REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 1 through 15
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 two 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 two 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 designed to be tempered so that if they break during a collision, they shatter in such a way that there are no sharp or pointed edges on the 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 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 two, three or even four 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 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 two or three 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.
The editors of this repair guide, therefore, advise that you have a professional automotive glass technician service any broken glass on your vehicle.
WINDSHIELD CHIP REPAIR
There is something, however, that you can do to prolong or even prevent the need for replacement of a chipped windshield. There are many companies, such as Loctite®, which offer windshield chip repair products, such as the Bullseye Windshield Repair Kit (Part No. 16067). These kits are not meant to correct cracks or holes in your windshield, only chips caused by gravel or stones.
Check with your state and local authorities on the laws for state safety inspection. Some states or municipalities may not allow chip repair as a viable option for correcting stone damage to your windshield.
To fix a stone chip in your windshield with the Loctite® Bullseye Windshield Repair Kit, perform the following:
Loctite Corporation recommends that their repair kits should be applied outside in the sunlight, which, evidently, helps cure the repair solution much faster. In one of our experiments with these kits, performed in a shop using fluorescent lights and without any sunlight, the solution had not cured even after 18 hours. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the solution be allowed to cure in sunlight.
- Clean the damaged area of your windshield with glass cleaner, then dry the area completely.
- Cover any painted surfaces with a clean shop rag, because the chip repair fluid may damage or remove paint.
- Remove the adhesive disc from the kit, then remove the center hole plug from the disc.
- Peel the backing off of one side of the disc, then, with the disc tab pointing upward, line up the hole in the disc with the center of the chip on the windshield. Press the disc onto the windshield.
- Remove the plastic pedestal from the kit. Peel the paper off of the other side of the disc, then align the pedestal with the disc, making sure that the tabs are also aligned. Press the pedestal firmly onto the disc.
- Remove the fluid applicator (syringe) from the kit and remove the cap from its tip.
- Thread the syringe into the pedestal tube.
During the next step, pull the plunger back until you feel it hit the stop on the inside of the syringe.
- While holding the syringe with one hand, gently pull back the syringe's plunger with the other hand, hold it there for 5-10 seconds, then abruptly release the plunger. Repeat this step 10 times.
- Allow the entire assembly to sit, undisturbed, for 30 minutes.
- From inside the vehicle, inspect the damaged area for any residual air bubbles. A flashlight may be necessary. If any air bubbles remain, repeat Steps 8 and 9.
- Allow the repair kit to sit undisturbed until the solution has fully hardened or set. The light level where you are performing the repair largely dictates the length of time the repair solution needs to completely set. If the repair is performed in a bright, sunny area, it should set up in approximately 1 hour. If the repair is performed inside or on a cloudy day, allow 4-5 hours for it to fully set.
If the repair must be performed indoors and it does not set in a few hours, an ultraviolet lamp may help expedite the curing process. However, according to the manufacturer, this should not be necessary.
- Remove the syringe from the pedestal.
- Using a pair of pliers or a utility knife, if necessary, remove the pedestal and adhesive disc from the windshield.
- Clean up any excess compound with glass cleaner.
For other brands of windshield repair kits, follow the manufacturer's instructions enclosed with the kit.