Learning how to fill a windshield chip yourself can save you the hassle of having your windshield replaced and insurance premiums raised. While long cracks and spidery impact craters typically indicate that the glass has to be changed, almost every other type of crack can be repaired quickly and easily at home.
Learning how to fill a windshield chip requires an understanding of how windshields are designed. Rather than using a single pane of thick glass, automakers sandwich a rubbery, transparent layer between two thinner panes, creating a laminate. The reasons for this are simple, and safety related. The middle layer helps absorb the force of any impact, is sticky enough to keep pieces of glass from flying around in the event of an accident and prevents the inner pane of glass from being damaged when the outer pane gets chipped.
Fill the Gap
Since a windshield chip doesn’t go through every layer of the laminate, it’s possible to repair the outer layer of glass by filling the gap created by the impact of a stone or other road debris. You can accomplish this with a simple kit.
Windshield chip repair kits include a syringe filled with an adhesive made of either epoxy or acrylic. It features the same refractive index as glass, which means that once it dries in place, it’s not noticeable to the naked eye. The syringe serves a dual purpose, too. It not only injects the filler, but also creates a vacuum when you pull the plunger out that sucks out air from inside the chip and helps force the adhesive where it needs to go. You’ll most likely need to move the plunger up and down over the area several times, according to the kit’s instructions, in order to fully fill the chip. Once dried, the small nub of filler that is left sticking up out of the crack can be easily shaved down with a razor blade.
It’s uncomplicated to learn how to fill a windshield chip, but — as with most repairs — the key is to prepare the glass properly beforehand. The windshield needs to be clean and perfectly dry so that you don’t trap moisture or dirt underneath the adhesive.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that you may not be able to completely fill every nook and cranny in the chip, but it’s still worth sealing as much as you can to prevent a larger crack from forming.
Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to fill a windshield chip, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.