A windshield crack could appear out of nowhere anytime, and it can be stressful to deal with if you don’t know your options. While a total replacement is the best possible solution, if there’s no full insurance coverage, those cracks could mean breaking your bank. But not all cracks could end in a replacement. Some are repairable for a cost. You’ll also be happy to know there are a couple of instant fixes using items you can pick right from your kitchen. Likewise, there are permanent repairs for a small price to pay. But how did the crack end up on your windshield? It would help to know the possible causes so you can avoid the cracks in the first place.
- What Causes Cracks in the Windshield
- How to Avoid Windshield Crack
- How to Fix Cracked Windshields Using Household Items
- Fixing the Cracks with Windshield Repair Kits
- Best DIY Windshield Crack Repair
- Best Selling Windshield Repair Kits
What Causes Cracks in the Windshield
The truth is that cracks don’t just appear out of nowhere. There are many reasons why they emerge. Some are human-made, while others are environmental. Knowing these elements that can cause damage to your windshield can help you avoid cracks altogether.
Rocks and Debris
Arguably, the most common cause for rock chips and cracks on the car’s windshield is the flying debris kicked up by the vehicle’s tires ahead. Some flying rocks are big enough to shatter the glass. But you can also be lucky in the midst of an accident to be hit by a small rock, causing only a minor crack that you can fix using one of the DIY windshield crack repair techniques.
Extreme temperature swings may cause the glass to shrink and expand, eventually leading to cracks rapidly. After parking your car under the heat of the sun for several hours, turning on your air conditioning system to full blast may not be a good idea, especially if the windshield is still too hot from hours of exposure. The sudden temperature changes will break the glass into cracks, especially if the external surface is heated by the sun while the inner surface is cooled down by the air conditioner.
Windshields are not perfect, and some factory defects may cause cracks to appear over time. Likewise, poor installation of the windshield can lead to imbalance and improper alignment. The uneven distribution of the wind load may soon have a windshield tool, eventually resulting in cracks.
The condition outside can also affect the integrity of your windshield. Sudden weather changes will never cease to give you a surprise. Sometimes, a hailstorm will occur out of nowhere, and your car is caught under a heavy fire of solid ice pellets that could damage your windshield.
How to Avoid Windshield Crack
While cracks are generally unavoidable, there are measures you can take to minimize the risks and avoid a disaster. These cracks emerged as a result of various road activities and outdoor conditions. Understanding the circumstances that lead to greater risks for getting a crack is the best way to ensure your car is safe from unwanted accidents that could ruin your finances.
Keep Distance and Avoid Tailgating
The threads on the tires may collect road debris and tiny rocks. While they are hard-pressed against the thread walls, they are thrown at high speed, resulting in flying rocks that could hit the windshield of the vehicles behind, thus resulting in cracks or rock chips. But by keeping a safe distance from the vehicles ahead, you can avoid being hit by those flying rocks and lower the risks of getting cracks, especially at high speed. Alternatively, changing lanes can also help in minimizing the risks.
Choose Your Route Wisely
Another way of preventing windshield damages is to choose your route wisely by avoiding dirt and gravel roads and construction delivery routes. Traversing cemented or asphalt roads littered with tiny rocks and grime left by construction vehicles increases your risk for glass damages on your car since these small rocks will be kicked up by the tires of the other vehicles and thrown to those behind them. Likewise, traveling through gravel roads further increases these risks. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you to ensure your windshield won’t get caught by flying debris. The faster the speed of the vehicle, the longer the distance should be.
Be Alert For Large Vehicles without Mud Flaps
Large vehicles are the usual ones to throw debris behind because they have bigger wheels with wider threads that collect bigger rocks. Some trucks have double rear tires or four-wheel rear tires, and the space between the two tires is a great place for big rocks to get caught and thrown at high speed.
In this case, you won’t get just rock chips and small cracks, but sometimes an instant total windshield break, shattered into pieces by the flying debris. For this reason, large vehicles and trucks have mud flaps behind each rear wheel to avoid causing accidents to the vehicles behind them, aside from throwing mud. Thus, watch out for large vehicles without mud flaps, including those with damaged flaps. Keep a safe distance from these trucks, or change lanes to avoid possible accidents.
Keep Track of the Weather Reports
Sometimes, it’s good to check the weather reports from time to time. You’ll never know when a hailstorm is coming unless you keep yourself updated regularly with the weather reports. Otherwise, a hailstorm in the middle of the road will catch you by surprise without a shelter nearby to keep your car safe from the downpour. The rock-solid ice pellet could damage your car’s windshield or cause the appearance of multiple cracks, resulting in a complete glass replacement. Indeed, it pays off to be updated with the weather condition of the areas you plan to travel for the day.
