Windshield Repair is a modern technology to repair small cracks in the front car glass. Countries have different safety standards that define the strength and visibility of the car windshield and hence any such repair needs to be of the same standards. Only AS1 certified car glasses can be used as a front windshield all over the world.
Modern-day cars are complex high tech pieces of equipment embedded with cutting-edge technologies for the safety and comfort of passengers. Nowadays safety is the centerpiece of new innovations. All major automotive car manufacturers devote precious money and resources for passenger safety. Today safety is as important as the comfort it offers.
Why the windshield is important?
The windshield/windscreen as we know them is one of the most crucial inventions of the last century. This invention alone has changed the way cars have evolved. Way back in 1936 laminated windshield was invented and proves to be the milestone in the car’s developmental history. Before that windshield was just to stop wind and getting the clear view ahead. But in case of any impact, it used to shatter and hence at high-speed windshield pieces were used to be more dangerous for the driver than the accident itself.
The Laminated windshield has changed all this, it not only has better visibility but also has elastic nature. So, it’s inherent that it can save the driver from the wind as well as any outer particle-like stone, bud or debris. The quality of windshield that it can hold the pieces together even if smashed with a stone proves very vital in case of major accidents. Designers used the ability to mold the windshield in desired shapes and colors to add more features. From being an ordinary part of the car, now windshields are being designed to be an integral part of its structure. It gives strength to the overall car structure through support to the roof and, being designed to improve the look and overall design of the car. Modern-day windshields are not the nascent old laminated glass but have many luxury add-on features other than safety. It includes Rain & Light Sensor, Heads-Up-Display, IR Sensors, and other ADAS Systems. Any damage to your windshield while driving may affect these safety systems.
As we know replacing a damaged windscreen is an expensive task. Having more and more safety systems make it more complex. So we ignore sometimes small chip and stone cracks on the windscreen. It’s just to save some hard-earned money. But have you realized that All windscreen cracks are not large enough and hence can be repaired? If you take advice from an expert technician your windshield repair may cost nominal. Here comes the role for Auto Glass Masters if you find any kind of spot or chip or stone mark on your car windshield, you can call us for assistance. Your car windshield may need a repair before it grew so much that you don’t have an option rather than to go for the replacement.
Sometimes people are not aware of the fact that which kind of windshield crack or stone impact can be repaired. So they often landed on windshield replacement. Hence lose their hard-earned money. As most of car glass installers are not aware of windshield repair technique. All glass installers may not have adequate car glass repair tools and resources, and hence they prefer to replace a damaged windshield without giving a try for a repair. But at Auto Glass Masters, we are fully committed to our Repair policy. Our technicians are trained and have years of experience to repair any crack or stone chip impact up to the size of a small coin. First of all, we diagnose the crack and stone impact area. If the impact is in Drivers Vision Area and crack is not safe to repair we advise you to go for windshield replacement rather than repair.
How does windshield repair works?
The repair of car windshield cracks is unique to its manufacturing. A laminated car windshield has 3 layers in general, 1 PVB layer in between 2 glass layers. The quality of windshield depends upon the quality of PVB and its thickness. As a safety component, the laminated windshield doesn’t fell inside the car after impact. Tempered windshields, not common in use now, tend to shatter into pieces if something hit the windshield with great force, like door glass. The improvement is due to the PVB layer, even if the impact force is high and it smashes the laminated windshield, PVB layer holds it together and doesn’t let it collapse into pieces.
This PVB layer gives the windshield a unique quality of the repair. Other glasses are brittle in nature and scatter into pieces on impact, but the PVB layer protects the car windshield. If the impact on the windshield is not high, like a flower bud at a high-speed drive on a road can cause a crack in the windshield. The laminated windshield has some elasticity due to the PVB layer and hence this impact will not extend to the whole windshield, but only the spot got cracked. This feature helps the technician to repair the crack rather than replacing the whole windshield.
But the crack is repairable only if it doesn’t exceed the size we have discussed and is not in front of the sensor or very near to the edge.
Windshield Repair Kit
Auto Glass Masters uses Esprit windshield repair kit for stone chip and crack repairs. It has passed British Standards for safety and complies with BS AU 251: 1994 standards. It also passed Australian / New Zealand standard AS/NZS 2366.2:1999.
A standard repair kit has a Bridge, Heater, an Observation Mirror, a UV Lamp, a drill with different bits, Resin, Pit fill resin, Syringe and needle set, UV curing films, Razor blades, Pit Fill Polish and Gel.
