You are driving down the road minding your own business when suddenly a rock gets kicked up by the car in front of you and shoots your windshield like a bullet from a gun. Suddenly you've got a chip out of the window and a big crack alongside it that threatens to get bigger every time you go driving and don't get it fixed. The fact is that crack will get bigger the longer it's left untreated. The vibrations from your vehicle will continue to make the crack spread until it spider webs all across the glass.
If the crack in your windshield is small enough you may be tempted to find a way to handle it on your own. If it gets too big, you're going to have to take it to an auto glass specialist to get it looked at. The last thing you want is your entire windshield to either break or become so badly cracked it's unsafe to try to look through when you're driving. So, what are your options when it comes to getting a crack repaired in your windshield? Let's take a look at all the ways that you can handle a windshield crack repair job.
How to Stop a Windshield Crack from Spreading
The longer you let a crack or chip in your windshield sit the worse it could potentially get. Road dirt and grime can get into the crack making it harder to repair, and as we said the vibrations from your vehicle can potentially make it get larger. Likewise, if you happen to hit a pothole or another rock hits anywhere near the crack, the damage could end up being extensive. Not to mention how dangerous it is to drive with a cracked windshield in terms of visibility.
If you're unable to get the crack fully repaired right away there are methods that you can use to stop it from spreading and getting any bigger. The first thing you want to do with a chip or crack in your glass is to clean it. Glass cleaner and paper towels will get the job done well, just make sure you're being careful when you do so that you don't accidentally cut your finger on any edges.
Once the area is thoroughly cleaned and dried you can temporarily halt the spread of the crack by applying a clear nail polish or super glue to the cracked area. Allow it to dry and then use a piece of clear packing tape over top to help keep any dirt or debris out of the area. It's not the most attractive solution in the world, but it's much better than letting the crack spread and get worse.
Can I Repair a Crack in a Windshield Myself?
In addition to this quick stop gap solution for preventing the spread of a crack you can also pick up a windshield repair kit. Some of these repair kits are incredibly affordable, and you can get some fairly well rated ones on sites like amazon.com for under $10. Depending on the type of kit that you buy you may have to actually drill a small hole into the top layer of your windshield and inject a resin from the repair kit into the hole. This will seal the glass and prevent any stress on the windshield so that it doesn't spread and get any worse. It's possible that this could actually be a permanent solution to the problem, or it may only serve as a temporary solution that prevents a bad problem getting worse. Again, a lot of this depends on how bad the crack you're trying to repair is, and the type of repair kit that you buy to fix it. Some of these are definitely higher quality than others so you'll have to buy one that best meets your needs and maybe compare reviews from people who have used them to see what you think is going to be best for your particular situation.
Something to keep in mind about using a windshield repair kit is that if you have a warranty on your vehicle you may void it by trying to use a windshield crack repair kit on it. Likewise, if you're not 100% confident in what you're doing, or you bought a cheap kit that doesn't necessarily work all that well, your effort to repair your windshield could make things worse. When that happens, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. If your attempt to fill in the crack in your windshield goes wrong and makes the situation worse, as in the crack gets bigger or the sealant creates a mess that obscures your view through the windshield there's really no way to fix that. The only option at that point will likely be to replace the windshield. Even a professional cannot walk back a bad windshield repair job.
It's worth remembering that these kits are intended for repairing only the smallest of chips and cracks. A large sized crack or a hole in your windshield is going to require some additional work. It's best to leave these bigger repair jobs to professionals who have the right tools to get them done.
Finally, you may want to pay special attention to where the crack has taken place. If the crack or chip is near where your windshield wipers are attached then it's probably not a good idea to try a repair on this part of the glass. Because this area of your glass is under higher pressure than the rest of the windshield, the odds on the glass cracking again are very high. You could end up just wasting your time trying to fix the glass in this area as it will likely need a complete replacement rather than a quick fix to get it done.
