How Windshield Replacements Are Performed


A car’s windshield is an essential safety device. Not only does it protect the driver and passengers from wind, dust and flying debris, but specially-made auto glass increases the strength of the front of the vehicle. Unfortunately, despite the comparative strength of auto glass, damage can still occur; if a car is traveling at 70 miles per hour, even the smallest stone flying through the air can cause a chip or a crack. This is a problem because any damage to the glass, no matter how small it appears to be, reduces the windshield’s strength and its ability to protect the vehicle’s occupants.

Is Windshield Replacement Always Necessary?

Whether the glass needs to be replaced, or whether it can simply be repaired depends on the extent of the damage. A small chip, which causes no visibility issues, can usually be repaired. In this case, a repair technician will use specialist equipment to suck all of the air out of the chip, and will then fill the damaged area with a quick-setting gel. The gel takes up to thirty minutes to fully dry, but sets in such a manner that the glass is almost as strong as if the damage had never occurred. A quick polish of the area also helps to ensure that the driver’s vision is not impaired.

If the damage is too large (usually over half an inch in diameter), or it is in such a position that the repair might obstruct the driver’s view, then full replacement will be necessary. Full replacement can also become necessary if a small, otherwise-repairable chip, is left for too long; vibration from the moving car can cause the chip to develop into a crack, or in cold climates water can get into the chip, freeze into ice, and cause the glass to crack.

The Techniques Used To Replace Windshields

Before the windshield replacement is carried out, all items near to the glass need to be removed – this includes the wipers, mirror and anything connected to the inside of the glass, such as a GPS bracket. All vents need to be suitably sealed to ensure dust and debris cannot get into the engine or the radiator.

The rubber gasket, which helps to hold the auto glass in place and protect it from dirt and rain, needs to be removed. This is most often accomplished by carefully cutting into one corner and then pealing the seal away from the rest of the windshield with a knife or screwdriver.

The glass is always removed by applying pressure from the inside of the vehicle. If the windshield is already damaged, then further cracks can develop at this point, which means the pressure to remove the glass should be even and gentle. After the original glass has been removed, the frame should be thoroughly cleaned. The new gasket is then inserted into the frame and coated with sealant. After this, the new glass is pushed into the gasket and excess sealant is wiped away.

The process sounds simple. However, if performed incorrectly or with inferior materials, safety issues can develop. These issues may not become apparent until it is too late; waiting for a crash to occur before finding out that the windshield has been improperly fitted can lead to serious injury. In view of this, it is advisable to leave this job to a professional repair company.

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