By Erin Huffstetler | 03/07/2016 | 1 Comment
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A year and a half ago, we bought a little Jeep Liberty. It has over 200k miles on it and a peeling clear coat, but it’s perfect for us. It’s nimble; has a good towing capacity; and does just as well on road as off. What isn’t perfect, however, is the angle of the windshield. In the short time that we’ve owned our Jeep, we’ve chipped or cracked the windshield three times.
We had to replace the windshield last fall, after a black walnut hit it and left us with a big running crack. Then, last week while we were headed to our cabin, a rock flew up and chipped that new windshield. Argh! I crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t run before we got home, so we could just repair it, and luck was on our side this time.
Instead of hiring a glass repair company to fill the chip, we decided to save some money and do it ourselves. This was new territory for us, but at $10 for a DIY repair kit, vs. $99.95 for someone else to fix it, we were up for the challenge.
My husband picked up a Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit, which had everything needed to do the job.
In fact, it came with enough resin and curing strips for several repairs. Apparently it was made with Jeep Liberties in mind.
And here’s the chip that we were up against. It was just a small, dime-size chip located in the top of the windshield on the driver’s side. That box in the corner of the photo is a close up of the damage.
My husband read through the instructions that came with the kit, and followed them to tee. If you’re thinking about tackling this project yourself, here’s what’s involved.
First, you wipe off the damaged spot with a dry paper towel. Then, you use the included razor blade to remove any loose glass fragments.
Once the spot is clean, you attach the applicator base over the chip with suction cups, so that the damage is centered up inside the center ring.
Then, you screw in the resin chamber, and squeeze a few drops of resin into it.
The pressure driver gets screwed into the applicator base next. As you twist it down, it pushes the resin into the chip. Then, you wait 4-6 minutes for the resin to be absorbed into the damaged spot. Once time is up, you remove the pressure driver; then, reinsert it and twist it back down to remove any air from the repair site.
When you’re satisfied that all trapped air has been removed, you remove the whole thing. Then, you add a drop of resin to any spots where the damage is still visible, and cover the area with a curing strip.
After you give the resin 5-10 minutes to cure in the sun, you peel it back up, and use the razor blade to scrape off any extra resin around the repair. If you still see damage, you add another drop of resin and apply the curing strip again. Otherwise, you’re all done!
So how did it turn out? Pretty well. It definitely isn’t the same invisible result that you get with a professional repair, but I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that chip running now. And while the repaired spot is a little cloudy, it doesn’t really bother me, since it’s out of my line of vision when I’m driving. I think it would drive me a little crazy, if it were lower in the windshield, though. So, I’d say a DIY windshield repair kit is the way to go, if you’re making a small repair to an area of your windshield that isn’t in your direct line of vision.
The kit says you can also repair cracks less than 12 inches in length, and while I (thankfully) haven’t had an opportunity to try that yet, I suspect that the results would be less than ideal. I just think you’d see the repair too much. But considering the potential savings, it still might be worth a shot.
Note: While I didn’t see it noted anywhere on the windshield repair kit that we bought, you should only repair chips that fit under a quarter and cracks that fit under a dollar bill. You also shouldn’t attempt a repair, if you have more than three chips or a complex, radiating crack. Damage that extends to the edge of your windshield or to the inside of the glass also can’t be repaired. And if the damage is over your rain sensors, internal radio antennae or defrost, you’ll need to have the windshield replaced.