In addition to the kits you can buy at auto body shops or sites like Amazon, there are some homemade methods that you could potentially try to fix the problem, at least long enough to get to a glass expert who can fully repair the issue. Remember, these solutions are really only to get you safely to someone who can repair your windshield rather than to apply as a permanent solution. It's like a Band-Aid on a wound, it's not going to fix it, it's just trying to stop it from getting any worse.
DIY Methods for Temporary Windshield Repair
If you want to save yourself a bit of money and hassle, there are a few ways that you can temporarily fix the windshield of your vehicle so that you can still drive and not worry about the glass shattering on you. These require just a few simple household items and shouldn't take too much effort on your part.
- Half a cup of water
- One tablespoon of salt
- One teaspoon of bug repellent
- One teaspoon of rubbing alcohol
Mix these components together in a bowl until the salt is completely dissolved. At that point you can take a sponge and apply the solution to the crack in your windshield. It's going to take a bit of time to soak in and dry, so you should give it about 2 hours. After that time inspect the crack and see how it looks. If it's still very noticeable, then what you want to do is apply a second coat of your solution and then let it try again. Repeat this until the crack is no longer visible.
- Super glue
- Glue remover
- Cotton swabs
For this solution you'll need to take the super glue and apply it along the crack in your windshield. Use the cotton swabs to spread the glue evenly around the cracked area while you use another one to remove any spill over or excess that has spread away from the crack. This will also take a couple of hours to dry, and you can use the solvent remover to get rid of any excess glue that has gotten beyond the area where you want it. The glue should be able to hold the crack steady until you can get it to a professional to take a look at it.
- Clear nail polish
- Nail polish brush
This method is essentially the quick fix method we mentioned earlier, only you're not going to be using the tape on it this time. Just spread some nail polish along the crack and even it out. It's best to do this in a shaded area so that the nail polish doesn't dry too quickly on you and gum up as you're trying to spread it along with crack.
Depending on the size of the crack you may need to add some extra and make sure you adequately coat both ends of the cracks to strengthen the glass so it doesn't continue to spread any further than it already is. Once you have it spread evenly, you can let it sit out in the sun to dry.
How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Cracked Windshield?
Although it's possible that the windshield repair kit you buy may be good enough to fix the problem for you depending on how severe the crack or chip in your glass is, odds are that you're going to have to take your car to a professional to get it repaired. There are auto glass experts out there that deal specifically with windows and windshields rather than any other car repairs which may be your best bet for getting this done.
If you need to get the entire windshield replaced, which can happen with a bad enough break, it may cost you somewhere between $150 and $350 to do this in your average car. This will be more or less the average range for any passenger vehicle including SUVs and trucks.
If your whole windshield doesn't need to be repaired, you just need to have some cracks fixed then the price is going to be a little more affordable. Depending on where you go you could have paid anywhere from $20 to $60 to get a chip repaired in your windshield. There are even mobile services that will come to your home that can get it done for you for between $50 and $70. Of course, if you have multiple chips and cracks in your windshield, that cost is going to apply for each one individually so it could end up costing you more if you have a couple of things that need to be looked at.
Larger cracks are obviously going to cost more than smaller cracks, but even if you have a crack that's up to a foot in length you probably aren't going to be spending much more than $50 or $60 to get it repaired at most repair services.
Because there are a number of companies that offer windshield repair these days, from normal auto body shops to ones that simply specialize in auto glass repair you have a lot of opportunities for shopping around and determining which one is going to be best for you. It's always good to get a few quotes before you commit to any kind of repair job.
The Bottom Line
Windshield chips and cracks are one of the most frustrating things that you can have to deal with because they seem to come out of nowhere and there's really no way to prevent them from happening. They are just random accidents and once they have occurred all you can do is deal with it the best you can. The DIY solutions for dealing with them are very effective in providing temporary relief, but never let a crack in your windshield go for too long. While you can prevent it from getting worse and improve your ability to see out of the windshield, it's all but impossible to fix this kind of problem at home and your windshield will be weaker and more prone to cracks and breaks as a result. If you have a damaged windshield because of a rock or some other problem hitting it then patch it up as best you can and get it to a professional to have it fixed as soon as possible.