Windshield Repair Process
Inspecting the crack: Even though the windshield cracks can be repaired, yet the technician needs a closer look at the point of impact before he/she can be certain that it is repairable. It is necessary that an expert ascertains that the crack is at the safe position for repair and it will not compromise visibility for the driver also it will not impact any other system that is associated with the windshield like sensors. Any point of impact which has penetrated through the outer windshield layer and has marks on the PVB layer is not fit for repair. A closer look by a repair expert can reveal if the crack is eligible for a repair.
Maintaining Temperature: For a successful repair, it is important to have a moderate temperature, 10°C – 25°C. 29°C is the highest temperature for repair. If the temperature is higher like in most of northern India during summer. You need to us AC to lower the temperature into the safe range. On the other hand, if you are at some cooler place or like repairing a windshield in winter, you need to warm the windshield. The main reason is the bonding of PVB with the resin is best between 10°C – 25°C. At a higher temperature bond will be weaker. It also helps to remove any moisture from the crack.
Cleaning the crack: If the technician finds that the crack is suitable for the repair and there will be no issue of visibility in the future, then he will first clean the crack. Cleaning the crack involves the removal of cracked glass pieces, dust and debris of stone or remains of bud that cause the crack. Now, it is tempting due to the availability of DIY windshield repair kits, that you can repair your cracks car glass at home by yourself. But, here comes why an experience car glass repair expert is needed?
Cleaning the crack is the most crucial step while repairing a cracked windshield. During repairing a cracked windscreen using DIY windscreen repair kits, most people mash the situation while cleaning the cracks. As most people tried the repair first time, they tend to damage the PVB by the cracked windshield pieces while trying to remove them from the crack. Once the PVB is damaged even though you can carry on the repair by it will not be worthy as the spot will have visibility issues and can cause light to scatter at night.
So, the most important step during windshield crack repair is the cleaning, where the experience of the person doing the repair matters a lot. The technician will make the crack a bull’s eye using the drill so that it will not spread further. The point to remember is that the drill should be at low speeds and the angle of the drill should be at 45°.
Applying the Resin: After cleaning the crack, it now starts a restoration process. In case you have a professional kit, just put the Bridge right on top of the crack. The Bridge is the device that holds the injector assembly. Auto Glass Masters use Esprit windscreen repair kit, which is based on the pre-resin injection suspension method (PRISM). The Bridge is placed on top of the crack and a reflective mirror is a place vertical below the crack so that you can see the crack clearly. An injection is used to apply Resin to the crack about 0.2 ml of resin each time. After injecting the resin, the plunger is used to force the resin into the crack and getting the air out of it. You need to check the plunger in the observation mirror if the pressure built by the plunger should be adequate. As low pressure will cause poor filing while high pressure can bust it out. Once the plunger is completely in, wait for 3 minutes. It helps the resin to fill the crack. This process is repeated 2-3 times to fill the complete crack and sucking the air out. The resin used in the windshield repair kit has the same optical features as the windshield itself. Once the crack is filled, the bridge is removed from the crack for further process.
Curing the Resin: After filling the Resin a Pit Fill Resin is applied. Once the crack is filled, its time to cure the resin. A transparent curing film is applied to the crack to avoid resin overflow from the crack. To cure the resin most of the windscreen repair kits use UV rays. UV rays cause a chemical reaction into the resin which converts the resin from a liquid state to solid. You need to apply a UV lamp for about 5 minutes for complete curing.
Resurfacing and Finishing: The cured resin is not smooth. Also due to some of the resin overflow out of the crack, some resin tends to stick on the windscreen near the crack. So, to remove the unwanted layer of resin, experts use a sharp blade to remove it. The excess Resin on to the crack or near it is removed through rubbing the blade gently on it. After removing this excess resin, a pit fill polish is applied to the resin to make it smooth. It clears all types of scratch or marks on the crack and makes it smooth.
Now clean the windscreen area for any kind of marks with a normal glass cleaner. The windshield crack is now repaired, and the car is ready to be used without any further waiting. Once the crack is repaired the strength is restored and has 90-95% clarity as of new windshield.
Heated windshields and other special windshields can be repaired in the same manner but the precaution during the drill is necessary.
