Sooner or later, most windshields will get hit by a pebble or stone that will cause a small chip or crack. Even minor damage to automotive glass can accentuate glare, which is potentially dangerous if the chip is located in the driver's line of sight. Chips that are small are relatively easy to fix. Most automotive supply stores carry two or more types of windshield repair kits, ranging from the more complicated method involving mixing the resin before injecting it with a bridge tool, to the more basic pre-filled syringes. Unless you are experienced in this type of repair, the simple method will be the preferred one. Used correctly, either method will yield the desired result of making stone chip repairs virtually undetectable.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Window cleaner
- Lint-free cloths
- Windshield repair kit
- Sharp planing tool or razor blade (if not included in kit)
- Rubbing alcohol
Make sure that your windshield is in direct sunlight before you begin. Use window cleaner to remove any residual dirt. Allow the cleaned surface to dry in the sun for at least five minutes.
Place the interior suction cup (if present) on the inside of the glass. You will need to place the open end of the cup over the chipped area so that the damage is positioned in the centre of the cup. This will add reinforced support to the inside of the windshield. If no such device is included in the kit, move on to the next step.
Remove the middle section of the adhesive bordering ring (it may be a cone in some kits). Carefully take off the film that covers the adhesive and place the opening directly over the chipped area on the exterior windshield. The damaged area should now be "framed" on both sides of the glass.
Detach the end from the syringe's tip, making sure that it isn't pointed toward your face or clothing. Insert the tip into the opening in the ring or cone attached outside of the windshield. It may be necessary to twist the tip into the opening in order to firmly engage the syringe---check the instructions on the label.
Extend the plunger at the top of the syringe with your free hand, pulling it straight up as far as it will go without removing it. This creates a vacuum effect that forces air out of the depression in the chip or crack. Quickly let go of the plunger so that it snaps back into place, injecting clear acrylic resin into the chip. Leave the suction cup and the ring or cone on the glass undisturbed for up to 12 minutes.
Take off the suction cup that was on the interior windshield. You may have to slide your nail or a flat, sharp tool beneath the edge to break the seal. Grasp the tab on the ring or cone that was attached to the exterior of the glass, and pull it off, making sure not to disturb the repaired area.
Permit the resin to set, or cure, completely for 30 to 45 minutes in the sun. Remove any extra acrylic resin, including raised areas directly above the repair, by going over the glass in one direction with either a sharpened razor blade or a planing tool (sometimes included in the kit) until the area is smooth and level. Finish by wiping the area clean with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.
Tips and warnings
- Individual manufacturers of some patented windshield repair kits may include instructions that could vary slightly from the above advice. If this is the case, always defer to the guidelines on the package of the kit.
- For best results, do the repairs as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that dirt or moisture will enter tiny fissures in the glass. This will extend the break and may require replacement of the entire windshield. At the very least, a delay may cause the damage to remain visible after repairs have been attempted. A professional can rarely improve the botched repair of an amateur.
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