A broken windscreen can occur as a result of many things, including flying debris and even changes in the weather. While damaged windscreens are a common problem, they’re fortunately not toodifficult to resolve. If you’re contemplating a windscreen replacement, here’s what to expect.
Preparing to Replace a Windscreen
A glass repair technician will measure your windscreen to ensure the new one is the right size. They might double check these measurements to ensure they match the manufacturer’s recommendations. With the right size glass ready to go, the next step is to remove any trim that’s holding your windscreen in place. This could require cutting the trim with a razor knife and then peeling it away.
Removing the Old Windscreen
With the trim no longer holding your windscreen in place, it should now be easy to remove. Even so, this task normally requires two people (one on each end) to lift the windscreen out of its slot. Thick gloves are required to keep hands from being cut by the windscreen’s sharp edges.
When dealing with a cracked or broken windscreen, there’s a good chance that it may come out in pieces. In that case, you should cover your vehicle’s heater and defroster vents, and wear eye protection to shield your eyes from any flying shards of glass.
Cleaning the Punch Weld
Now that the old windscreen is out, the pinch weld must be cleaned out. The pinch weld is a small groove that sits between your car’s body and the windscreen itself. It may contain tiny pieces of glass, or have dirt and debris that has built up over time. To clean the pinch weld:
- Dust the groove lightly with a whisk broom
- Vacuum any stubborn pieces away
- Run a damp cloth along the opening to remove dust and dirt
After cleaning, the pinch weld must dry thoroughly before adding adhesive urethane. This normally takes less than 30 minutes.
Securing Your New Windscreen
Once the pinch weld has dried, urethane is then applied. This requires careful attention, as the adhesive must be applied evenly and in precisely the right quantity. Use too little and the new windscreen will likely not hold. Add too much and the extra urethane may seep out onto the glass and create a big mess.
After filling the pinch weld with adhesive, the new windscreen must be placed immediately. That way, the urethane will not have a chance to dry. Once the windscreen is properly positioned, it needs a gentle push to guide and hold it into place while the adhesive sets.
Following a windscreen replacement, you will need to let your car sit for a predetermined amount of time. This is normally anywhere from one to four hours. Glass technicians may also put tape over the top of your windscreen to help hold it in position. You will likely need to keep this tape on for at least 24 hours.
Conditions for Windscreen Replacement
Windscreens should be replaced only when there is little or no chance of rain, as driving your vehicle in the rain right after a windscreen replacement could result in glass that doesn’t hold. Naturally, this means you should avoid washing your car (or cleaning the windscreen) for a few days afterwards.