If your windshield, or other fixed window, is cracked or chipped, you may decide to replace it with a new one yourself. However, there are 2 main reasons why replacement windshields and other window glass should be installed only by a professional automotive glass technician: safety and cost.
The most important reason a professional should install automotive glass is for safety. The glass in the vehicle, especially the windshield, is designed with safety in mind in case of a collision. The windshield is specially manufactured from 2 panes of specially tempered glass with a thin layer of transparent plastic between them. This construction allows the glass to 'give' in the event that a part of your body hits the windshield during the collision, and prevents the glass from shattering, which could cause lacerations, blinding and other harm to passengers of the vehicle. The other fixed windows are tempered so that if they break during a collision, they shatter in such a way that there are no large pointed glass pieces.
The professional automotive glass technician knows how to install the glass in a vehicle so that it will function optimally during a collision. Without the proper experience, knowledge and tools, installing a piece of automotive glass yourself could lead to additional harm to you or your passengers if an accident should ever occur.
Cost is also a factor when deciding to install automotive glass yourself. Performing this could cost you much more than a professional may charge for the same job. Since the windshield is designed to break under stress, an often life saving characteristic, windshields tend to break very easily when an inexperienced person attempts to install one. Do-it-yourselfers buying 2, 3 or even 4 windshields from a salvage yard because they have broken them during installation are common stories. Also, since the automotive glass is designed to prevent the outside elements from entering your vehicle, improper installation and sealing can lead to water and air leaks. Annoying whining noises at highway speeds from air leaks or inside body panel rusting from water leaks can add to your stress level and subtract from your wallet.
After buying 2 or 3 windshields, installing them and ending up with a leak that produces a noise while driving and water damage during rainstorms, the cost of having a professional do it correctly the first time may be much more alluring.
We here at Chilton, therefore, advise that you have a professional automotive glass technician service any broken glass on your vehicle.
Windshield Chip Repair
Although severely cracked or damaged windshields must be replaced, there is something that you can do to prolong or even prevent the need for replacement of a chipped windshield. There are many companies which offer windshield chip repair products, such as Loctite® Bullseye- windshield repair kit. These kits usually consist of a syringe, pedestal and a sealing adhesive. The syringe is mounted on the pedestal and is used to create a vacuum, which pulls the plastic layer against the glass. This helps make the chip transparent. The adhesive is then injected which seals the chip and helps to prevent further stress cracks from developing. Refer to the sequence of photos to get a general idea of what windshield chip repair involves.
- Small chips on your windshield can be fixed with an aftermarket repair kit, such as the one from Loctite®
- To repair a chip, clean the windshield with glass cleaner and dry it completely
- Remove the center from the adhesive disc and peel off the backing from one side of the disc . . .
- . . . then press it on the windshield so that the chip is centered in the hole
- Be sure that the tab points upward on the windshield
- Peel the backing off the exposed side of the adhesive disc . . .
- . . . then position the plastic pedestal on the adhesive disc, ensuring that the tabs are aligned
- Press the pedestal firmly on the adhesive disc to create an adequate seal . . .
- . . . then install the applicator syringe nipple in the pedestal's hole
- Hold the syringe with one hand while pulling the plunger back with the other hand
- After applying the solution, allow the entire assembly to sit until it has set completely
- After the solution has set, remove the syringe from the pedestal . . .
- . . . then peel the pedestal off of the adhesive disc . . .
- . . . and peel the adhesive disc off of the windshield
- The chip will still be slightly visible, but it should be filled with the hardened solution