Ask The Experts: Car Windshield Repair vs. Replacement
Whether you pride yourself on maintaining a pristine driving machine or you are constantly completing simple repair jobs to keep an older model running for as long as possible, a chip on your windshield can become a real pane in the glass. Even the smallest damage to automotive glass can easily impact your line of sight. And, if the crack in a window causes structural damage to the highly engineered piece, it can jeopardize your protection from flying objects or during a collision.
Let’s start small, as in microscopic. Every day you drive, especially down dirt or gravel roads, your automotive glass acts as a shield that can become dimpled with ‘pits’ from fast-flying fine particulates like sand or bits of loose asphalt. If this deterioration becomes an opaque film across your windshield that is difficult to see through, it is time to take action. The NAPA experts recommend Duragloss Glass Cleaner to restore a windshield, which you can apply by hand or with a buffer to remove water spots, tree sap, smashed bugs and road grime.
If your damage isn’t from mild daily abuse, but instead was a sharp, hard rock gouging your auto glass, then you need windshield glass repair. Even a chip the size of a dime can lead to major problems if left unaddressed. Extreme cold temperatures outside, mixed with warm climate control on the inside, can cause the chipped glass to contract and expand. In no time, your trouble spot will grow into a giant spider web. The more it spreads, the more likely you will need a full windshield glass replacement.
If the shape of your car windshield chip is a star pattern or circular bullseye smaller than a dollar bill, then an at-home windshield repair kit should work successfully for you. Keep in mind, a modern windshield is made of thin layers that envelope a laminate center, which is critical for absorbing impact and grasping onto shattered glass. It is entirely possible to fill in splintered glass in the outer layer, but no deeper. Even if in the long run you plan to replace the windshield, this immediate “fix” using windshield crack repair liquid should allow you to drive safely until a scheduled body shop appointment.
If you are searching for the best windshield chip repair kit, then look no further as NAPAonline offers a range of automotive glass repair kits for less than $20. These simple, step-by-step solutions are designed to drastically minimize the appearance of damage. You can also keep it simple with the Permatex Windshield Repair Kit, which promises permanent air-tight repairs on most types of damaged laminated windshield glass. No mixing, heating or special equipment is required for a crystal-clear, smooth finish.
Still shopping around? Maybe you would rather put your trust in a popular brand like Rain-X or 3M. The Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit lasts through multiple repairs, which is ideal if you have more than one problem area or more than one vehicle with issues. Or you can purchase the comprehensive 3M Windshield Repair Kit for any glass repair less than one inch in diameter. This windshield crack repair kit includes one bottle of glass repair resin, an alcohol wipe, a resin chamber and chamber tip, one injector and O-ring, stick pin, dropper, clear plastic film, a scraping blade and more.
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Chipped Windshield Repair With JB Weld
The key to chipped windshield repair is removing air from the broken glass to fill the space with extremely strong resin. This epoxy or acrylic when cured in the hot sun is not visually noticeable. Yet, its effective seal protects the area from contamination and creates a strong bond to mitigate stress and stop any further cracking. Follow this guidance from the NAPA experts on how to use one of the best cracked windshield repair kits—the JB Weld Windshield Saver.
Start by removing any loose glass using the push pin. Then, utilize the provided alcohol wipe to clean the impacted area. Let it fully dry so the adhesive sticks to all surfaces. Place the adhesive disc on the glass around the repair and push out any air bubbles. Then, firmly attach the pedestal. Cut the tip of the epoxy and stick the tube into the pedestal and squeeze.
Ensuring the plunger of the syringe is down all the way, twist the tip of the syringe into the pedestal. Next, pull the plunger all the way up to nearly the top (to create a vacuum suction), and pause for 10 minutes. Then, remove the syringe, allowing air to enter the pedestal. Stick the syringe back into the tip of the pedestal and push the plunger down until it locks with the clip. Pause again for 20 minutes.
Carefully remove the syringe and slide the razor under the pedestal to remove the apparatus. Then, cover the treated spot with the curing strip and smooth out any air bubbles. Place the repair area in direct sun to cure for 20 minutes to an hour. Remove the curing strip and utilize the razor blade to carefully clean up any excess resin on the glass, then wipe clean.
Professional Windshield Replacement Services
If a shattered windshield is impacting your field of vision, then you need to take immediate action to find the nearest windshield replacement service. Keep in mind, most modern high-tech vehicles are loaded with driving assistance monitors and sensors, many of which either attach to the glass or rely on a clear view through the glass. These advancements have made cracked windshield repair a highly specialized skill that needs fine-tuned equipment for calibration.
Windshield replacement cost can run from $100 to more than $1,000, depending on your make and model, the type of auto glass you select and add-ons, such as heating mechanisms. You may not have to pay much to replace a cracked windshield if your automotive insurance includes a standard glass coverage deductible.
Not confident about completing a routine maintenance or part replacement project on your own? When in doubt, take your vehicle to a local NAPA Auto Care center near you. Our ASE-certified technicians are here to provide expert service to give you peace of mind and an outstanding ride.
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More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.