The last thing you want to see when you look at your windshield is a big scratch that blocks your view. But what can you do about those ugly scratches on your windshield? Will you have to get a new one?
Here, we’ve broken down everything you need to know, from how to find the cause of the scratch to how to fix it. We’ll take care of everything and get you back on the road as soon as possible. Even better, we’ll try to keep you from having to pay for any costly repairs.
Diagnosing the Scratch
When figuring out how to fix a scratch on a window, it’s important to find out how deep the scratch is. That’s because your windshield is made of two different kinds of glass. The outside is made of laminate, which is easy to fix.
The deeper layer is the glass itself, which is very hard, if not impossible, to fix once it is scratched or broken.
You can use your fingernail to find out which layer is scratched. Just run your fingernail over the scratch to see if you can feel any grooves. If you can, then the scratch is deep. On the other hand, if you have a small scratch, even though you can see it, everything will still feel smooth.
Keep in mind that if your windshield is cracked, you may need to get it fixed by a professional. If the crack is too long, you may have to replace the whole windshield.
Repairing the Scratch
While you can use these methods to repair both deep and minor scratches, they’re far more effective with minor scratches.
Glass Repair Kit – Preferred Method
There’s a reason that “glass repair kit” is in the name. These are highly effective at minor scratches, small chips, and even tiny cracks!
Start by thoroughly cleaning the windshield before using the kit. Once everything is clean, follow the directions on the kit. Usually, this involves applying a rubbing compound into the scratch then moving the vehicle to an area with direct sunlight to allow the compound to cure.
Glass repair kits will usually cure in 5 to 10 minutes, which is a huge reason why they’re so popular. The curing process involves curing strips, so once everything has dried, remove them and buff out any remaining damage.
Not only can these compounds help with minor scratches, but they can even fill in small cracks and other damage!
Just keep in mind that you’ll likely still be able to see the crack if that’s what you’re using the glass repair kit for. However, these kits keep the cracks from spreading, which can end up saving your entire windshield.
Runner Up: Acrylic Scratch Remover
Acrylic scratch removers are very similar to glass repair kits, but they can take a little longer to work. These kits do a great job of getting rid of windshield scratches, but they won’t work on deep scratches.
Just like you would with a glass repair kit, clean your whole windshield before you start. Then, put the rubbing compound on the scratch and wait 20 to 30 minutes for it to dry. Once the compound has dried, clean the windshield again and buff away any damage that is still there.
If you’re in a pinch, clear nail polish will do.
We don’t recommend using clear acrylic nail polish to fix small scratches in your windshield, but there’s no doubt that it’s the easiest way to do it. Clear acrylic nail polish gets hard as it dries, so all you have to do is put it on the problem area.
But these acrylics aren’t the same as the ones in glass repair kits, so you should only use them for small scratches on the surface. Since the laminate layer in the windshield doesn’t affect how well it works, you can choose a less expensive repair compound.
But clear nail polish won’t protect the rest of your windshield as well as a real glass repair kit would if the glass layer is broken.
What Caused the Scratch?
Even if it’s not that important to know what caused the scratch, you want to make sure it doesn’t keep happening. Because the last thing you want is to fix the damage, only to have it happen again because the cause wasn’t fixed!
When a windshield wiper is scratching your windshield, this is a very common thing to happen. Other possible causes include road hazards, which usually won’t happen again unless you’re always driving through an area with low overhangs that hit your car.
Just because your windshield has a scratch on it doesn’t mean you need to order a new one. Even though fixing scratches can take some time and effort, it’s well worth it when you consider that a new windshield can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000.
Just make sure that you can see the road clearly after the job is done and that you don’t mistake a scratch for a crack. Either problem can cause bigger problems in the future.