DIY Windshield Repair: a Pro’s Perspective

Old time TV with soap box salesman

—If you are thinking about buying a DIY windshield repair kit, save yourself a lot of headaches by reading this article before you do. Don’t miss the tips about what to do if you already tried to fix your own windshield, and my professional advice if you do want to do-it-yourself.

I often receive calls to inspect windshield damage…it’s part of my job! Unfortunately, many of the rock chips I inspect were already repaired, but they failed and the damage is spreading.

You may be thinking those ruined windshields are caused by incompetent auto glass repair technicians, but that is not always true. They are often caused by the car owners themselves using one of those cheap windshield repair kits you can buy at auto parts stores.

I always hate telling someone that I can’t fix the failed repair. Once the resin is injected into the break and cured, that’s it.

Jump to If You Tried DIY but the Repair Failed

I understand…people are trying to save money where they can these days. But cutting corners with your windshield is not the best idea! The sad thing is that the cost of the kit and my inspection fee would have almost covered the cost of paying a professional to fix the rock chip in the first place.

What’s Wrong with DIY Kits?

complex star break in windshield
Difficult rock chips require professional expertise and equipment to be properly repaired.

DIY windshield repair kits include instructions, a tool to remove broken glass from the break, a way to inject the resin into the damaged area, and a piece of curing film. The step-by-step instructions guide you through the process. What those kits DO NOT provide is years of experience and a trained eye.

Professional windshield repair technicians have fixed hundreds, if not thousands, of rock chips. This experience enables them to complete the job with the smallest risk of causing additional damage.

In addition, professional technicians:

  • Know how much pressure to apply to the windshield to avoid cracking.
  • Use professional equipment that allows them to fully fill the damaged area.
  • Understand how to fix different types of windshield damage…star breaks, bullseyes, combination breaks, and cracks.
  • Use high-quality resins with the correct viscosity according to the type of damage and windshield temperature.
  • Can complete the repair in as little as 10 – 15 minutes. (Most DIY kit users report it takes them 1 – 2 hours.)
  • Finish the repair by filling the pit and leveling it so the windshield wiper blades don’t catch on the excess dried resin.

As you can see, there is more to windshield repair than squirting resin into a hole in your windshield!

How to Save Money without Doing It Yourself

How do you save money on professional windshield repair? It’s easy!

If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, then your repair will likely cost you nothing out-of-pocket.

Not a penny.

That’s because most insurance companies waive the deductible for windshield repairs. (This varies from state-to-state. Check with your insurance agent.)

Companies that are insurance network approved often provide claim service as a convenience to their customers.

If you do not have comprehensive insurance coverage, you can save money on the repair cost several different ways:

  • Get it fixed as soon as possible. The larger the damage, the more it costs for the repair. For instance, a bullseye that spreads into a 6″ crack will cost approximately double than for repairing the rock chip alone.
  • Get multiple breaks fixed at the same time. Most companies offer a significant discount for fixing additional rock chips on the same windshield if they are repaired at the same appointment.
  • Charge It. Windshield chip repair is an emergency expense. Don’t hold off getting your windshield fixed because you don’t have the cash. Many windshield repair companies accept credit cards or have other payment options. You don’t save money up-front by paying with a credit card but you are preventing the damage from cracking further and possibly ruining your windshield!

Call GlassLogic Windshield Repair

If You Tried DIY but the Repair Failed

If you tried a DIY Windshield Repair Kit but the damaged area did not fill completely, the rock chip may eventually start to crack.

Old time TV with soap box salesman

If this happens, call a professional right away. Once the break begins to crack, it can quickly spread across the entire windshield.

Professional technicians cannot always fix the failed repair, but they can stop the crack from spreading and totally cracking out your windshield.

Just be sure to tell the technician that you tried to repair the windshield yourself so they know what to expect.

Don’t be embarrassed. The DIY kit manufacturers pay millions of dollars for advertising to convince you that their products work as well as professional equipment! Everyone falls for a sales pitch now and then.

A glass tech will inspect the repair you did yourself. If there is a weak spot, they may be able to drill into the area and fill it with resin to prevent it from cracking. They cannot, however, drill into the pit and redo the entire repair.

Professional Advice

The next time your windshield is pelted by a rock, inspect the damage. Then, instead of reaching for that DIY Windshield Repair Kit, call a professional. You may save yourself hundreds of dollars on an unexpected windshield replacement.

If you want to try do-it-yourself, for best results, read the instructions before starting the repair and follow them exactly. Here are some other tips:

  • Never try to fix your windshield when it is raining or the break is wet.
  • Work in the shade so the resin does not cure prematurely.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete the repair process. It takes longer to fill a break than you think.

Have you ever tried fixing your windshield yourself? How did it turn out?

