In some cases it may be difficult for a customer to tell the difference between a scratch and a crack in their windshield. In this case, an auto glass technician should be consulted. Obviously, cracks need to be repaired right away in order to avoid more expensive repairs to the windshield. It is usually not necessary to replace an entire windshield simply because of scratches, because in many cases they can be removed or diminished significantly.
Scratch vs Crack
A scratch in the windshield does not go all the way through the glass, like a crack does. However, it can become worse over time. Scratches may obstruct vision, making driving more dangerous. Scratches can also be simply annoying to some drivers. The best way to avoid scratches is to change windshield wiper blades regularly (see our guide on the best blades here); however, scratches from road debris are inevitably going to occur on any windshield.
How to Repair Windshield Scratch
Car windshield glass scratch repair can be done professionally or with DIY kit.
Light scratches can often be polished away, removing them or significantly reducing their appearance. First, a tape will be placed around the area to define the work space. Then, a special polish will be mixed with water and applied to the area of the scratches. A buffing component attached to either a drill or a low-speed buffer will be used on the area, similar to the way a sander is used to smooth wood furniture. The motion will be continued until the scratches are buffed away.
The success of this method will depend upon the severity of the scratches. The depth of scratches can be determined by running a fingernail over them. If the fingernail catches on a scratch, it may be too deep to be polished away completely. Otherwise, the scratches are known as “haze” and can almost always be polished out of the windshield with a basic polishing kit.
Many customers polish their windshields themselves with basic kits (take a look at the best windshield repair kits here) and our DIY repair guide here. Of course, it is important to remember that damage can occur any time an amateur attempts their own car repairs.
You can see our quick guide to remove scratches from windshields to learn more or learn more about the best products and methods here.
Deep scratches require specialty polishing kits, and these types of repairs should be performed by a professional. A windshield repair technician can provide a quote for scratch repair, depending upon the depth of the scratches as well as the area to be repaired.