If you asked a room of ten people what the most important part of a car is, you might get ten different answers. One person might say the wheels, another the engine, and another the steering wheel. Of course, a car relies on each part to perform its role to perfection to get us from home to work and from work to our kids’ dance recital, but there is one extremely important part of your car that often gets overlooked: the windshield. A car’s windshield is critical for providing drivers with physical protection (just imaging what it would be like to drive down the highway with nothing in between you and the bugs!) and the clear sightlines needed to navigate the roads safely.
Maintaining a safe windshield should be a priority for all car and truck owners, and there are many ways to keep your vehicle’s windshield in tiptop shape proactively. Still, accidents happen, and sometimes all it takes is a rogue pebble to be kicked up from an 18 wheeler to put a crack in the thin piece of glass that’s protecting you from the elements. No matter how your windshield cracks or how minuscule the damage may appear, you need to take immediate action to prevent the crack from spreading across the entire piece of class, compromising its integrity and obscuring your vision.
How To Slow The Spread
The most reliable way to repair a crack in your windshield is to hire a professional. However, you may not have the time in your busy schedule to get your car down to an auto shop for a few days, or maybe you need to save up a few dollars to pay for the service. Below we will discuss a few ways to help keep a windshield crack from spreading so that you can feel safe driving your vehicle until you can have it repaired by a professional. Before you get too excited and start trying out these tips, make sure you thoroughly clean the affected area, you don’t want to be sealing in unwanted debris or moisture that could limit the effectiveness of the fix. To clean, simply apply some glass cleaner to the windshield and clear off any dirt with paper towels.
Super Glue or Nail Polish
Often, household products have multiple uses of which you may be unaware. Of course, nail polish and super weren’t made specifically for a quick windshield fix, but that doesn’t mean they can’t! After cleaning the windshield, you can fill in the crack with either super glue or clear nail polish. Once the glue or polish has dried, apply a piece of clear packing tape over the crack. This fix prevents external dirt from finding its way into the crack, but it is not a permanent fix, so make sure you still get the damage inspection by a professional before more serious damage occurs.
Avoid Extreme Temperature Fluctuation
In general, glass is extremely responsive to changes in temperature, that is how it gets made after all, and your windshield is no exception. In the heat, your windshield expands, and in cold temperatures, it will, of course, do the opposite and contract. When you have a crack in your windshield, you should be mindful of the climate your vehicle is in because going through changes in temperature can accelerate the spread of the crack. For example, try not to leave your car in the driveway under the hot summer sun for a few hours, then park it in your nicely air-conditioned garage. Try to keep parked under some shade and avoid using the windshield defroster.
Tape the Crack
This trick is the most simple one yet, but also the least effective. Still, it can come in handy in a pinch. In the same way that using super glue or nail polish can prevent debris and moisture from infiltrating the crack, covering the crack with tape is a reasonably good option until you can get your car to a professional. Clear tape is recommended so your vision while driving isn’t compromised, but you can also use duct tape so long as it doesn’t block your view of the road.
For those who are more comfortable working with drills and want to avoid going to a professional for windshield repairs, you can buy a windshield repair kit at most local hardware stores. You will need to drill a small hole right into the top layer of glass on the windshield to use a windshield repair kit. If that sounds like it’s out of your skill range, using a repair kit may not be the solution for you.
Professional Windshield Repair
Above, we detailed what you can do at home to slow down the spread of a crack in your vehicle’s windshield, but if you want permanent windshield repairs that will give you peace of mind when cruising down the highways, the best option is to hire a professional to inspect the extent of the damage and determine what next steps you should take.
Most windshield repair services require you to take your vehicle to their auto shop to be inspected or serviced. However, some companies such as superautoglasscalgary.ca offer mobile windshield repair services so you can get your windshield repaired at your convenience. This service is incredibly useful, especially considering how a cracked windshield is already compromising your safety while on the road. Forcing people with a cracked windshield to drive to an auto shop for windshield repairs is a counterintuitive thought, so if you have the option to limit the amount of driving you must do, we suggest going that route.
DIY vs. Professional
The biggest difference between windshield repair you can do at home and what an experienced professional does is that the tips and tricks we discussed earlier are temporary fixes. In contrast, a pro will be able to fix a chip or crack permanently. They also have the expertise and experience to determine if more serious work is needed, depending on the severity of the damage. If your windshield is too far gone and needs to be replaced, below is a list of the experts’ step-by-step processes to replace a windshield.
- Vehicle Inspection
- Cut Urethane
- Remove Windshield
- Prepare the New Windshield
- Urethane Application
- Reassemble & Clean
Windshield chips and cracks are common for car owners, and it’s important to know what to do when you spot one on your windshield. It’s best to get work done by a professional, but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to slow down the spread of a crack in your windshield to keep you safe and minimize the damage in the time between you noticing the issue and when you can get to a windshield repair shop.