The moment the car hits the road, it is exposed to all sorts of dangers, even if you drive carefully. One of the unavoidable risks is having flying rocks and tiny road debris kicked up by the vehicle’s tires ahead, hitting the windshield, causing glass cracks and chips. These accidents usually happen while traveling on dirt roads, driving behind trucks, during a hailstorm, and even while parking in accident-prone areas or being towed by a tow truck. In a blink of an eye, there might be a horrible windshield crack or scratch, and you certainly don’t want to spend your busy day looking for ways to repair windshield scratches. It can be worrisome to get involved in such an accident. But if you know the ins and outs of rock chip repair, there’s no need to worry, especially if the damage is minimal and repairable.
- What Is a Rock Chip?
- Different Types of Rock Chips
- Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Rock Chip?
- Is the Rock Chip in My Windshield Repairable?
- Rock Chip Repair Options
- What to Expect from Your Repair
- Does Car Insurance Cover Rock Chip Repairs?
- Windshield Rock Chips: Does It Pay to Repair Them?
- Final Thoughts
- Best Selling Rock Chip Glass Repair Kits
What Is a Rock Chip?
A rock chip is a type of windshield damage that appears as a result of an impact with a stone or debris flying from other vehicles on the road. Some glass pieces come off from the windshield during the impact, leaving a windshield crack or scar called a rock chip. But unlike hairline-shaped cracks, chip damages are concentrated around the impact point with generally circular or half-circular shapes.
When a chip appears on your vehicle’s windshield, it is essential to fix the chips immediately to achieve a good repair job. Delaying the repair could result in spreading cracks that increase the size of the chip, big enough beyond repair. Likewise, the repair job’s quality can also be affected by how quickly you fix the chips the moment they appear.
There are multiple options for rock chip repairs. But understanding the type of chip that is repairable is an excellent way to start since this can help you choose the best solution for the issue.
Different Types of Rock Chips
Rock chips have different sizes, structural damage, shapes, and depth. Depending on the object that causes the impact on the windshield glass, a rock chip may form into one of the few common types of glass chips.
A star chip happens when the damage has multiple tiny line cracks shooting outward from the point of impact. This is usually caused by small stones or pebbles kicked up by the tires of the car ahead. Since there are already microscopic line cracks, there is great potential for these cracks to spread further if left unrepaired for quite some time. So, make sure to immediately fix star chips as it happens to avoid spreading the cracks beyond repair.
Half Moon Chip
A half-moon chip happens when the trajectory of the flying debris is sideways, causing a half-moon shaped damage on the glass. A half-moon chip can be trickier to repair because of the shape. But a windshield rock chip repair kit with application devices can quickly fix half-moon chips with ease.
As the name suggests, a combo chip is a combination of both star and half-moon chips. Thus, the impact on the glass is stronger because it not only caused a half-moon chip but also some minor cracks around the point of impact. Fixing a combo chip is usually intricate, and it may require special tools to ensure the repair liquid is accurately applied to the damage zone. Fortunately, there are products in the market that are bundled with all the necessary tools you need for the repair, and they cost cheaper than a windshield replacement.
Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Rock Chip?
A windshield rock chip is not something you can put off fixing, but an immediate repair is mandatory to avoid the risks. Any form of damage to the glass compromises the integrity of the windshield and the entire vehicle. It also increases the risks for bodily injuries during an accident because the chip becomes the weak point that can lead to shattered glasses.
Sometimes, a windshield with unrepaired rock chips will just shatter during heavy impact when driving on rocky roads or when you speed over or fail to see a road hump. Thus, it is dangerous to drive with a chip on the windshield without taking immediate action on the problem.
Is the Rock Chip in My Windshield Repairable?
A rock chip doesn’t have to end in a windshield replacement. Depending on several factors, you can fix the chip for a minimal price. Knowing what type of rock chip is repairable is one of the keys to achieving a successful solution to the windshield chip problem. There are three key elements that determine if a rock chip is repairable or not.
Chips less than ¼” in diameter can be repaired with DIY tools. Those that extend beyond the size may require a more professional approach, sometimes a total replacement of the windshield. A common method of assessing the damage is the quarter coin test. Place a quarter coin directly above the rock chip. If you can’t see the chip because the coin completely covers the damage, then it is repairable. Otherwise, unless you know how to fix a cracked windshield, you may need help from glass professionals for expert advice.
The chip depth is another essential parameter. It should not extend to the other side of the glass surface. Otherwise, a replacement is required. The ideal windshield chip depth that is repairable is only halfway through the glass. Beyond the middle of the glass, a replacement is the best option.
The location of the chip in the windshield is similarly essential, as this may break all hopes of repair even if the rock chip is so small and repairable. Any form of damage to the windshield, regardless of the size that falls within the driver’s direct line of sight, is not repairable. Thus a total windshield replacement is mandatory. The direct line of visuals for the driver is the area covered by the wiper blades of the driver’s side.
