Every vehicle no matter what type it is has a windshield which is one of those parts that play such a big role yet it’s often taken for granted until you need to replace it. But when do you need a windshield replacement? While a crack on the windshield can be a big issue sometimes it doesn’t require replacement. But when the crack is longer than 3 inches (7.5 cm) and when the inner glass layer has been affected then a windshield replacement is inevitable. This type of DIY auto glass repair may not seem easy but if you have the right information in hand and with the help of some friends you can easily do a good job at it. It’s important that you just take your time and double-check steps before you execute them.
How to Replace A Windshield
No task is going to go well if you don’t prepare which in this case involves having certain tools such as a razor blade, suction cups, caulk gun, windshield removal tool, urethane primer and urethane adhesive. No car windshield replacement is going do be doable without a couple of friends too, so make sure you have two people helping you as you go. Before you start removing the front windshield you’ll need to remove the wiper arms, rear-view mirror and the inside trims. You’ll also need to remove the exterior trims around the windshield as well as the windshield cowl.
- You will start removing the windshield by cutting the urethane found around it. This step requires a long knife such as a urethane cut-out knife but you can use a thin stiff wire too. When cutting around the perimeter of the windshield make sure you don’t damage the pinch weld too much.
- When you have the urethane cut out, remove the windshield. Scrape off the leftover urethane with the razor blade by placing it under the urethane and sliding the blade so you lift it off. Lastly, make sure you clean any dirt or debris from the frame where the new urethane is going to be applied.
- The first thing to do after you’ve removed the old windshield is to prime the pinch weld. While you were removing the urethane with the razor blade you’ve definitely made some scratches, which is normal. This is why you need to apply the urethane primer into both the inside edge and window channel. The primer will provide protection from rust and help glue the urethane to the perimeter. If you’ve spotted rust in the perimeter of the windshield, sand it down with sandpaper and then apply the primer.
- When you’ve successfully applied the primer wait a couple of minutes and then proceed by applying the urethane bead. For this step, you will use the caulk gun in which you will pour in the urethane from its cartridge. When applying the bead around the perimeter of the windshield ensure that there are no gaps, instead, this should be one continuous line of urethane. Avoid stopping and move in a stable motion. Do not change the speed at which you apply the urethane, make sure it’s constant. In case you have some gaps in the urethane bead take a small spatula and even it out or add some urethane to it. Avoid having urethane fall on your vehicle’s paint as it can be very difficult to remove.
- When it comes to placing the new windshield you’ll need one more person as this is not a one-man job. Lay down the windshield carefully and when you have it in place push down on around the glue line with the palm of your hand. Be careful not to apply a lot of pressure and to use the suction cups when placing the windshield. When you’ve pressed the whole windshield in place, put back the cowling wipers, trims and everything else that you removed before you started with the car windshield replacement. Leave the car parked for a couple of hours in order for the urethane to cure. Some can take up to 48 hours to completely cure just make sure to check that beforehand on the backside of the cartridge.
Types of Windshield Glass
Original equipment manufacturer windshield glass is a part that is certified by the genuine manufacturer. OEM glass is the same as the one on your vehicle when it came out of the factory. Car collectors usually get OEM windshield glass in order to keep the originality of the car. This glass is usually AS-1 certified and it will fit the vehicle correctly every single time.
A dealer windshield glass is bought from the car dealership that is authorized by the car manufacturer. This is basically the same glass as an OEM except that the manufacturer has made it available for purchase directly from a dealership.
Unlike an OEM or dealer glass, aftermarket windshield glass is manufactured to companies that work directly with the car manufacturer. Aftermarket glass is made according by the same specifications as OEM or dealer glass but it is not issued by the OEM or available at any dealership. Despite being less expensive, aftermarket glass usually has the same thickness as OEM glass and has the same guarantee – you just have to put some effort into finding it.