quarter-sized, increase the application to 6 drops.

If resin leaks over the rubber mouth, tighten the resin chamber slightly until the leak stops.

Step 5: Insert the resin driver. The resin driver essentially applies pressure to the resin in the chamber, forcing it into the chip, bullseye or star in the windshield.

Tighten the driver until it is almost fully retracted. You will feel increased resistance when tightening the driver.

Step 6: Let the resin cure. Wait 4-6 minutes for the resin to penetrate into the windshield cavities.

You will see the damage slowly become less visible as the resin gets into the damage.

  • Tip: If the resin does not reach the end of the damage, you can slightly heat the inside of the windshield with a hair dryer or heat gun. Use caution, as excessive heat will worsen the cracking and instead require windshield replacement instead of repair.

Step 7: Loosen the resin driver. Loosen the resin driver and release the air that was displaced from the hole in the windshield.

Step 8: Tighten the resin driver completely. After releasing the air, check the windshield at a 45 degree angle to see if the resin has fully penetrated the damage.

Unrepaired areas will appear black or greenish in color.

If unrepaired areas are present, repeat steps 4 and 5 until they have dissipated.

Step 9: Remove the bridge assembly from the windshield. You can now remove the bridge assembly. Loosen the resin chamber by half a turn to relieve pressure on the windshield.

Be ready with a cloth to catch any drips that may run down the windshield.

Step 10: Add a drop of resin. Apply a drop of resin to the impact point on the windshield.

Cover the resin drop with a curing strip. It's a piece of plastic that makes the resin dry out flat.

Step 10: Cure the resin. The resin is cured by UV light. If possible, park your car in the sunlight for 5-10 minutes.

Step 11: Remove excess resin. Test to see if the resin is dry with a pen or pencil.

When the resin is dry, peel off the hardener strip as soon as the resin is dry.

If the resin is not dry yet, give it some time to dry out. If too much resin has been used, you can carefully remove it by dabbing it with a cloth.

Scrape excess resin off the windshield with a razor blade held at a 90-degree angle.

The resin will scrape off as a white powdery substance. When no more resin scrapes off, the repair is complete.

Step 12: Clean the windshield. Clean the outside of the windshield with glass cleaner and a clean cloth to remove handprints and marks left by the bridge.

Method 3 of 3: Repair a windshield crack yourself

Step 1: Clean the windshield thoroughly with glass cleaner. Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.

Step 2: Apply resin directly from the pipe to the crack. Move slowly along the crack, being careful not to miss any spots with the resin.

Move with the resin only as fast as the resin penetrates the crack.

Any missing spots can be sealed in an air pocket that remains visible.

Step 3: Examine the crack at a 45-degree angle. Any air pockets will appear as black or green. Touch these spots with resin directly on them.

Step 4: Allow the resin to cure for 5-10 minutes. Allow the resin to sit for 5-10 minutes to cure.

Step 5: Apply more resin. Apply another thin bead of resin to the entire length of the crack.

Step 6: Cover the resin with curing strips. Cover the window crack with curing strips.

Carefully place the hardener strips over the resin. There's no need to apply pressure.

Step 7: Allow the resin to cure for 10 minutes. Let the resin sit for 10 minutes to cure the glass.

Step 8: Remove excess resin. Carefully peel off the curing strips and make sure the resin does not come off.

Scrape off the excess resin with a razor blade held at a 90 degree angle.

Step 9: Clean the windshield. Clean the windshield with a glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth.

Removing cracks and chips from your windshield can improve visibility while driving and enhance the appearance of your vehicle. If you're not in the market for a full windshield replacement, self-repairing your window damage may be the next best thing.

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