Repair The Crack In Your Windshield: When And How To Do It

August 18, 2023
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There doesn’t have to be a hailstorm for your windshield to crack. Something as tiny as a pebble can create a spiderweb of fractures. The good news is a windshield crack is fixable.

Often a crack on the windshield is patchable when it’s smaller than a quarter. A DIY repair kit can temporarily conceal the damage with an epoxy resin.  

We’re here to share the details.

Types of Windshield Cracks

Not all windshield cracks can be remedied in the same way so it’s important to know what kind you’re dealing with before deciding on any course of action. There are 7 major kinds of windshield cracks. Note, that some can be repaired while others must be replaced for safety.

  1. Stress
  2. Edge
  3. Floaters
  4. Stars
  5. Bulls Eye
  6. Chip
  7. Combination

Stress Cracks

This type of crack is internal. If you run your fingers over the area it will feel smooth. Stress cracks are commonly caused by extreme temperature fluctuations and should be replaced by auto glass specialists before becoming bigger and more problematic. Stress cracks are a hazard to visibility and driving.  

Edge Cracks

These are cracks that form close to the edge of the windshield or directly on the end. They are around 25-30 centimeters in length and are usually caused by excessive heat or pressure on the windshield frame. Although they may be small, edge cracks can affect the seal of the windshield. Depending on the size of the crack, a repair may or may not be possible.

Floater Cracks

Temperature fluctuations also cause floaters which occur in the middle of the windshield. A floater that is 6 inches or more is irreparable and needs replacement with a specialist. There is not a repair kit available that will fix this crack.

Stars

These are more easily repairable than other cracks if caught when they are still relatively small. They are chips with thin cracks eeking from them like stars. This is fairly common when driving on the road, as following too close to vehicles or when debris is on the road.

Bulls Eye

Just like on an archery target, this crack is a smaller circle, or chip, within a larger one. It is caused by impact from debris or objects traveling at high speeds. There are repair kits for this crack/chip at most auto repair shops.

Chip

A chip is a small nick on the surface of the windshield and is repairable with a DIY kit.

Combination

Cracks and chips and everything else. A windshield with combination damage is in need of replacement. This is the sort of damage caused by hail or a car accident. Please do not try and DIY repair a combination crack.

Is Windshield Replacement Needed?

If after identifying the crack in your windshield you are still unsure whether it needs repairing or replacing, here are some helpful tips to follow.

  1. Quarter Rule

If a chip is smaller than a quarter and a crack is shorter than 3 inches then both can be patched using epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth. Anything larger than a quarter is usually in need of an auto glass specialist and windshield replacement.

  1. Take Photos

If you can’t tell whether the chip/crack is getting bigger, document it with your phone, tracking the size. Side-by-side photos reveal what your eyes might have missed. If the crack is rapidly increasing then it needs repairing immediately.

  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

It is considered a federal regulation violation to drive with a windshield that has a chip or crack “greater than ¾ in diameter.” If the crack is larger than 8 inches or progressively webbing/spidering. It is potentially life-threatening.

How to use a Windshield Repair Kit

The good news, the crack is repairable. What now? Buy an at-home repair kit by Permatex, Blue Star, or Rain-X (the best windshield repair kits) and get to work.

Begin by cleaning the site with a fiberglass cloth and using a thumbtack to scrape out granules of loose glass. Place the kit’s adhesive disc around the crack while gently securing it.

Too much pressure will worsen the existing crack. Stick the pedestal onto the adhesive disc so that the crack/chip is in the middle. Follow the kit’s instructions for applying the resin and allowing it to bond properly. This often takes more time than you think, so plan accordingly.

For further information follow this demonstration.

How to Fix a Chipped or Cracked Windshield (Like Brand New)

Is a Windshield Repair Kit Permanent?  

A DIY windshield repair kit is not considered permanent. A quality kit guarantees a year. However, the bonding resin in a DIY kit is not as strong as the resin used by professionals.

Prevent Future Cracks and Chips

Unfortunately, the damage is done for now, but do these to prevent future cracks and chips from forming on your windshield:

  • Park in shaded areas
  • Avoid closely following construction vehicles
  • Never place heavy items on or near your windshield
  • Receive car maintenance checks yearly

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