Pay Close Attention to Where You Park
It also helps to pay close attention to where you park. Parking near children’s playgrounds exposes your vehicle to a greater risk of getting hit by a ball or any other items the children are using to play nearby. The children could be playing with small rocks, bats, softball, tennis, snowballs, and sticks — you’ll never know what’s going to come in a play. To be sure, choose a parking space with sufficient distance from playing fields to avoid looming accidents. Likewise, avoid parking under trees with hard falling seed pods. You may enjoy the benefit of the shade, but once those seed pods fall off and hit the windshield, they could end up in a crack or worse.
How to Fix Cracked Windshields Using Household Items
You can fix a repairable crack in a variety of options. Some may require household products, while other glass damages may need repair kits designed for windshield cracks. It may sound cheaper to use a couple of household items for the repair, but the practical choice would be the products made specially to endure the stress and heavy loads the windshield endures every day. But if the crack is so small and insignificant, the household options could work. Nonetheless, below are the DIY household items you can use to repair windshield cracks.
Clear Nail Polish
Acrylic nail polish has multiple uses aside from polishing nails, and it can be a quick fix for windshield cracks. The viscosity of the clear nail polish makes them perfect in filling the crannies of the windshield cracks. When it dries, the polish seals the crack and hardens in crystal-clear form that looks like glass, minimizing the crack’s visibility. It is also resistant to heat and water.
Applying Nail Polish to Remove Cracks
To start with the repair, follow these simple steps:
- Clean the area around the crack using a combo of dish soap and lukewarm water.
- Wipe off moisture using a clean microfiber cloth, then gently apply the clear nail polish directly on the crack.
- Remove the excess polish and let the repair dry for a couple of minutes. After drying, you’re good to go, and the crack should be less visible than before.
Take note that the nail polish method is a short-term or temporary repair. The nail polish is arguably not tough enough for the rough conditions outdoors. You may have observed that the polish you applied to your nail faded after a week or two. How much more if applied on the windshield that is regularly exposed to direct sunlight and heavy rains.
Cost of Repair
In terms of cost, the price of clear nail polish in the US ranges from $8 to $20. Sometimes, it is at par or even more expensive than the cost of a permanent fix, although you can use the remaining amount of nail polish for polishing fingernails.
Do It Yourself Mix of Rubbing Alcohol and Bug Spray
Who would ever think that alcohol can be helpful for glass cracks? It works like magic when paired with bug spray, water, and salt to form a mixture for a quick repair on windshield cracks.
Preparing the DIY Mix for Crack Removal
To prepare the repair mixture:
- Take a teaspoon each of rubbing alcohol, salt, and bug spray, and mix in a half-full cup of water.
- Mix thoroughly until the salt dissolves fully and the mixture is clear.
- Take a sponge and dip it in the mixture and rub gently on the crack.
- Wipe off the repair zone using a clean, lint-free cloth or a microfiber cloth until the area becomes glossy.
You will be surprised by the improvement of the crack visibility using these household items without breaking the bank.
There’s a video of the step-by-step process of using the DIY mix of alcohol and bug spray plus salt and water to remove scratches.
Cost of Repair
The DIY mix is more expensive considering bug spray and alcohol use. Bugs spray will cost you around $10 up to $20, depending on the brand. Moreso, you’ll have to spend another $10 to $20 on the alcohol, which is getting expensive due to the pandemic’s rising demand. All in all, the total cost could skyrocket to an average of $50, which is almost twice the cost of permanent repairs.
The Crazy Glue
It does sound crazy that a super glue works wonders for windshield cracks, but sometimes it does. Clear super glue hardens into a crystal clear seal and firmly adheres to the surface for quite some time. But just like the other household items, the crazy glue only provides a temporary fix. It isn’t made for the rough driving conditions the windshield endures amid quick-changing extreme temperatures. Until you can find a permanent fix, the crazy glue method is a good solution for sealing the crack to prevent debris and dust from settling in the deep cuts while temporarily stopping the crack’s spread.
Steps in Applying the Glue to Remove Scratch
To begin the repair, prepare a few things first. Aside from the superglue, you’ll need a cotton swab, a glue remover, and a microfiber cloth.
- Clean the damaged zone using the microfiber cloth. Check for debris that settled inside the crack, and use a needle or pin if necessary to remove the particles.
