Getting a crack in your windshield can be a very stressful and annoying sudden expense. Many times, these cracked windshields happen without a moment’s notice and they can make it unsafe or impossible to drive your car. When this happens, it usually means you need to have your windshield repaired or replaced almost instantly, which means being without your car for a day or two.
Extensive cracks can even cause your windshield to leak and going through insurance for repairs can cause your premiums to go up. So, what can you do in these situations? Well, there are some at home remedies that can help you fix windshield cracks simply and safely at home. It is a great way to reduce your automotive repair bills while still keeping your vehicle in working order.
The rule of thumb is that cracks under 6 inches can usually be repaired at home, meaning there may be some situations where the cracks are so extensive that they cannot be repaired with these DIY remedies but they will work with most standard cracks.
Using A Windshield Repair Kit
Windshield repair kits can be purchased at most automotive and home improvement stores and online. Typically, the easiest type of windshield repair kit to use is one that has a “bridge” applicator, or that uses suction cups as opposed to the syringe applicator version of these repair kits. The kit should also have a vacuum system in it to remove cracks in the windshield.
In addition to the windshield repair kit you will need the following:
- UV lamp, or the sun
- Tweezer or similar thin metal object
- Dry cloth
- Strong needle, drill bit or drill
- Lubricants such as petroleum jelly or Vaseline
- Curing tape
- Razor blade
- Glass cleaner
Here is how to prep the windshield for repair. Proper preparation is key to making sure the process works.
- Plan to do your repairs in the sunshine or consider using a UV lamp. The resin that fills your cracks needs to be cured with ultraviolet light in order to work.
- Put on your gloves and use the tweezers to tap out any broken glass caught in the windshield.
- Clean any dust out of the windshield using the cloth and acetone.
- Make sure the windshield is completely dry before starting. The best way to make sure is to blow it with a hairdryer.
When your windshield is prepped and ready, it is time to use the windshield repair kit.
- Set up the applicator. Depending on the brand that you use, different applicators will have a different setup, but you need to identify the following:
- The syringe or barrel that loads the resin and the cap that closes it
- The dial or bold that adjusts pressure
- Read the directions carefully from start to finish so you are aware of how the process works.
- If you have a long crack that doesn’t end in a circular hole, then you will need to tap a small hole in the crack, with a strong needle, drill bit or the end of tweezers until a hole appears. In some situations, you may have to use a drill.
- Put the resin in the applicator. Make sure to pay close attention to whether or not it is the resin to fill cracks or the resin to fill chips.
- Cover the suction cups with your lubricant and place the resin applicator over the hole at the end of the crack.
- Apply the resin according to your model’s instructions by pushing the resin into the crack going back and forth.
- Seal the crack with a single slow upward movement, using the end of your applicator. You will still be able to see the crack.
- Go back through and fill chips and dents with the kit’s thicker resin. If there is a star-shaped chip with no bullseye crack in the middle, you need to create a bullseye first.
- Use curing tape (or curing strips or tabs) to hold the resin in place so it doesn’t come out of the crack while drying.
- Allow the resin to cure by leaving the repaired area in the sun or putting it under a UV light until the resin has cured. This can take anywhere from a half hour to two hours.
- Use a razor blade to scrape off the curing strip and the excess resin and wipe clean with a glass cleaner once you are finished.
How to Fix a Cracked Windshield Using Bug Spray, Salt and Rubbing Alcohol
There are a number of online sources that claim cracked windshields can be repaired simply by using a few household items: bug spray, salt and rubbing alcohol. While it may seem too simple, and too good to be true, this approach can actually help with cracked windshields, given the crack isn’t too extensive.
While most experts will recommend using an actual windshield repair kit, others have found that this mixture can actually fill cracks, especially small cracks, and ones along the outside of the windshield. It can also be a temporary solution until you are able to have the windshield professionally replaced or repaired. Here’s how it works:
Gather the following supplies:
- Bug spray
- Rubbing alcohol
- Clean Rag
With all of these supplies in tow. Follow these instructions to repair your windshield.
- Mix ¼ cup water ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon bug repellent and ½ teaspoon rubbing alcohol into a bowl. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
- Dip a clean rag into the solution and rub it into the crack. Repeat the process until the entire solution is gone.
- Let the windshield dry for several hours before using. Wipe clean with glass cleaner if there are smears on the windshield.
With this solution, the rubbing alcohol and bug spray will chemically react together to soften the plastic cover that goes over glass windshields. The salt will act as a temporary filler to repair the cracks.