When you have a crack in your windshield and you don’t want it to get bigger, your best options are using a windshield repair kit or having it fixed by a professional. Fortunately, you also have a few do-it-yourself options that can help. These include keeping your car in the shade and treating the crack with something to protect it (like super glue or nail polish).
Short of a serious accident, few kinds of car trouble can compare to a windshield crack for a sheer hassle.
A crack windshield doesn’t just make your vehicle look worse. It can pose a real safety threat by impairing your visibility when you drive. Cracks can also worsen over time, yet many people leave them unresolved for days or even weeks. If you leave it untreated long enough, a crack may eventually require you to replace your whole windshield – a far more expensive repair job.
This post will teach you exactly what to do with a cracked windshield, including quick fixes you can apply yourself before you get a permanent repair.
You may ask yourself what is the point of making temporary repairs to a windshield crack. Well, as we noted above, these cracks can get worse over time. A small star crack caused by flying rocks or other debris may not be big enough to reduce visibility at first, but that can change. The point of temporary repairs is to slow or stop this process and keep the crack from growing.
Most quick fixes for windshield cracks are intended first and foremost to protect the crack from unwanted debris. Water, dirt, and other particles that get inside can accelerate the crack’s spread. A simple piece of clear tape can seal up a crack and even stand up to favorable driving conditions. It’s not a long-term solution, though, as tape won’t survive hard rains or a trip through the car wash.
While your ultimate goal should be to get your windshield to a professional repair service, you have other effective options to explore if you can’t turn your car over to an expert immediately. With a little patience and the right materials, you can do a lot to preserve windshield cracks and keep them from spreading.
1) Use A Windshield Repair Kit
You’ll find purpose-built repair kits for windshield cracks at your nearest auto part store. While different products may have some variations, most effective kits rely on a specially-formulated resin and an applicator. The goal here is to force the resin into the crack, sealing it against crack-spreading debris. The resin also bonds to the glass and holds it in tension, discouraging the growth of the crack. To use a kit, follow the manufacturer’s directions. You will typically need to bore a small hole into the crack (usually with a 1/16 inch drill bit) to inject the resin properly.
2) Use Super Glue
For particularly small cracks, super glue (i.e. any cyanoacrylate adhesive) can function as a short-term bandage. Force the glue into the crack if possible, or simply spread it evenly over the surface. After it dries, super glue forms a tough shield on both sides of the crack to stop unwanted spreading.
3) Use Nail Polish
Another temporary fix that some drivers have used successfully is nail polish. Clean the crack thoroughly to remove any debris and then apply clear acrylic nail polish inside and out. Spread the polish past the crack to discourage spreading. This acrylic layer will provide some protection and hold the glass together for a limited time. Bear in mind that both super glue and nail polish are only short-term solutions. You need to get your car to a professional as soon as possible.
4) Avoid The Sun
In the summer months, ambient sunlight can cause drastic changes in your car’s internal temperature. These temperature shifts cause your windshield to expand and contract, putting more pressure on cracks and encouraging them to spread. Other weather conditions can cause crack stress, too, including snow and hard rain. Whenever possible, park your car in the shade or inside to minimize the amount of stress applied to the cracked windshield.
5) Get A Professional Evaluation
Whether or not you’re ready to have a full repair performed, it’s a good idea to talk to a windshield repair professional as soon as possible. Experts have the experience and training to assess your windshield and determine how urgently it needs repairs. They can provide impeccable advice on how to proceed, and they may be able to recommend and/or apply a durable short-term fix.
6) Professional Repairs
After you’ve had your windshield assessed by a professional, it will likely need professional care to restore it to its best condition. Locate a reliable repair shop that handles auto glass, such as Safelite. The faster you get your windshield to a professional, the easier (and cheaper!) it will be to repair it.