- Once the area is clean, apply the super glue directly over the crack. Use the cotton swab to remove the excess glue and allow a few minutes or an hour for the glue to settle in and toughen.
- Use the glue remover to remove the excess glue and smoothen the surface.
- Wipe the repaired zone for a gloss finish again.
Cost of Repair
The price of glue is $5 on average and another $5 for the cotton swab. The total cost of repair should be less than $10. Since these are household and school items, the repair should come as cost-free because you are getting these products from what you already have at home.
Other Household Items for Fixing Windshield Cracks
You’ll come across other household items for fixing glass damages. Aside from the ones mentioned above, however, some may work only for scratches, which are minor with shallow breaks on the glass’s outer parts. On the other hand, cracks generally have deeper cuts that could quickly spread if unattended for quite some time.
To differentiate between a scratch and crack, run a fingernail test. If your fingernail catches the break, it’s a crack. Otherwise, it is just a scratch. Below are some household items that may work in removing windshield scratches and rarely work on cracks.
Toothpaste for Crack Repair
Toothpaste is one of the household items some people are using for repairing glass cracks. However, most of these repairs are common in mobile phone screen cracks. But keep in mind that the thickness of cellular phone screens is thin compared to windshields. Also, they are not exposed to extreme heat and heavy rain as windshields do.
However, toothpaste may sometimes work in removing scratches because it acts as a grinding paste that smoothens the surface, thereby effectively removing light scratches on the glass. But cracks have breaks and are beyond the scope of toothpaste. So, steer clear from using toothpaste for repairing cracks. Check out this YouTube video that shows the effects of using toothpaste for removing windshield cracks.
Price-wise, the average cost of toothpaste in the US is more or less $5. This means you’ll be spending close to this amount on a temporary repair of the crack. You will also spend further for permanent repairs, thereby adding to the total cost of windshield repair.
The almighty baking soda has plenty of uses outside the kitchen, and it is also used for fixing glass problems, particularly scratches. Like toothpaste, it only works for minor damages like a scratch, and the repair it provides is temporary. If you want a more professional DIY approach, use windshield repair kits readily available in several brick-and-mortar stores and some online shops. These kits have the qualities that meet the demands of driving and outdoor conditions.
Fixing the Cracks with Windshield Repair Kits
When it comes to permanent repair, there can only be two things at your disposal. You can either let the glass experts do the professional job for you, or you can opt for the DIY windshield crack repair kits available on the shelves of nearby stores. They are also available in major online shops like Amazon. But the marketplace can be too overwhelming considering the numerous seemingly similar products in the windshield repair business. While there are a couple of best kits for glass cracks, one of the top products is the Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit.
In terms of price points, the average cost of hiring professional glass experts is around $50 for a single crack. The cost will increase with multiple cracks. On the other hand, these windshield repair kits will only cost from $8 to $20 on average, thus making it more practical compared to professional services.
Many drivers would turn to the Rain-X Repair Kit to fix cracks on the windshield because of the straightforward process that requires no technical expertise to perform the tasks. It prevents cracks from spreading further across the glass and makes the superficial problem look less revolting. Rain-X effectively makes the crack disappear by first removing air from the glass breaks to prevent bubbles before filling the gaps with a strong liquid resin.
Likewise, the product works best when applied as soon as the crack appears while no water or dirt has contaminated the crack yet. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend more time digging that dirt out to avoid sealing them, resulting in a bad repair. There are also limits to what it can repair. It only works if the crack is less than a foot long. Beyond this length, you may need a more professional method of repair. But for minor cracks, it’s the best solution. Check out the more detailed review of the Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit, and you’ll understand why many people turn to this brand to fix their crack problem.
- Easy to use - takes only minutes
- Repairs all types of laminated windshields
- Minimizes the appearance of chips and cracks and stops them from spreading
Last update on 2021-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best DIY Windshield Crack Repair
There may be a broad range of options for repairing windshield cracks. The DIY household items like the nail polish, the crazy glue, and the DIY mix may work in some cases, but they can only temporarily fix the crack problem. That doesn’t mean you can scrape off these options altogether.
Household items still present a viable option in the absence of professional repair kits to avoid dust and moisture from entering the cracks by effectively sealing the breaks. But once the windshield repair kits are available and on-hand, you should shift to permanent repairs to avoid further crack spread and minimize the glass break’s visibility. These professional DIY windshield repairs have the materials and strength for a durable and long-lasting finish, thus making them the most practical solution to windshield crack issues.
Best Selling Windshield Repair Kits
Last update on 2021-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API