Rock Chip Repair Options
You’ll have a range of options when it comes to fixing the annoying rock chips on the windshield. It’s important to know the available choices so you can choose the right solution for the type of damage applicable in your case.
Using Epoxy or Acrylic Adhesive or Fillers for Chip Repair
One of the easiest ways to fill a chip in the windshield is by using an epoxy or acrylic adhesive filler. If the chip is shallow, then it is repairable. One of the methods is using clear epoxy or acrylic adhesives that harden to a clear glass-like finish, blending well with the glass, which reduces the appearance of the chip. Acrylic adhesives and epoxy materials may work at first in getting rid of the glass chip. They are generally temporary fixes that do not last long, especially under the rough outdoor conditions of driving where there is constant exposure to rain, snow, and extreme heat.
Professional Rock Chip Repair
Seeking help from a reputable company to fix rock chips is always an option, especially if you’re not fond of doing DIY projects. This also ensures you’ll get a shop-quality repair done by professionals equipped with the right tools for the job. Just make sure to use the services of trusted and licensed individuals.
Some automotive glass shops offer free quotes, allowing you to find the best deals in your area. In some locations, mobile rock chip services are also available. Some states offer same-day delivery services for windshield replacement. So, check out your local listing for such offers. You could get the best deal to fix the problem without extra effort on your part for an additional cost.
The cost of rock chip repair is usually around $50 for the first chip and $10–$15 for additional chips. If the damage is large enough and beyond repair, a complete windshield replacement is usually advisable.
Windshield Rock Chip Repair Kits
There are products specially designed for fixing windshield glass breaks and rock chips. These were tested and proven to work in minimizing the appearance of chips and cracks on the windshield. While there are some products in the market for fixing glass damages, these windshield chip repair kits were made specifically for windshields, which are in constant exposure to the harsh outdoor and driving environment. They are also resistant to moisture and heat. Thus, it is best to use windshield glass repair kits as opposed to ordinary products for fixing glass breaks and cracks like epoxy and acrylic adhesives.
These kits are using either silicone or liquid resin to repair the damage to the glass. These materials have the properties that ensure durability and high-quality repair. They also have the strength to endure the harsh driving condition while having the viscosity to easily fill in the gaps in the cracks.
What to Expect from Your Repair
The process of repairing a chipped windshield is usually quick and simple. While the repair is usually done by a glass expert, any person of driving age can already perform the tasks with the help of detailed instruction manuals included in each product. There are also many resources online with videos of the step-by-step process of the repair.
- The first step is to assess the damage to come up with an appropriate repair solution. The assessment will involve measuring the size and identifying the type of chip, which is critical in finding the right solution for the problem. Some chips are too large to repair, which will lead to a total replacement.
- The next step is to clean the area to ensure no moisture or dirt is left on the chip when the repair liquid is applied. Otherwise, the dirt will be sealed, causing a cloudy spot on the windshield.
- The final step is sealing the chip with a special resin material that hardens after curing under direct sunlight or ultraviolet light. The resin dries clear and blends with the windshield glass. Wipe off the excess resin to maintain the smooth surface of the windshield.
The entire process should take about 15-30 minutes for the actual repair and another thirty minutes to one hour for the curing time. All in all, the total repair time will take about an hour or two, and your windshield is restored to its pristine state.
Does Car Insurance Cover Rock Chip Repairs?
Insurance companies have different coverage plans for windshield damages. But a comprehensive insurance coverage usually includes repair and replacements of cracked or shattered windshields. But the windshield has a separate coverage called full glass coverage, which protects car owners against the expensive costs of repairs or total windshield replacement.
Sometimes, car owners are put off by deductibles when availing for total windshield replacement. But it helps to know that in some states, they have regulations mandating insurers not to apply deductibles for claims on damages to automotive safety glasses like windshields. So, if there are multiple rock chips on the glass of your vehicle, it is best to opt for full glass insurance coverage if your insurance policy has one.
Windshield Rock Chips: Does It Pay to Repair Them?
Fixing rock chips in windshields will only cost a few dollars compared to the hundreds of dollars you will spend on a total replacement. Thus, to save money, it is practical to fix them as long as they’re still repairable. But safety should remain the top priority over cost. If the damage is big enough, do not hesitate for a replacement to avoid unnecessary consequences.
Fixing Rock Chips with Windshield Repair Kits
There are windshield rock chip repair kits available in stores that come complete with the necessary accessories and tools for the repair. Some are solo kits with only one item containing the repair liquid. These solo kits are best for shallow cracks. But rock chips and bullseye breaks require a more complex solution because the damage is concentrated around the point of impact, with possible microscopic cracks around it. In this case, there is a need to put pressure on forcing the repair liquid deeper into the cuts for the best quality result.
