A big question that’s often asked is whether you can DIY your own windshield repair or if it’s better to call a professional. You could ask the same type of question for a lot of things, like household plumbing, lawn care or fixing your laptop. There’s a lot to be said for that ‘can-do’ attitude and grabbing the bull by the horns to pick up some new skills, but there are limits when it comes to safety and quality.
This post will look at the differences between do-it-yourself windshield repair vs calling an auto glass repair shop and when it’s better to choose one over another.
DIY windshield repair kits
There are plenty of do-it-yourself windshield repair kits available at your nearest auto parts store or online, often costing only around $10-$20 or so. At first glance, twenty bucks to fix your windshield sounds like a great deal, especially when a garage can easily charge 5-10 times that price for the same result. Well, that’s more of a question: is it the same quality?
The good news is that these kits often (and make sure they do) provide you with all of the parts and tools needed to fix small rock chips on your windshield and to get a ‘just like new’ result. Moreover, since you’re doing it yourself you won’t need to pay for labor.
An excellent DIY windshield repair kit should be pretty easy and straightforward to use. All of the instructions are normally on the package and it only takes a few hours at most to fix small windshield chips. In terms of success, a good DIY kit normally has around a 90% success rate which isn’t bad.
What’s wrong with DIY windshield repair?
Now, what’s bad and outright ugly about DIY windshield repair kits? Consider the following:
- There is still around a 10% failure rate, i.e. the resin didn’t cure properly, the chip is too big for the kit, or the kit was improperly applied and the damage has worsened;
- Your vehicle is in an undesirable climate (the frigid north, humid south, etc.). Windshield repair resin and epoxy products are designed to cure at an optimal temperature of around 70° Fahrenheit with around 50% humidity;
- You could void your car warranty if you’ve used a DIY windshield repair kit;
- The kit is simply poor quality;
- Your insurance provider could give you problems later on if the windshield breaks or shatters and they learn that you’ve tried to DIY the repairs.
In the worst cases, that $10-$20 spent can lead to hundreds of dollars in repairs down the road, plenty of lost time, and a lot of headaches.
Save money without a DIY kit
Is it possible to save money without using a cheap DIY windshield repair kit? Yes! In some cases, the total cost to you can be as little as $0. That’s right, completely free.
Comprehensive insurance often includes windshield cover, meaning you’ll often pay absolutely nothing out of pocket for windshield repairs. Naturally, this depends a lot on your state, your insurance coverage, and the specific policy you have, but in many cases insurance providers will outright waive the deductible and your claim will cover the complete cost when performed by a reputable auto glass shop near you.
The reason why many insurers are eager to pay for windshield chip repairs and crack repairs (which are often impossible to DIY) is that repairing a windshield sooner rather than later is a lot faster and less expensive than having to replace it later on. Having it performed by a qualified professional also ensures that the tools and techniques used will restore the structural integrity of your windshield so that you’re safe and sound on the road.
Fixing windshield chips vs cracks
As mentioned, there’s a difference between chips and cracks. Most DIY kits can only repair small bullseye chips, perhaps the size of a quarter or so. There’s also the condition that the chip does not penetrate the windshield completely. In these cases, a DIY kit may be a sensible choice so long as you follow the instructions closely.
Cracks are a horse of a different color, however. Even small cracks often cannot be repaired with DIY kits and require specialized tools only available to professional auto glass technicians with years of experience. Cracks are iffy; some small cracks can be repaired, depending on where they are on the windshield, others simply cannot be repaired and a full replacement will be necessary.
Windshield repair vs windshield replacement
In most cases, it’s best to repair a windshield rather than replace it. Windshield replacement tends to be a lot more expensive and requires more time, plus it’s something you really don’t want to attempt to DIY so you’ll need to have it taken into the shop (or better yet, find an auto glass technician willing to come out to you).
Without the skills and expertise that come with years of working with auto glass, it can be hard to tell where that fine line is between a windshield that can be repaired safely and one that absolutely must be replaced.
Calling in a professional: is it worth it?
It’s understandable that many drivers may be worried about having to go to an auto glass shop. Perhaps you’re worried about how much it’ll set you back, or maybe you have doubts regarding the quality of workmanship.
That’s why it’s always best to choose only reputable, vetted auto glass shops in your city, county, or state that meet the high standards of customer service, quality workmanship, and offer affordable prices for auto glass services.
Drive with confidence
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To get started, simply click on the ‘GET QUOTES’ tab above and enter your ZIP code. Choose your preferred auto glass shop and request FREE, no-obligation quotes today.