Windshield cracks are no joke; left unattended, they could pose serious safety hazards and potentially cost you thousands. If you've got a minor windshield crack, don't fret just yet: it's possible for you to repair the windshield at home yourself. Read on for a simple a step-by-step guide to repairing your windshield at home!
Before you start: Determine the magnitude of the crack
Some windshields will need replacement, rather than a simple repair. If a windshield crack is less than 3 inches, it may be possible to repair the damage at home. However, if your windshield exhibits the following damage, we highly recommend a repair:
- More than three inches
- Multiple cracks
- Located in front of the driver's line of sight
- On the windshield edge
If your windshield does not have any of the above listed symptoms, follow our steps below for quickly repairing your windshield.
How do you repair a windshield at home?
- Step 1: Buy a windshield repair kit
- Step 2: Prepare the windshield
- Step 3: Prepare the applicator
- Step 4: Tap a small hole (optional)
- Step 5: Load the resin
- Step 6: Position the applicator
- Step 7: Apply resin
- Step 8: Seal the crack
- Step 9: Fill chips and dents
- Step 10: Cover resin with tape
- Step 11: Clean windshield
Step 1: Buy a windshield repair kit
You can find windshield repair kits in your local auto shop or online. We highly recommend choosing a kit with a bridge applicator (over syringe applicators), which fastens to the glass using suction cups.
For the purposes of this tutorial, we will be guiding you through using a repair kit with a bridge applicator.
Step 2: Prepare the windshield
Using a sharp blade, scrape or tap against the surface of the glass in the affected area to remove glass and dirt particles. Make sure you clean and dry the area afterwards.
Step 3: Prepare the applicator
Follow the instructions on your repair kit for using the applicator. Most repair kits will have the following:
- Syringe or barrel for loading the resin
- Cap or O-ring to close the syringe or barrel
- Dial or bolt used to adjust pressure
Optional Step 4: Tap a small hole
If you are repairing a long crack (one that does not end in a circular or semicircular hole) or filling a small "star break" with no piece of glass missing, you'll need to tap a small hole into the crack.
Place a bullseye tapper on the end of a crack. Tap it gently with the suction cup removal tool until a small hole appears. Note: Never drill more than one-fourth of the way through the glass.
Step 5: Load the resin
Load your applicator with the resin necessary for your repair. Most repair kits come with two types of resin: one for filling cracks and one for filling chips and dents.
Step 6: Position the applicator
Cover the suction cups with a thick layer of lubricant. If your repair kit did not come with lubricant, you can also use petroleum jelly as an alternative. Position the suction cups so that the applicator tip is over the hole at the end of the crack. Tighten until the applicator tip gently touches the glass.
Step 7: Apply resin
Move the applicator along the first 2–3 inches of the crack, then apply resin per your kit's instructions. If the resin won't go inside the crack, gently use your thumb to press the glass for the first few applications.
Step 8: Seal the crack
Once the resin enters the crack, move the applicator over the length of the crack. You should be able to seal it in one slow motion. Don't worry if the crack is still visible at this point.
Step 9: Fill chips and dents
If your applicator contains a different type of resin (one that's not used for filling in chips and dents), clean it out before moving on to this step. Once clean, load your applicator with your kit's resin for filling chips and dents. Lubricate the suction cups, then position the applicator tip over the chip or ent. Use the vacuum/pressure system until the resin fills the chip or dent completely.
Step 10: Cover resin with tape
To prevent the resin from oozing back out, use curing strips (also called curing tabs) to hold the resin in place during the curing process. Leave the repaired areas in sunlight or under a UV light until cured. Follow your repair kit's instructions for how long to let the affected areas cure - it's always safer to err on the side of more time.
Step 11: Clean windshield
Once the resin has cured, remove the curing strips. Use a sharp edge to scrape the resin off the windshield until it is smooth. If the windshield is blurry or the crack still interferes with the driver's vision, you might need to cure it again. Remember to wipe the windshield with glass cleaner once you're done.
Images sourced in order of appearance: Unsplash.