If you enjoyed this article, then you might like these:

Call GlassLogic Windshield Repair

Gene Torres, Repair Tech

Nationally Certified Windshield Repair Technician with over 15 years' experience.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Charlie

    I want to second this opinion. As a fellow glass professional I cannot count the number of “repairs” that I have seen as result of DIY kits. I have even heard people report that they “filled it with nail polish.” The glass industry has spent years and billions of dollars perfecting something that most of the time is going to be better off left to them to work on.

  2. Anonymous

    Lots of good information in this post. I have some personal experience with this problem and I have to agree with everything you said. The first time I got a cracked windshield I tried to fix it myself and failed miserably. I had to get the whole windshield replaced. The next time I got a cracked windshield, being the stubborn person that I am, I tried to fix it myself again. However this time I talked to some more knowledgeable friends of mine, watched a million Youtube videos on how to do it, and then gave myself plenty of time to work on it. As a result, the repair was much for successful, so it can be done. Most people may want to just stick with the professional repair though, IMHO.

  3. Shea Bramer

    I totally agree, this post has a lot of excellent information for anyone needing a windshield repair. Going through a professional organization is really safer and often more cost effective.

  4. Michelle H. Engelke

    I believe the only issue is that you don’t have the dexterity and head supplies that an expert windshield repair specialist has. You won’t have the capacity to tweak your procedure depending upon if your damage is a large break or a particular sort of chip, for example a Bull’s-eye.

  5. Sophia Liam

    This is really good advice. I trust you more than a lot of other blogs, because you talk about what procedure you advise, then give tips for if we decide to go the other way. Wind chip repair is super important to consider, because a windscreen replacement is rough to go through. I know some people who do the repair themselves and do just fine, but repair isn’t a good DIY project for everyone.

    Thanks for the article!
    Sophia Liam

  6. Herb

    I’ve done a few repairs and thus far (6 years) they have stopped the damage from spreading. You’re right, you really have to take your time and have lot’s of patience. My wife took her car in to have a chip repaired and the finished product looks better than the one I did at home, but you can still tell it was repaired. The only problem with getting a free fix using your insurance is that the insurance company reports it as a claim to Lexus-Nexus, so even though it’s only a $65-85 claim, your rates WILL go up next time you renew even if you change companies.

    1. Sue

      Whether your insurance goes up depends on what state you live in, your insurance company, and how many claims you have had in the past year. In Texas, most insurance companies allow up to three rock chip repairs within a calendar year without it affecting your rates. However, if you have had several other claims (such as accidents) during that year, a rock chip repair can raise your rates.

  7. Ashley Reed

    I don’t know that you actually save money doing a windshield repair on your own. My friend bought a kit and did it herself, but she didn’t do it right, and it spread. Now she has a crack straight across her windshield, and has to get the whole thing replaced. It would have been cheaper to spend a couple extra bucks and get it done right the first time.

  8. Doc holiday

    I will spend $10 and if it don’t work then replace the windshield for 100. End of story. Don’t be a wimp, try it. The professionals will scare you by saying, what if you hurt your windshield? It’s already damaged.

    1. Sue

      Well, if you wreck your windshield using the $10 kit then have to pay $100+ to replace it, you could have had a repair technician fix it for half the price! The reason for the article was to save people the extra expense and frustration because often the DIY repairs don’t work.

      1. Josh

        Here is my issue I paid 140 to replace my windshield 1.5 years ago. The cost to repair the star crack on my windshield is 99.99. I think ill take my chances on my own cause I rather pay the extra 40 for a brand new windshield if I mess up.

        1. Sue

          Hey Josh:

          $100 to repair a star on your windshield? That is really high for a windshield repair.

          Star breaks are difficult to repair because the cracks are usually very tight. If you don’t get the resin injected into those cracks, they may spread. Often star breaks need to be drilled to get them to fill.

          I hope you can find an independent windshield repair technician in your area that doesn’t charge such an exorbitant price for a rock chip repair. Often replacement companies charge high prices for repairs so you opt for the replacement instead (they make more money on replacement). So try to find someone who does chip repair only.

          Good luck!

  9. Steve

    Kadink!-> Star defect on windshield which was just recently replaced…. Very fortunate that location was above the rv mirror, and no rain prior to repair attempt. I “carefully” selected the 3M product due to this being the only one available at the store. Just followed the (excellent) directions- And employed some degree of nontransferable “fixit” knowledge long accumulated…. Which means-> Someone “not handy” might gorf it up! I have to say here that the conditions present were perfect- for a good repair- No water intrusion/done soon/resin curing sunlight available, etc,etc. Without using a microscope, It appears that it worked!- Time will tell…. Kinda: A bummer star crack experience reversed into a “YAY” via a $15 kit.

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