We have all had one of those moments while driving, when a rock or other debris flies off of a vehicle in front of us and onto our windshield. After inspecting the ding, you may consider a DIY windshield repair kit. But are these kits worthwhile? We asked the pros at superautoglasscalgary.ca, and they filled us in. Below is their take on DIY windshield kits.
How Windshield Repair Kits Work
Repair kits designed specifically for windshields fill a chip or crack void with liquid resin that quickly hardens and adheres to the surrounding glass. This resin keeps the crack or chip from growing larger or spreading. At the same time, it also minimizes the surface blemish in your glass. Because the resin is clear, you can see through it like glass.
Each DIY repair kit has its own instructions. They also use different methods and tools for the same purpose of repairing your windshield. Most kits contain special tools to clear tiny glass fragments from the chip. They also contain injector tools for the application of resin into the crack, crevice or chip. Finally, they provide a film to place over the repair work to ensure the resin hardens as it should. This hardening is called curing. Ideally, after allowing enough time for the material to cure, you should be able to wipe away excess resin and admire the results.
Pros and Cons of These Repair Kits
There are two key reasons for using DIY repair kits for windshields. First, most people try the kits because they are usually cheaper than $25, costing less than a standard windshield crack repair by professionals. Second, using one of these kits only takes about an hour, and you can perform the repair in your own garage or driveway.
However, saving money in a repair attempt does not always mean you save money overall. The kits prove ineffective for most types of cracks. In fact, you can only expect one to work on a small chip that takes the shape of a flower, star or bullseye. Chips with extensive webbing or lengthy cracks or scrapes at the surface will not improve with a DIY kit. In fact, most people experience new cracks forming from a chip after using a repair kit.
Even worse, if the repair does not work when you use a DIY kit, your whole windshield may need replacement. After applying the kit resin, a pro windshield repair technician cannot use their methods and materials to fix the problem.
Below are some of the specific pros and cons of DIY repair kits.
- Extremely affordable and easily found at an auto parts store or online
- Easy process, even for auto repair amateurs
- Kits generally come with everything you need for effective patching, including UV-activated resin and epoxy, suction plungers, curing film strips and scraping tool
- The process only takes up to two hours, 90 percent of which is curing time
- Quick patching can prevent the spreading of chips into a spiderweb
- Costs a fraction of pro windshield tech repairs
- Using a DIY kit potentially voids out your vehicle warranty, if you attempt the repair yourself
- If you do not successfully fill the crack or chip in the windshield, the damage cannot be fixed, and you will likely have to buy a new windshield and have it installed
- You can only repair minor damage like bullseye chips using a DIY kit, making these kits useful for only a small fraction of the types of windshield damage
- DIY kits are not appropriate for cracks or chips located near the windshield wipers, where glass is prone to re-cracking
Many insurance companies offer a free professional windshield replacement or repair, depending on the degree of damage. They typically do this without raising your monthly premiums or requiring you to pay a deductible. They have an incentive to do this because not enabling the repair can increase their risk of financial liability, should you have an accident later because of your cracked windshield or where this prior damage causes injuries.
Take Your Car to a Windshield Expert
When your windshield suffers a chip, crack or ding of any sort, look beyond a DIY kit to experienced technicians. Your professional glass repair tech has experience with this type of damage and can provide the best method and care. They can repair cracks, starburst chips, flower chips, bullseyes and spiderwebbing. They know how to properly use resin to prevent additional cracking, always applying the appropriate pressure and tools, in the process. Their care ensures the resin bonds to the damaged region and fills the voids in your glass.
The best news is that visiting a pro glass repair company does not cost as much as you think. In fact, your insurance policy may fully cover the cost of your repair. Many insurers waive the deductible for having your windshield professionally fixed. Whether you have to pay or not, you can expect quick and inexpensive repair for your chip to restore your windshield to a safe condition. Check more on scottsdalewindshields.com
Of course, some chips quickly turn into long cracks, for which a DIY kit will not work. Other chips are severe and create a web of broken glass problems. In these cases, windshield replacement is more likely. Like with repair, this replacement is possibly covered by your insurance and usually costs less out-of-pocket than you would think if it costs you anything at all.
Before you spend money on a DIY repair kit for your windshield crack, chip or ding, talk to the pros at your local windshield glass repair shop. They will provide appropriate guidance and quickly fix the problem. Better yet, you may not have to pay the amount a DIY kit costs, nor take the time to do the work yourself. You can prevent bigger issues down the line and get back on the road with peace of mind.