Tools Necessary for Repairing Rock Chips
You need more than just a solo kit of a single tube of liquid resin for rock chips. Other tools are necessary to ensure a clean finish. Utmost accuracy during the application process is critical to the success of the repair job. Some tools can also help suction air out of the crack in windshields to ensure no bubbles will appear when the repair liquid is applied.
Fortunately, most rock chip repair kits already contain the necessary items so that you can complete the job with a single kit. No other items are needed, except for the microfiber cloth for cleaning the area after the repair. Below are the standard tools you need for the repair:
- Liquid Repair Resin – most kits use liquid resin for the repair. They are usually packaged in a tube to easily apply the repair liquid directly into the damage.
- Repair Device – the repair tool helps the liquid resin flow through the deep cracks and ensures a more accurate application of the repair resin to the rock chip. The device design may vary from one brand to another, and some have simple designs without installation needed.
- Curing Strip – the curing strip covers the newly repaired area during curing to protect the area from dirt while the repair liquid is still soft and in the process of hardening.
- Razor Blade – this is used to scrape off the excess residue after the repair to clean and smoothen the area.
- Instruction Sheet – every kit should have a detailed instruction manual that contains the step-by-step process of repairing the rock chip using the product and the tools.
Best Windshield Repair Kits for Rock Chips
While there are plenty of brands that offer the best solutions for rock chip repairs, below are among the top choices based on good reviews, effective repair, and straightforward process. These brands are also well-respected in the industry, with a reputation for excellent durability and high quality. The cost of these kits ranges from $10 to $20.
Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit provides one of the best solutions to rock chip problems with a straightforward repair device that makes the process quick and easy. It minimizes the appearance of the chip and prevents the spread of the crack on the windshield. Rain-X uses a highly advanced resin formula that toughens to make the repair area stronger and durable against heat and rain. This is the best product to use for fixing rock chips less than an inch in diameter.
- Stops The Spread of Chips and Cracks - Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit Helps You Minimize The Appearance And Stop The Spread Of Chips And Cracks In...
- Easy To Use - Everything You Need Is Included, Takes Only Minutes With Minimal Steps. For Cracks Simply Apply Resin To Crack Then Curing Strips,...
- Durable Resin Formula - Use Durable Resin To Make Windshields Stronger Than Before, Repairing All Types Of Laminated Windshields Up To First...
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Loctite offers the simplest way to remove windshield rock chips by requiring no installation, unlike many kits where you need to install a device first on the damaged area before applying the repair liquid. In this case, the Loctite rock chip windshield repair kit is a solo kit that contains only the windshield repair adhesive syringe with 0.17-fl. oz. of Loctite repair liquid already packed inside the syringe. All you have to do is apply the product directly on the rock chip with better accuracy using the syringe while applying pressure to force the liquid through the deep cuts. This works for shallow rock chips with a diameter of not more than one inch.
- RELIABLE ADHESION. A one-component windshield repair system designed to be used by the car owner.
- SAFE AND EASY-TO-USE. Requires no mixing, no heat.
- MULTI-PURPOSE APPLICATIONS. Great for "bulls eyes" in windshields or other laminated glass windows.
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Permatex is one of the few brands that offer both silicon-based and liquid resin for windshield crack repairs. This gives you a choice between the two types of repair products for your windshield damage. You may use the Permatex Flowable Silicone Windshield and Glass Sealer for shallow rock chips to effectively seal the chips which toughens to a clear finish that blends with the glass, thereby minimizing the chip’s appearance. For rock chips with deeper cuts and signs of spreading, the best product to use is the resin-based Permatex Windshield Repair Kit, which comes with a repair device to push the liquid resin deeper into the minute cracks for a more effective repair.
- Permanent Air-Tight Repairs - Permatex's Automotive Windshield Repair Kit Repairs And Restores Bullseye Damage Up To 1 1/4" On Most Laminated...
- Professional Repair & Wide Use - Permatex's Windshield Repair Kit Can Quickly And Effectively Repair Damage With This Easy-To-Use System, No...
- All-In-One Kit - Provides Everything Needed For The Repair Including Easy-To-Follow Instructions With Photographs, Syringe And Plunger System For...
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There’s always a way to avoid those nasty rock chips and cracks. But sometimes, accidents could happen even while you are observing utmost care while driving and parking your vehicle. When a rock chip appears on your windshield, you don’t have to panic anymore, knowing the available options to avoid an expensive windshield replacement.
There are ways to repair windshield cracks and chips, and only you can tell which option is the best in your case. If circumstances demand a repair, there may be several repair methods, but using a windshield rock chip repair kit is the wiser choice without demanding too much effort on your part for a small price to pay.
If you are dealing with a horrible windshield scratch, caused by something other than a rock, also check out our article on windshield scratch repair kits.
Best Selling Rock Chip Glass Repair Kits
Last update on 2023-08-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API