How to Repair Your Windshield

If you’re currently dealing with a cracked windshield, you’re not alone–it’s a common and often unavoidable problem that car owners have to deal with. You’re probably wondering how to repair your windshield, so the crack isn’t so noticeable and to keep it from spreading.

Keep reading for our guide to fixing a chipped or cracked windshield and our top recommendations for windshield repair kits that will make your car look practically new again.

Common Causes of a Cracked Windshield

Common Causes of a Cracked Windshield

Perhaps a rock flew up off the road and hit your windshield, a bird flew into your car while you were driving, or a tree branch fell on your parked car during a storm. There are tons of potential causes of a cracked windshield, so we’ll list a few of the most common ones:

  • Rocks: Large rocks and even small pebbles can damage your windshield when they’re kicked up by the car in front of you. Unless they’re particularly large, they don’t usually create major cracks. However, if you’re especially unlucky, they can crash through the multiple layers of your windshield and end up inside your car.
  • Trash on the road: We’ve all seen chunks of random debris lying on the road, intentionally or unintentionally left by other drivers. If these pieces of trash get thrown into your windshield with enough force, the result can be disastrous.
  • Birds: If they’re flying over the road, even a small bird crashing into your windshield while your car is at full speed can create some serious damage.
  • Large bugs: No, a tiny gnat isn’t going to crack your windshield by hitting it, but you might be surprised to learn that a larger insect can damage the glass if the impact is forceful enough.
  • Metal fasteners: This category of objects includes nails, screws, nuts, bolts, and washers. As you might imagine, a small metal object hitting a sheet of glass is a pretty effective way to damage or shatter it. These types of objects are doubly hazardous to your vehicle because they’re also a common cause of flat tires.

Types of Windshield Damage

Types of Windshield Damage

It’s important to understand the different types of windshield cracks because they need to be fixed in different ways. Scroll through this list to figure out if your cracked windshield falls into one of these categories:

  • Stress crack: A stress crack happens over time due to general wear and tear on the glass, rather than as a result of an object hitting the car and creating a crack instantly. Very hot or cold weather also contributes to stress cracks.
  • Floater crack: These cracks arise at least two inches away from the edge of your windshield and are often exacerbated by exposure to temperature extremes.
  • Edge crack: The opposite of a floater crack, an edge crack appears at–you guessed it–the edge of the windshield, and continues inward.
  • Chip: These are the least severe form of visible damage we’ll talk about in this article. When an object hits the windshield, these small indentations in the glass appear. Even though a few chips may not seem like a big deal at first, they can worsen over time and turn into full-blown cracks unless you fix them right away.
  • Star crack: This refers to a chip with small cracks stretching out, creating a pattern resembling a star. Luckily, these types of chips are quite simple to repair with a bit of glass filler (we’ll explain that process in more detail later in this article).
  • Bullseye crack: This is also a chip, this time with a central indentation surrounded by concentric circles of damage.
  • Combination crack: Some windshield damage doesn’t fit neatly into any category because it’s a combination of the cracks and chips on this list. Your windshield might end up with combination cracks after debris hits it more than once. If the damage is bad enough, you may have to replace your windshield instead of attempting to repair it.
  • Major cracks: These are large cracks that stretch across your whole windshield. Don’t even try to repair these–if your windshield has a crack this large, it’s time to have it replaced by a professional.

Tools You Will Need to Repair Your Windshield

Tools You Will Need to Repair Your Windshield

Luckily, a DIY windshield repair doesn’t require that many tools. Here’s everything you’ll need to repair your own windshield at home:

  • A windshield repair kit like the Rain-X Fix a Windshield Do-It-Yourself Windshield Repair Kit (more product recommendations below), which comes with a 1-gram bottle of resin, a repair device, curing strips, and a razor blade
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A bottle of window/glass cleaner
  • A pair of work gloves
  • A can of compressed air (optional)
  • Pit polish for polishing glass (optional)

How to Repair Your Windshield

How to Repair Your Windshield

Follow our step-by-step guide to repair chips in your windshield:

1. Start by assessing whether or not the chip you’re dealing with is too large to repair yourself. If it’s more than an inch in diameter (about the size of a quarter), then it’s time to visit a professional for repair or even replacement. But if it’s less than an inch, it’s probably safe for you to repair yourself using the steps we’re about to describe.

2. Clean your windshield as thoroughly as possible by spraying a microfiber cloth with glass cleaner and wiping it off.

3. If there are any small pieces of glass on or near the chip, remove these. Be careful not to cut yourself–definitely use heavy-duty gloves, and don’t grab any shards of glass with your bare hands! You can also use a can of compressed air to remove the smallest pieces of glass.

