You’re pulling your car out of your driveway and out of nowhere, your car is bombarded by natural shrapnel. Whether it's a dislodged rock, falling fruit, a branch, or maybe even a kamikaze bird, there are a number of things that can leave a big winding crack on your windshield. No need to panic and rush to a mechanic though. Take a minute to examine the crack because there are many different different types, some of which can be sealed by you directly, using a quick fix recipe. So let’s go through the various types of cracks your poor windshield can suffer from and which ones you can fix.
Types of Cracks
There is a variety of cracks that can affect your windows. Depending on the object that caused the break, the damage around the point of impact, the position, and numerous other factors, you can determine what type of crack it is, and whether or not it’s repairable. So here are some cracks you should look out for.
Ding or Chip: Damage to a windshield causing a small piece of glass to become dislodged from the windshield.
Crack Chip: Slightly larger than a crack, but small enough that it is only the size of a quarter.
Bull’s Eye: Damage caused to a windshield by a rock or falling object that has a sharp pointed edge that impacts the glass. Due to the sharp edge, the crack caused is significantly larger and deeper than a ding or chip.
Half Moon or Partial Bull’s Eye: Damage caused by a falling object, similar to the damage caused by a bull’s eye, but not as large or deep.
Edge Crack: Cracks that start at or spread within 2 inches (5 cm) from any edge of the windshield.
Floater Crack: Cracks formed towards the middle of the windshield, which may extend further, but not within 2 inches (5 cm) of the edges.
Star Break: An impact that causes damage and a series of short winding cracks extending from the point of impact, forming a shape that resembles a star.
Stress Crack: Cracks in the windshield caused not by the impact of falling objects, but by external stresses to the glass, most likely due to temperature variations. For example, when the glass has been heated under the sun all day and then is hit with a wave of cold water or air conditioning. Conversely, if the car has been kept in a relatively cold place and is suddenly exposed to heat, it can also cause a crack in the glass.
Which Ones Are Repairable?
A major concern many people have, one that causes that initial moment of panic when you see a crack on your windshield, is that trying to fix your windshield yourself could just result in the whole thing shattering. And you wouldn’t be wrong in that. That isn’t to say, however, that certain cracks are in your ability to repair at home. There are just a few things you need to keep in mind in the process.
1. Make sure to check the laws in your respective district because some states have specific laws regarding how repairs are to be conducted, for obvious health and safety reasons.
2. Keeping the safety factor in mind, if the crack is directly in the driver’s view, it is absolutely not advisable to make the repairs yourself. This is because repairing cracks may also result in the glass becoming shaded, which can distort the driver’s view, so replacing the glass would be a better option.
3. Be wary of old cracks! Repair your cracks as early as possible, as they can gather significant amounts of dirt and dust. There are also greater chances of the damage worsening.
4. For edge cracks, it is better to go to a professional as damage at the edge is far more difficult to repair and could result in further breakage.
Repairing Your Windshield
As soon as you see that crack, or hear that dreadful takk sound, stop and take a look at the damage (calmly, if possible). If the chip or crack is on the smaller side (not falling under bull’s eye or half-moon category), they can usually be repaired easily at home. To make these repairs, it is advisable to buy a window repair kit. The window repair kit comes with the following items:
a) A sticky tab
b) A Syringe
c) A Resin Chamber Pedestal
e) A Flat Square
f) A Razor Blade
In case it is small enough to be repaired by hand, you’ll first need to clean it. Soak a rag with some rubbing alcohol to wipe away any lingering dirt. Then take a pin or needle and carefully pick the pit of the crack to ensure no residual broken glass is in and around the crack.
After this, you will need your window repair kit. The first item you’ll need from it is a sticky tab, to be stuck on the glass so that the circular tab covers the crack evenly. Peel off the cover for the other sticky side (facing you) and place the resin chamber pedestal securely on top, covering the chip in the glass.
Take 3/4 of the provided packet of resin and pour it into the pedestal chamber so that the crack is tightly secured. Then take the syringe and push the syringe into the top of the pedestal, and pull the syringe pump up and lock it. Leave it like this for ten minutes, and tap gently on the glass around the crack, while the air in the crack is vacuumed.
After 10 minutes, hold the syringe carefully and pull it up, allowing a little air in. Then push the syringe back in, push the pump down and lock it into position. This will put pressure on the crack. Leave it for about 20 minutes.
Pull out the syringe, and use the razor to remove the sticky tab and the pedestal from the glass. Put a single drop of resin into the crack to fill it. Take the flat square and place it over the crack. Let it sit in the sunlight.
After fifteen minutes under the sun, use the razor blade to remove the square and then peel off any residual resin around the corners and on the glass.
The final step is one last round of cleaning, using the rag and a little rubbing alcohol.
To see how to do it, just watch this video: