How To Fix A Cracked Windshield?

How To Fix A Cracked Windshield?


A small crack in your windshield can seem like a minor problem at first, but it can quickly become a major auto glass problem if you ignore it. No one wants a cracked windshield in their driver’s direct line of vision. 

1 million windshields are replaced every year in Canada. Unless you get the crack inspected right away, it could spread and cause irreparable damage. Your windshield could become one of the millions that require auto glass replacement or repairs.

Understanding why windshield cracks spread and knowing how to stop them from spreading will save you time and money down the road. It will also keep you safe on your next road trip.

Why Do Windshield Cracks Spread?

Windshield cracks spread mostly because of stress on the windshield and environmental factors.

Stress is put on your windshield anytime you drive. Windshields help provide structural support to your vehicle. When you drive over rough roads, speed bumps, or potholes, it causes vibrations that put even more stress on your windshield, especially any small cracks. These small cracks weaken your windshield’s strength and integrity. This continual stress, along with minor impacts like a small stone hitting your windshield, can cause a crack to lengthen or branch out.

Outdoor temperature changes can also make cracks worsen, as the glass in your windshield expands and contracts. You see this most clearly in cold weather months during freezing when drivers use heat in their windshield defrosters and large cracks suddenly appear. Chances are if you’ve been hit by flying debris, ice, or even an animal, your windshield has many cracks and isn’t safe to drive.

Water and debris entering the crack can also cause your windshield to weaken, leading to cracks spreading.

Windshield Repair vs. Windshield Replacement

If you’re dealing with a windshield chip or crack, you have two options: repair it or replace it.

Whether you should repair or replace depends on the size, location, and severity of the crack. Maybe you’re more concerned about how much windshield replacement costs vs. repair. 

Minor cracks or chips that are less than a few centimetres long and aren’t in the driver’s line of sight can be repaired. Windshield crack repair is not only quicker and cheaper, but also preserves the original factory seal of the windshield.

Cracked Windshield Size

If the crack is longer than a few centimetres, or if it obstructs the driver’s view, replacement is probably your best option. When you have cracks at the edge of the windshield or cracks with multiple lines branching out, it’s also time to replace them. Getting your windshield replaced is more expensive, but your safety and the safety of your passengers is worth it. A compromised windshield can fail in an accident or even from a large rock.

Chips of 2.5 centimetres or less in diameter and cracks that measure under 8 cm long are the simplest size to fix, although auto glass repair may be possible for chips up to 7.5 cm and cracks up to 35.5 cm.

Severity of Cracked Windshield

Your vehicle’s windshield is manufactured from laminated safety glass, consisting of two layers of glass sandwiching a thin piece of vinyl. Damage which affects only the outer layer can usually be repaired. However, if it’s deep enough to go through the outer layer and harm the vinyl or the interior glass, you’ll need a windshield replacement. In addition, replacement is almost always needed whenever the inner glass has been damaged, whether or not the damage runs into the outer layer of glass.

Cracked Windshield Location

In Ontario, the law is somewhat vague about windshields. Section 74 (1) of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act says: “No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway (a) unless the windshield and the windows on either side of the compartment containing the steering wheel are in such a condition as to afford the driver a clear view to the front and side of the motor vehicle.”1 In Alberta and Quebec, any crack longer than 12 millimetres within the area swept by the windshield wipers can get you a ticket.

While windshield repairs are quick, cost-effective, and often covered by insurance, they’re only suitable for certain cracks or chips, not for severe damage. A windshield replacement, while more expensive and time-consuming, maintains the structural integrity of your vehicle and provides a clear view.

It’s important to assess the size and depth of chips and cracks on your windshield and determine whether repair or replacement is necessary. Consulting with a professional, such as BEMAC, can help you make the right decision.

1 Ontario Highway Traffic Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 ; Section 74 (1).

How to Fix a Cracked Windshield

Here are steps to DIY fix a windshield crack.

  1. Purchase a windshield repair kit: A DIY kit kit can be bought online or from an auto parts store. NOTE: Due to the size of the chip or crack, these aren’t always the best solution. It’s best to work with an auto glass repair company.
  2. Clean the area: Gently clean the crack and the surrounding area. Spray glass cleaner directly or a mild detergent with warm water. Use a microfiber cloth to remove any dirt and debris.
  3. Apply the resin: Follow the instructions in your repair kit. This usually involves placing a special adhesive patch or suction device over the crack to create a vacuum. The vacuum helps the resin penetrate deep into the crack, ensuring a strong bond. Carefully apply the resin to the crack through the applicator, allowing it to fill the damaged area completely.
  4. Cure the resin: Use the curing strips included in the kit and let the resin dry completely in direct sunlight, or use a UV light to cure it, which usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove excess resin: Once cured, remove the curing strips and scrape off any excess resin with a razor blade, making the surface smooth.

Other DIY Solutions

Superglue and clear nail polish can also work as a temporary fix until you can get to an auto parts store or repair shop. These household products should only be used to stop a windshield crack from spreading if the crack is small.

Superglue

For superglue, very gently apply the glue in an even layer over the crack. Wait for it to completely dry before using your car.

Nail Polish

For clear nail polish, clean away any dust and dirt that has gotten into the crack before applying a generous amount to both the inside and outside of your windshield. Let dry completely before moving your car.

Remember that working with a professional auto glass repair company like BEMAC is often your best choice. While DIY repair kits provide a temporary fix for minor cracks and chips, they are not a permanent solution for larger cracks or more severe damage. If the crack appears again or worsens, consult a professional and have your entire windshield fixed correctly or replaced if needed.

How Long Does Windshield Repair Take?

Windshield repair typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. The process involves cleaning the crack, applying the resin, and allowing it to cure. Replacement, on the other hand, can take a few hours, including the time needed for the adhesive to set properly before the vehicle can be safely driven again.

For the best results and peace of mind, consider bringing your windshield BEMAC. Our experienced and expert technicians use high-quality materials and advanced techniques to ensure your windshield is fixed or replaced safely and securely. Don’t let a small crack turn into a big headache—contact Bemac today for expert windshield repair and replacement services.

Without a Repair, Cracks Can Spread and Put You in Danger

Whether it’s a repair or replacement, the most important thing when you get a crack, chip or scratch in your windshield is to take action.

Your windshield doesn’t just help you see – it helps protect you on the road. Those two layers of glass and polyvinyl are responsible for the structural integrity of your roof, support passenger airbags, and protect you if you’re thrown forward.

A crack compromises your safety and the safety of those traveling with you. And that’s the last thing you want.

Make an appointment with us to have the crack in your windshield examined as soon as possible. We’ll get you back on the road as soon and as safely as possible.

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