4. Depending on what kind of repair kit you purchase (more info on these below), you’ll be using a device like a bridge, sticker, or suction cup. Place and set whichever device you’re using on the windshield.

5. Press the resin injector onto the area of the glass where the chip is located, add in the resin, and then pull the air out of the chipped glass. Check the instructions of your windshield repair kit to see how long this will take.

6. Cure the resin using either sunlight or a UV light, again depending on the instructions that came with your repair kit.

7. If there is still an indentation in the surface of your windshield once you’ve filled in the crack, you can add leftover resin (or, alternatively, some kits come with separate windshield pit filler for this very purpose) into that indentation to even it out.

8. Put a piece of plastic over the resin and check to ensure there aren’t any air bubbles in between. Then, remove this piece of plastic by pressing on its corner so you don’t also remove any resin.

9. Using a razor blade, scrape off any extra resin to create as even a surface on your windshield as possible.

10.  To smooth things out even more and make the repair as invisible as possible, you can use pit polish (a kind of glass polish) on a paper towel to blend it into the rest of the windshield. This step isn’t necessary, but if you want your windshield to look as good as new after you repair it, you will want to complete the pit polish.

At this point, if you’ve done everything right, your windshield should be looking almost as good as new! You can also rest assured that the chip will be much less likely to spread and create a bigger problem that requires an expensive replacement.

How long will it take my windshield repair to cure?

It depends on exactly what type of repair resin you use, but on average, you can expect to wait roughly 3 to 6 hours for the repair to cure. However, it’s important to wait a longer time than that before you get your car wet, so make sure you don’t visit a car wash or go for a drive while it’s raining/snowing right after completing your windshield repair.

How Much Does a Professional Windshield Repair Cost?

If you decide to have your cracked windshield professionally repaired instead of doing it yourself, you can expect to pay about $60 to $130 for the service. Why does this price vary so much? As you might have guessed, the larger the crack, the more it will cost to fix.

However, the cost of repairing a cracked windshield doesn’t only depend on size; since different types of cracks often require different repair methods, the shape and type of crack also influences the overall cost. And if you’re really lucky, your car insurance might actually cover the cost of repairing cracks, meaning that you won’t have to pay for it yourself.

Recommended DIY Windshield Repair Kits

Looking for the best DIY windshield repair kits on the market? Here are our top three picks:

1. Rain-X Fix a Windshield Do-It-Yourself Windshield Repair Kit

RainX Fix a Windshield Do it Yourself Windshield Repair Kit, for Chips, Cracks, Bulll's-Eyes and Stars
$12.99
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01/29/2023 08:55 pm GMT

This windshield repair kit from well-known automobile care brand Rain-X is billed as equally suitable for cracks, chips, bullseyes, and stars. Whichever type of windshield damage you’re dealing with, it can probably be addressed using this kit. It comes with a 1-gram bottle of resin, a repair device, curing strips, a razor blade, and an instruction sheet.

It can also be used for more than one repair, so if more damage occurs in the future, you don’t have to go out and buy a whole new kit. Rain-X notes that the kit is most effective on “round damage not more than one inch in diameter, and cracks not longer than 12 inches.” You should also keep in mind that if more than one layer of the glass making up your windshield has been cracked or chipped, this kit will not be able to fix it. A

2. Blue-Star Windshield Repair Kit

Blue-Star Windshield Repair Kit, .027 fl oz
$10.95
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01/29/2023 09:05 pm GMT

This is not only our most affordable recommendation but also extremely easy to use because the kit’s included vacuum syringe adheres to your windshield like a sticker. However, Blue-Star states that this kit can only be used on chips, not cracks, unlike the Rain-X product. Another downside of this kit is that it can only be used once because there is such a small amount of repair resin included and because the syringe uses a one-use adhesive to adhere to the glass.

Ultimately, though, we’re including the Blue-Star Windshield Repair Kit in our list of recommendations because it works pretty well for a small chip, it’s incredibly inexpensive, and there’s almost no learning curve involved in using it for the first time.

3. Permatex 09103 Windshield Repair Kit

Permatex 09103 Windshield Repair Kit
$12.80
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01/29/2023 09:45 pm GMT

This is another repair kit that’s quite popular, affordable, and easy to use. It also takes only a few minutes to work, so you can be done with the whole process and back on the road as soon as possible. Permatex states that this kit can be used for “permanent air-tight repairs of bullseye damage up to 1 ¼ inch,” so keep that in mind when deciding if it’s the right choice for your situation.

The kit comes with everything you’ll need to fix small chips: a repair syringe and plunger, a small tube of repair compound, an adhesive disc, a resin pedestal, a curing strip, a push pin (for removing loose glass before starting the repair), an alcohol wipe, and a razor blade.

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