6 Ways to Stop a Windshield Crack from Spreading

In addition to detracting from the appearance of your vehicle, a cracked windshield make can also reduce your visibility. While many people think that a small crack is a minor issue and ignore it for days or even weeks, the imperfection can spread quickly and make your car unsafe to drive.

The damage may be referred to as a chip, a stress crack, a star break or a bull’s-eye depending upon the size and shape of the flaw. Regardless of its type and size, the crack will eventually spread as the glass expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and pressure.

A stone kicked up by the vehicle traveling in front of you can easily create a star-shaped crack at the point of impact. While this crack may initially be small, it can impair your visibility as it spreads. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive and straightforward ways to stop a windshield crack from spreading.

In This Guide

Dangers of a Cracked Windshield

cracked-windshieldMany drivers think that a cracked windshield is just a small annoyance, but the issue does not receive the attention that it deserves. Traffic officials and safety experts recommend immediate corrective actions.

Along with providing protection from the elements and road debris as you drive, the windshield plays a crucial safety role during an accident. As part of the forward crumple zone, the windshield directs the force of a front-end collision down into the chassis. This design minimizes the effects of the impact on the interior and protects passengers traveling in the vehicle.

A faulty windshield will not provide the ideal protection in the event of a collision. To ensure proper visibility and overall safety, many state inspection facilities will not pass a vehicle with windshield cracks over a certain size or in specific areas. That said, it isn’t necessary to replace your windshield when you see a small crack.

You can save the cost of replacement, prevent the minor imperfection from getting worse and keep your car on the road if you take the appropriate actions.

Evaluate the Extent of the Crack

windshield-needs-replacingInspect your windshield to assess the condition of the crack. Determine whether you have the ability to fix the crack or must take your vehicle to a shop for repairs or replacement if the glass is beyond repair.

Measure the size and depth of the imperfection. If the crack is approximately a foot long, half an inch wide or has been there for an extended period, you should replace the windshield.

Stopping a Windshield Crack from Spreading

The first step is to prevent stressors like dirt, water and other debris from entering the crack. Although it will not withstand the pressure of a car wash or severe weather, a piece of clear tape can help keep the crack clean under normal driving conditions.

Here are a few more techniques to keep the crack from spreading. While professionals offer windshield chip and crack repair services, a do-it-yourselfer can accomplish the task with the right materials and a little patience.

1. Purchase a Windshield Repair Kit

To fix the crack yourself, purchase a windshield repair kit from a local automotive parts supply store. The kit contains an adapter and a specialized resin that will be forced into the crack. The resin will seal the crack from the outside elements, reduce stress on the glass and prevent further spreading. Use a 1/16-inch drill bit to bore a small hole at one end of the crack through only the top layer of the glass. Force the repair kit resin into the seam.

2. Use Super Glue to Hold the Glass Together

Instead of purchasing a repair kit, you can also use standard cyanoacrylate glue, which is commonly marketed as Super Glue, if the crack is small enough. Gently force the glue into the crack or scratch and spread it out evenly. The glue will hold the two sides of the crack together preventing it from getting larger.

3. Use Nail Polish as a Temporary Solution

Some people have even reported success using clear acrylic nail polish. Clean the dirt and dust out of the crack. Apply liberal amounts of nail polish on the inside and outside of the crack as well as over the areas where the crack will spread. This will help hold the glass together while you schedule a visit to a repair shop. Remember that using nail polish and Super Glue are only temporary fixes. You should still have your windshield inspected by an expert.

4. Park Your Car in the Shade

In addition to heat, the weight of snow and the force of wind and rain will cause the crack to get bigger. Parking your vehicle in the shade will help reduce the effects of temperature changes and the elements. Park your vehicle inside whenever possible to reduce stress on the glass.

5. Get Advice from a Windshield Expert

Speak to someone who has expertise in windshield repair. This individual will have the knowledge and experience as well as the tools and materials to temporarily repair the crack. They may be able to contain the size of the crack and make the imperfection appear smaller than it is.

6. Hire a Professional

If your damage assessment determined that temporary do-it-yourself fixes would not stop the crack from spreading, you should find a professional windshield repair shop, such as Safelite. Do not wait any longer than absolutely necessary to get your car’s glass repaired.

The sooner you deal with windshield cracks, the better. Complex cracks and defects longer than 6 inches can severely limit your visibility and reduce the strength of your windshield. Do not wait until the crack gets bigger.

The smaller the crack, the easier it will be to fix. If you wait too long, the problem may have worsened to the point where the crack cannot be repaired, and you’ll have to replace the entire windshield.

Over to You

We’re interested to know – what type of crack does your windshield have and what method did you use to keep it from getting bigger? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below!

4 thoughts on “6 Ways to Stop a Windshield Crack from Spreading

  1. Here is a thought, as long as the crack in your windshield has not started starring significantly it can be repaired. If there is a significant star, then it’s pretty obvious that you have to replace the windshield.

    I don’t know if you know this but windshields are important parts of the body structure. You may think that they are just there to keep rain, snow and insects from pelting you as you drive but windshields are not. Windshields play a significant role in stabilizing the torque stresses of the front end of the vehicle. They also play an important role in the overall structural integrity of the whole vehicle (it seems funny that a thin piece of laminated material is responsible for major structural integrity, but it is).

    With this said, though, a minor windshield star can quickly a major problem unless it is handled correctly. By handling correctly, I mean letting a professional take car of it. Some of the ideas suggested for DIY won’t work well, if they work at all.

    Nail polish, for instance, will not get down into the layers of the windshield and will not adhere to the many layers of material involved so you would have a repair in name only as it might seal the top there would be no repairs below. The same is true of super glue or Gorilla glue. You may be able to get a seal but it would only be, again, a surface closure.

    To affect a real solution, you need to obtain the service of a professional. He will assess the situation and give you not only an estimate but tell you what needs to be done. If it is a small half-moon or raindrop, then what will be done is fairly straightforward. The windshield pro will take an instrument that looks like a scribe. He will center the scribe above the damage and then insert a needle-like device, using the scribe as a guide, and open the damage a bit so it is clean and somewhat rounded. Then, he will take a needle-like device, inserting it into the hole he scribed, and he will fill it with a quick-setting resin and you will be good to go.

    If, on the other hand, the damage is much more extreme — a large crack or huge star — then you will have to replace the windshield. If you are worried about he cost, don’t worry as a working, solid windshield is required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Statute 208 and 212 and amended by 219. So, your car’s comprehensive coverage should take care of the cost on the spot. If not, submit the slip through your agent and you will be reimbursed.

    .I hope this information helps. Let me know what happens.

  2. Unfortunately I’m reading this too late. I’m at the point of new. I believe it went into spread mode as soon as. Unfortunately again, my work keeps me in the street. And the weather was at it’s hottest for a few days. I got one price, at 2 almost 3. I didn’t think under 3 at all. I don’t have time but I will check other prices.

  3. I remember a rock hitting my windshield yesterday but I didn’t see any visible signs of a crack today I noticed a kind of a little tiny crack and then two lines like a box one on the left one on the right and then a little one on the bottom so that kind of a square with an open-end on top and but it was not very big within 2 hours it’s now about 2 ft long so sometimes they’re just going to start spreading and they’re not going to stop spreading sometimes you have to get to me even quicker than that this must be a pretty bad big rock that hit my windshield

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