Getting your windshield professionally repaired can cost you anywhere up to $150, but for less than a tenth of that, you could buy the best windshield repair kits and DIY it. I know that you’re thinking it’s risky … could you really do it at home and get pro results?
You need to understand that once you’ve got a bullseye damage or crack in the screen, it’s doubtful that even a professional windshield company could repair it so it’s invisible – you’re always going to be able to see some sort of mark (although some repairs give more clarity than others), and it’s the same with these home repair kits … they’ll make a big difference, but won’t give you perfect clarity.
Many people mistakenly believe that a windshield repair is all about making the glass perfect again … literally making the damage disappear, but that’s not the point of a repair – it’s purely to strengthen the crack or damage and to stop it spreading further – the fact that it helps with ‘hiding’ the damage is purely a bonus.
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The Best DIY Windshield Repair Kit
I’ve chosen four different kits, and three of them are for repairing damage like stone chips or cracks, while the fourth one is intended to improve the visibility or clarity of the glass by removing fine scratches.
Here’s my roundup, in no particular order.
Rain-X 600001 Windshield Repair Kit
The Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit works on all types of laminated automotive glass, and their advanced resin formula will minimize the appearance of chips and cracks, in fact they say that the crack disappears completely when viewed at a 45 degree angle.
The optimum size for repair is 1” for round damage (like a bullseye), or 12” for a crack – anything bigger and they don’t recommend trying to repair it. Unlike the other kits listed here, there’s enough resin for (and the system allows for) a number of repairs perhaps 4 or 5 in total.
You get everything in the box to complete a repair, and it really is very simple to use – repairing a windshield takes just minutes, but in all honesty, I prefer the method for the other kits.
Overall, it’s a great windshield repair kit that delivers good results, and you can use it again and again.
Permatex 09103 Windshield Repair Kit
This is a one time use only deal, but it works really well, thanks to the ‘redesigned, state of the art delivery system’. The trick with this kit is that it uses a syringe to suck out air through the resin, before then putting the resin under pressure to force it in to the damage.
There’s no mixing needed, and providing you follow the detailed instructions, you’ll get professional quality repairs every time. The glass chip repair kit is simple to set up and use – clean the damage, make sure there’s no loose debris, attach the sticky pad, attach the cup to the sticky pad, fill it with resin and the use the syringe to work it in – it’s a vacuum repair rather than relying on gravity alone.
Permatex say this kit works with bullseyes up to 1.25” in diameter, so it covers more ground (or windshield) than the Rain-X kit. If I was looking for a home windshield repair kit, this would be my choice.
Blue-Star Windshield Repair Kit
Proudly made in the USA.
I have to be honest, this kit looks identical to the Permatex one, and Blue-Star say that it’s the best cracked windshield repair kit available, which will restore a windshield to a ‘near new’ condition. While I don’t like to find issues in marketing speak, I do think they should change that – a near new condition is perfect clarity without any flaws or damage, no repair kit can offer that, I assume they actually mean ‘less damaged’ condition.
Just like the Permatex, it’s a one time only deal – if you’re looking to repair a number of chips, you’ll need a kit for each chip, crack or bullseye.
GP21005 Glass and Windshield Polishing DIY Kit
I thought that I’d open up the ‘repair kit’ to something a little more left-field – not all damage is rock or chip damage, sometimes it’s just old age, or badly fitted wiper blades that have scuffed the windshield, this is where the GP21005 kit comes in.
Before we get too deeply involved, it must be said that this kit can only deal with very light scratches and scuffing – basically the type that you can’t feel with a fingernail, and can see.
They claim that it’s completely non-abrasive, but given they include a polishing compound, I think there must be some sort of abrasive process in it. It can be used on any type of glass, be that domestic or automotive, and you just need an electric drill (or battery drill).
Be aware that it’s a labor intensive process. It could take around 2 hours to complete a windshield properly, and you’ll need to use the polishing compound sparingly. This kit will never be a miracle cure for deep scratches, but for everything else, it works really well, providing you have the elbow grease!
Repairing Your Windshield
As all of the kits use a specific set of instructions (which the quality of repair depends on you following to the letter), I can’t give you a step-by-step guide of repairs, however, there are some things that you should think about before embarking on a repair.
You should look to be repairing any damage as soon as possible – purely because the longer you leave it, the more dirt will get in to the damage, and not only is it difficult to clean out, but it could stop the repair resin from bonding to the glass properly.
Most of the resins used in windshield repairs rely on the sunlight to cure them for a hardened finish, so don’t do it at night, but more importantly, when you’re making the first stage of the repair, do it in a shaded area to stop the curing process happening prematurely.
You should also let the glass cool down before attempting the repair – too hot and it won’t work properly.
Any windshield repair is limited as to what it can actually repair, even the professionals can’t repair damage if it’s too big. Most kits can cope with bullseye damage up to around an inch, maybe slightly bigger (the Permatex kit listed here goes up to 1 1/4"). Some people may tell you that this just means you have to do it twice, placing a repair on a repair, but in my experience, that doesn’t work too well.
You’re not winning any special prizes or awards for finishing it in record time … this isn’t a pitstop, so take your time, make sure you thoroughly understand the process and equipment before starting, and don’t be tempted to rush it … a good repair takes time, especially if you’re new to the process.
It’s worth wearing safety protection – chemicals can burn, and if the resin gets in to your eyes, then you’ll quite possibly be looking at a trip to the ER – all for the sake of looking a bit goofy.