How to Repair Your Chipped Windshield

cracked windshield

Don Klumpp/Getty Images

Windshield repair kits can be an effective and economical way to fix the small chips and pockmarks that can obscure your vision. They're not intended to repair large cracks, however, which often appear shortly after something dings your glass. If that's the case, let the pros handle your windshield repair. But for minor surface damage, a windshield repair kit is sufficient. You can buy one at any decent auto parts store. You'll also need the following supplies:

  • Clean razor blade
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Tape

Don't perform this repair out in the hot sun. It will cause the resin to harden too quickly, and your repair won't blend in with the rest of the glass. Instead, choose an overcast and cool day. Or, do it inside a well-lit garage. Then follow these steps:

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Clean the Damaged Area

Carefully remove any loose glass pieces.
Matt Wright

A clean surface is essential. First, clean the area surrounding the damage with glass cleaner. This will help the repair kit's suction cups adhere firmly to the windshield. Next, take a razor blade and pick out any tiny loose pieces of glass that may be in the chip or pockmark. Any debris could prevent the repair kit resin from bonding properly to the glass. Allow time for the damaged area to dry completely before you move on to the next step.

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Place the Suction Cup Tool

Place the suction cup tool over the damage.
Matt Wright

With the damaged area clean and prepped, position the suction cup tool so the threaded center section is directly over the chipped area. Firmly press the suction cups into place, securing the four arms of the tool. Don't worry if you're slightly off center at this point; you can adjust the aim of the tool by sliding the arms into or out of the suction cups.

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Insert the Threaded Repair Tube

Insert the threaded repair tube and tighten.
Matt Wright

With the suction cup tool directly over the damaged area, thread the repair tube into the suction cup tool. You will need to screw it in tightly by hand; don't use any tools to do it. Go slowly and don't use more force than is necessary. 

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Check the Tool Alignment

Recheck the alignment of the repair tool.
Matt Wright

A successful windshield repair is dependent on the proper alignment of the tools, so it's essential to recheck the position of the threaded tube. Do this from inside the car. The rubber end of the tube should be directly on top of the chip in your windshield. If it's not, unscrew the tube and reposition it.

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Add the Resin

Add the repair resin to the center tube.
Matt Wright

Once you have the tube in proper position, uncap the small bottle of resin, place the tip over the repair tube, and gently squeeze the resin into the tube. You don't need a lot to make the repair, but you don't want to skimp either. Most product directions call for two drops, but you can add four drops just to be safe. 

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Insert the Plunger

The plunger pressurizes the repair and injects the repair resin.
Matt Wright

Immediately after you add the resin, insert the center plunger and tighten it almost all the way down. The plunger will force the repair resin into the damaged area. You'll know if you're applying enough pressure because it'll get harder to screw in. After you've tightened it, loosen the plunger briefly to allow any air bubbles to escape, then tighten it again.

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Apply the Finishing Film

Add the film tothe top of the repair.
Matt Wright

Once you've given the resin a minute or so to fully penetrate the glass chip, remove the suction cup tool from the windshield. Quickly place a section of the clear finishing film over the still-moist repair area. Use the razor blade to carefully press the resin toward the edges of the film. You aren't trying to get it out of there fully; you just want it to be as thin and evenly spread as possible. Some people like to add a little tape to the film to be sure it won't slide around while the resin is setting, especially if it's a windy day.

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Complete the Repair

Semi-Truck On Highway Seen Through Car Windshield
Sinan Saglam / EyeEm / Getty Images

Let the repair resin dry fully underneath the clear film. Ten minutes should be plenty of time. If you remove the film and find that the resin is still wet, don't worry. You can start over by adding another drop of resin and reapplying a new piece of film. Then let it dry longer. Clean up your repair by scraping the excess resin from the windshield with the razor blade. If the repair isn't to your liking, all you need to do is repeat the process until it's smooth and perfect.

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