You may or may not see the object as it sails toward your windshield, but you will almost always hear it as it slams into the glass in front of you. The chip and possibly the crack will be visible immediately. When a windshield is cracked or chipped, it is best to repair it as quickly as possible. If the crack becomes too large or develops too many smaller cracks feeding away from it, you will have to replace and not repair the windshield.
The simplest way to repair a cracked windshield is to call up the professionals and have them take care of it. However, if you decide that you want to take the job on yourself, you will need to follow some steps to get it done.
Purchase a repair kit.
The internet can furnish you with several vendors who sell kits for repairing windshield glass. The prices range from about $300 to about $1,500 depending on how serious you are about doing windshield repairs. Along with these kits, several of the sites offer free training. One of the low-end kit sellers is American Windshield Repair Systems that can be found at http://www.rockchipkits.com/. They will sell you the kit and the supplies. At $325, they will give you the repair kit, supplies, training information, and technical support.
Know the limits of your ability and equipment.
It is generally recommended that cracks more than 3 inches long should not be repaired except by high end specialists. For the amateur, repairing chips and cracks of an inch or so in length should not be a problem. You want to make sure that you do not compromise the integrity of the windshield by making a poor quality repair.
Most repairs will leave a blemish on the windshield.
Do not expect your windshield repair to be completely invisible. The idea behind windshield repair is to stop the crack from spreading and reduce the amount that it obstructs visibility for the driver. Most of the time, a small blemish about the size of a pencil lead will remain after even the best repair job. You may be left with a place about an inch in diameter where the glass appears slightly distorted when looking through it.
Have a plan “B” in case the repair does not work.
Because repairing the windshield requires possible grinding and drilling on the glass plus uses heat to cure the resin needed for the repair, some windshield damage gets worse instead of being fixed. It can create an extra long crack or many cracks and ruin the windshield. This will require windshield replacement.
Try practicing on an old windshield at a salvage yard before doing your own windshield repair.
It will mean that you have to expend some of your time and materials, but figuring out how everything works before doing it on your own windshield can save you a lot of grief. Most salvage yards see broken windshields as scrap. So, they will not usually mind you practicing your hand at repairing one.
It is time to try to fix your first crack or chip.
Start the process by following the guidelines to prevent the crack from extending during the work. This can mean drilling a small hole at the end of the crack or other possible techniques for different types of chips and cracks. Using a tool that spreads the crack and injects the resin, begin at one end of the crack and fill it with the adhesive resin. Move slowly along the crack until the resin has filled the entire length. Using an ultraviolet light source, harden the resin. Some resins use heat from a small flame instead. For chip repair, applying a little heat is sometimes the preferred method.
Once the adhesive resin has hardened, you need to polish the repair.
Using a buffer to polish glass, gently work your way back and forth along the repair. Polishing the repair is what makes it tend to vanish from sight. After the polishing is complete, take a soft cloth and clean up any dust and fingerprints that may remain. The job should be finished except for putting away the tools.