I heard it hit, and at first I thought I got away without damage, but then I noticed the big, fat, round raindrop perfectly centered on my windshield. It was starting to rain, so I didn’t think anything of it until the wipers slid over the spot without moving the drop. Great. It was only about a half inch in diameter, but windshield damage can spread pretty quickly, and replacing the whole thing is so expensive.
I picked up a windshield repair kit, because I figured if it works I’ll save money and if it doesn’t I’ll only be out about ten bucks, so it’s worth a shot.
It’s a kit with a small tube of resin and an apparatus to help you apply it to the crack or chip and put pressure on it to remove air bubbles. It’s a neat little suction-cup assembly with a hole in the middle, which you’re supposed to center over the damage – very hard for me to do effectively because of the location of the chip. I was climbing in and out of the car and onto a step-stool to try and get it exactly centered. The instructions with the kit include step-by-step pictures, and are very simple to follow.
Because of the shape of my car and the shortness of my arms, I couldn’t reach the middle of the windshield to actually do the repair, so I had one foot barely hanging onto the step-stool, one leg flung onto the hood, and my body leaning heavily onto the windshield, with one hand holding the instructions and the other trying to do all the work. Note: a Google image search for “woman on hood of car” will not give you an accurate idea of what happened in my driveway this afternoon. It’s not bikini weather, for starters.
Anyway, after squeezing the resin into the tube and tightening it to apply pressure, and then loosening it to release air bubbles, the chip didn’t look any different to me, so I repeated the whole process again, using a little more resin and readjusting the positioning of the suction cups. After the second round, it looked like the resin had filled the hole, so I moved on to the finishing step – pulling off the device, applying a drop of resin directly to the area, and then smoothing a plastic film over it using a razor blade. Then I moved my car into a sunny spot for a while to let it set. The directions say you can also buy a UV lamp to use in “curing” the resin, but I’m betting that the late October sun, despite having little warmth, has enough UV left in it to do the job.
The result: the bullseye is still visible. I’m a little disappointed, although I’m ready to admit it may be my fault for not doing it right, and a lot of the customer reviews on Amazon say that it took more than one try to get it done. It looks better, in that the center chip seems a little less obvious, but if I run my fingernail over it I can still feel it. Since we’ll be getting to freezing temperatures really soon, I want to be sure it’s repaired well enough to withstand the repeated freeze-thaw cycles it’s going to go through, and stand up well to the snow brush and ice scraper. I might try another round of repair next weekend if it’s sunny again, but it’s getting late and there won’t be enough sun for me to keep going today. My main concern is to prevent cracks from radiating out from that spot and forcing me to replace the whole windshield – and I can’t tell if what I’ve done today will be enough.