Behind the Wheel

Do Windshield Chip Repair Kits Actually Work?

September 27, 2018
There you are, driving westbound on I-70, passing the familiar sign for WinterStone Golf on your way to Kansas City. Pink Floyd fills the cabin as you delicately sip that scalding mug o’ joe. Then — wham! — the truck in front of you kicks a pebble into your windshield, leaving a gnarly chip right in your line of sight. In most instances, those kinds of windshield chips only affect the surface, rarely causing damage to the internal layer of tempered glass. This type of damage is frequently correctable by your standard DIY windshield repair kit. Hooray!

But we don’t all get to live in a “most instances” world—sometimes we must survive in a “why me?” world, which means your windshield damage could be unfixable by amateur hands. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of common windshield chip repair kits, shall we?

Benefits of Using a Windshield Repair Kit

  1. First and foremost, windshield repair products are extremely affordable—you can buy a chip repair kit for under $15 online or at a retail store—especially when compared to a full window replacement, which can cost hundreds of dollars. This cheap solution to fixing glass cracks is the #1 reason people opt to DIY rather than go to a certified auto body shop.
  2. Fixing a small car window chip is also relatively simple, even for novices. Most windshield repair kits include everything you’ll need to get the job done, including the resin (UV-activated epoxy), curing strips, suction device, plunger, and scraping tool. Just start the process in the shade, follow the instructions to the T, and let the resin cure in direct sunlight. Once done, you should barely be able to see the chip.
  3. Repairing a windshield chip is also more convenient for some people. The entire process can take anywhere from one to two hours, and 90% of that time can be spent doing other things, like rearranging your spice rack or starting that novel you’ve always wanted to read (or write). When you bring your car into a local body shop to repair chips and cracks or replace the windshield, you may have to twiddle your thumbs for much longer.
  4. Patching a small windshield chip or crack ensures your vehicle is safe to drive and prevents further spreading (aka. the dreaded spiderweb crack). Driving with a chipped or cracked windshield can reduce visibility to a dangerous level, which also makes it illegal in Kansas and most other states.
  5. Glass repair kits are often as successful in filling minor chips and cracks as the professional kits used by mobile auto glass repair technicians. You’ll pay a fraction of the cost to do it yourself and are likely to receive similar positive results provided by “house call” windshield repairers.

Cons of Using a Windshield Repair Kit

  1. Performing your own windshield repair can void any warranty on your vehicle. You’ll then be on the financial hook for any further damage to—or perhaps even injuries caused by—the fixed windshield. If you choose to visit a shop, you’ll usually receive a guarantee on auto glass repairs.
  2. Once you fill a rock chip, it can’t be re-filled. If you screw it up, don’t clean out the glass wound, or aren’t impressed with the results, you’ll have to live with it or opt for a new windshield.
  3. Common laminated glass damage repair kits only fix minor damage, including starburst chips, bullseye chips, and up to 12-inch cracks. Auto body centers use professional equipment to achieve better results when repairing extensive damage.
  4. Similarly, repairing a windshield chip at home won’t magically make the damage invisible. In fact, if not performed correctly, repairing glass damage can even make the treated area opaque, ultimately worsening your driving visibility. Experts usually provide cleaner results, though it may be negligible depending on the severity of the damage.
  5. If rock chips or cracks occur near your windshield wipers, they may not be fixable. Doing it yourself could cause the glass to crack due to the constant pressure of the resting wipers, particularly when driving over rough terrain. Qualified auto glass experts will sometimes even recommend getting a replacement windshield in these cases.
  6. Insurance companies may even cover licensed windshield crack repairs without raising your premium or forcing you to pay a deductible. Using a professional reduces the risk of further damage to the windshield, thus reducing the insurance company’s liability in the event of a collision.

You can’t altogether eliminate windshield damage from occurring, but you can certainly make wise solutions when it’s time to fix them. For smaller chips and cracks caused by loose gravel, pebbles, or hail, a DIY windshield chip kit is certainly a cheap fix. But when you encounter those deep gouges and spiderweb cracks, it’s best to see a professional. If you need windshield repair in Kansas City, those professionals can be hired by dialing 800-NEW-AGAIN or scheduling an inspection online.


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