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Broken glass of a car

You might be able to fix the crack or chip in your windshield without a costly trip to the glass shop.

Broken glass of a car

It’s a fine day. The sun is shining, traffic is moving along smartly and you haven’t a care in the world. Whack! Until now, that is. Now there’s the size of a quarter smack in the windshield. What’s worse, it’s directly in your line of sight. It must have been a hyper velocity rail gun pellet fired at you by a policeman, because you didn’t see it coming or going. And as your heartbeat returns to normal, the dreadful truth soaks in: You’re going to have to have the windshield swapped. This simply means big business with the glass shop, being without your car for a day or two, having a possibly leaky windshield and, worst of all, higher insurance premiums.

Irregular cycles of vacuum and pressure will push adhesive into the chip, and evacuate air from the bottom of the chip. Actually, it’s worse. Some insurance policies won’t even cover chipped glass. Perhaps if you just raised or lowered your seat an inch so you didn’t have to look right through the chip…

Before you get anxiety, drive home and get out your amplifying glass. Take a truly close gaze at your new chip. It just might be probable to repair the chip instead of replacing the entire windshield. The procedure is to inject an epoxy or acrylic adhesive or filler into the chip.

Even if your chip isn’t in your straight line of sight, it’s a good idea to try and restore it. Water will find its way into the chip, drawn in by surface tension. If the chip goes all the way over the top lamination, any moisture that gets that deep can delaminate the glass from the center membrane. In the end, the membrane will fog, causing a larger blemish. Water also can freeze in the chip, instigating a larger flaw or even a crack. Also, water can carry dirt into the crack–and there’s no way to flush it out.

As you can speculate, it’s best to do the repair as soon as possible, supposing that it’s repairable. Think of that not all chips can be fixed. The best you can expect for is to fill most of the chip. It may still leave a noticeable flaw. But the development on most chips will be dramatic, and at least you’ve sealed the chip from the atmosphere and probably abolished the possibility of it growing larger or discoloring in the future.

You can’t fix extended cracks. So it’s grave that you fill chips before they turn into cracks. Basically, any chip that goes into the surface of the glass perpendicular to the surface or at a shallow angle can be repaired. That comprises cone-shaped chips, leaf-shaped chips or almost any chip that hasn’t flaked a big piece of glass off onto the road.

Many chips will be mended almost completely by adhesive injection kits. But some destruction requires complete windshield replacement.

Windshield Repair Kits

Windshield crack repair kits can be found in the auto stores like AutoKartz. Worsening that, the warehouse-distributor auto parts stores that cater to professional mechanics can source you.

In the New Delhi area, we found two different types of repair kits and there may be others. Expect to pay around few hundred bucks. Actions differ marginally, but the principle is the same. We fixed a couple of windshields, and the results were brilliant.

Start Dry

Start with a totally dry windshield that’s somewhere near room temperature. Tough on a rainy or wintery day, so you may need to park your car in the house for a while to equilibrate. Dry is really essential–you don’t want to set-up any water in the repair. Use a hair dryer if you feel the window is wet. If the surface is unclean, don’t use any detergents or window cleaner. Lighter fluid or acetone can aid dry and clean the surface, but don’t use so much that it drips down the glass and peels the paint, or worse.

The Other Path

You cantry an altered crack repair kit as well. This alteration is that it will use a two-part adhesive. This calls for us to mix two small vials of adhesive and hardener in the syringe before starting, which was simple. The adhesive disc and syringe adapter were alike (if not identical) to the simpler kit’s, and were applied in an identical manner. The syringe, however, was more difficult. It used a wire latch prearrangement on the body that dropped into two notches on the handle when essential. A meek pushpin stuck into the body was used as a very crude valve to let air in and out of the body. Once the syringe is involved to the adapter (the adapter already being stuck airtight to the glass), the pushpin is detached. Now end the syringe plunger, pushing the air out. Supplement the pin, and pull the handle out until the clip clicks into the slot. This will grasp the plunger out, and the partial vacuum under it for the designated time.

One cautionary message: Don’t get attractive and try to lower the plunger by hand and squeeze the adhesive deeper into the glass with either kit. The adhesive patch might become unglued and squirt adhesive all over your windshield and fender and t-shirt.


HOW IT WORKS: Laminated Safety Glass

Normal window glass, like you have around the house, is pretty amazing stuff. It’s clear, strong and cheap. But it’s also hard, shattering into long, hazardous, wickedly sharp shards when overstressed. Plastics would be as robust, but not nearly hard enough to struggle scratching and remain clear enough for a car window-just look at any plastic-glazed outdoor bus stop or phone booth, with its patina of fine scratches. For the side windows of cars, auto manufacturers have come up with a good settlement: tempered glass. It’s tougher than standard, but more significantly, when it does shatter it breaks up into small granules. These granules are still sharp, but should do less harm than the long shards of untampered glass. However, for a windshield, constantly assaulted by pebbles, tempered glass would have a short life span.