Repairable Windshield Cracks
Even though windshield has inherent features that help it to repair in case of small damage. Yet, there are certain limitations to the repair. During the inspection of the crack here are the things that a technician looks for:
- Crack Size: The first thing to notice at the point of impact is its size. If the crack due to impact is large than a rupee coin, it is not repairable. But it is at the discretion of the technician if he feels that the crack is large but repairable, he can make an attempt to repair it.
- Type of crack: The type of stone chips and cracks that can be repaired are – Circular bullseye, linear cracks, small pits, stone crack chips, dings, star-shaped breaks.
- Depth of Impact: Another crucial thing is the depth of the crack. Please remember crack is repairable only if the PVB layer is undamaged. Only cracks on the outer layer are repairable. Any crack that has penetrated deep into the PVB layer, damages its visibility and hence is not suitable for repair. Also, even if the PVB layer is intact and the crack is on both sides of the layer, the crack can’t be repaired.
- Crack Location: While incepting the repair, the location of the crack is also important. Any crack directly in the line of sight of the driver can cause a visibility issue and can compromise the safety of the occupants. Size not more than 10mm in diameter can be repaired if its directly in front of the driver. But, here is a catch, the technician needs to think deeply while deciding the drivers’ view area. As it can vary with the age and height of the driver. Hence its a bit tricky. Also, any crack in front of the sensor or camera is not a good candidate for repair. Some times the repair can cause discoloration, which can affect the functioning of the sensor or camera. Cracks near to the edges are also not repairable if you try to make a drill near the edge it can spread the crack all the way to the edges and hence worsen the situation.
Now as we have discussed the criterion to decide which cracks are repairable, there are certain cracks that can’t be repaired. Below are some non-repairable cracks:
- complex multiple cracks
- very long cracks (i.e. over 18–24 inches (46–61 cm) long)
- contaminated cracks
- any crack near the heating wire in a heated windshield
Windshield Repair – Results
Repairs are permanent. Any crack if repaired properly have the same strength and visibility as the new windshield, except a very fine mark at the exact point of impact. The Vehicle can drive right after the windshield repair.
Windshield Repair Cost
Typically, a small windshield crack repair requires less than 2 ml of Resin and 0.2ml of Pit fil Resin, The cost of such a crack is in the range of ₹ 800 – ₹ 2500. This cost may vary, depending upon the size or number of cracks.
There can also be a cost variation due to your car model or windshield type. Premium car windshield repair requires more experienced technicians as windshields have different features like Heating, HUD, Special colors. So, the cost is based on the models also, as the cost of repair is equivalent to the risk involved in the repair.
The advantage of Windshield Repair
Some people don’t wish to get small cracks repaired as windshield never fall inside. Some may think since the windshield is a very important part of the car, why go for the repair? You can go for a replacement. But before you make a choice you should consider some advantages of windshield repair.
- Cost-Effective: Car Glass Repair is very cost-effective and it should only cost about 10-20% of the new windshield price.
- Saves Time: Windshield repair takes about 30 minutes and hence saves you precious time.
- Windshield Strength: A repaired Crack has the same strength as it has before crack. So we strongly advise you not to go for a replacement unless it is the only option. To have a factory-fitted windshield is always the best option. As new windshield installation needs to remove the old one and expose your car’s internal body to the new adhesive. If not installed properly it may lead to leakage.
- Long-Term Effects: If you think that it’s alright to drive with a cracked windshield as it never falls. You need to think again. The most extreme, and important, long-term effect to watch for with a cracked windshield is the collapse. If you allow the cracks on your windshield to spread, then it weakens the windshield and makes it potentially dangerous. If you go over a good-sized bump or drive your vehicle in a wind storm, then that windshield could collapse into your vehicle. This will not only cause physical harm to the people in the vehicle, but it also makes driving extremely dangerous.
- Seal the Car: A fresh or repaired windshield seal your car. You may not notice it but if you don’t get the small damage repaired, it may lead to leakage in case of heavy rain. It also increases the noise level due to wind drag inside your car.
- Help the Environment: By going for a repair you can contribute to your environment conservation. A windshield is made up of many chemicals and replacing a new one will lead to the disposal of the old windshield. It will add to the already deteriorating environment health.
Word of Caution
Windshield repair is a safe process if an experienced car glass repair expert repairs your car windshield. But, even after all precautions there can be chances of breakage.
As technologies evolve, maintenance and replacement cost of the parts also rises. It also increases the complexity of maintaining your car. You must choose the right workshop with an experienced team and specialized tools for windshield repair or replacement.