DIY Windshield Repair Tips

February 17, 2012

Rock chips and small cracks are windshield repairs that can be done at home. Learn when DIY windshield repair can be done or should be avoided.

Windshield Repair

Doing your own windshield repair can save you a significant amount of money provided the damage is small and hasn't spidered. If your windshield has suffered damage take care of it quickly, before it turns into something much more serious. Windshield damage can become a safety issue, so it is best to deal with any chips as soon as possible.

Is DIY Windshield Repair Possible?
The first thing to determine is if you can do the repair yourself or if it needs to be done by a professional. In some cases, the entire windshield needs to be replaced. Chips and small cracks can usually be repaired at home, while larger cracks or spidered windows need to be repaired professionally or replaced.

Many windshield repairs are covered by your insurance company. Check with your agent to see if a deductible applies, often it will be waived to prevent a much more costly replacement. It is often worth the money to add windshield coverage to your insurance; this will cover the cost of replacement if necessary.

Rock Chips
Repairing a small chip is pretty easy to do at home. If the chip is smaller than a quarter, you should be able to fix it with a windshield repair kit, available at local auto parts stores. The kit includes a syringe which sucks the air out of the chip and then fills it with epoxy. These are fairly cheap and easy to use.

Small Cracks
If the crack is less than two inches long, you can use a repair kit to fix the windshield yourself. The kits are available at auto repair stores and work like a chip repair kit. They fill the crack with epoxy that prevents the crack from spreading.

Large Cracks
Once a crack is longer than two inches, it must be repaired by a professional. Often a repair shop can fix a crack up to 12 inches long. If the crack is in the driver's line of sight, it might be best to just replace the windshield. Large cracks present a safety issue to the vehicle so it is best to get it looked at immediately.

Spidered Windshields
A windshield that has spidered is a definite risk to the crash worthiness of the vehicle and the entire windshield needs to be replaced as soon as possible. While replacing your own windshield is possible, it is not recommended unless you have specific experience in windshield replacement. Look for a repair shop that is certified by the National Glass Association.