There’s a saying that is quite popular to the majority of drivers: “It’s better to have scratches in the car’s interior than scratches at the car’s windshield.” Car windshields serve important functions.
This includes ensuring safety and aerodynamic functionsWith its component, it can even help in blocking harmful UV raysThere’s no doubt that it’s one of the major parts of the vehicle that you don’t want to get scratched.
But anything can happen while you’re driving on the road. Most of the time, a seemingly harmless situation can damage your windshield. If you’re unlucky enough, your windshield would need replacement because of the irreparable damage. For people who are a bit lucky, maybe a shallow scratch or two are visible.
Nevertheless, you should address the scratches in the windshield immediately. These things, although harmless at first, can impair your vision while driving. Whether you use plastic windshield or glass, you can find how to fix a scratched windshield below.
To replace or repair?
Not all damages on a windshield can be repaired, even when you take it to professional automobile repair providers. There are times when the damage is already severe, that you don’t have a choice but to replace it completely. A minor damaged one (especially chips and cracks) should be taken care of immediately before the damage can spread through the whole windshield. That’s why taking care of the windshield as soon as possible is a priority.
Windshield scratches, on the other hand, can be fixed at a later period and do not require immediate attention. This is because the damage will not spread any further and will stay as it is. This means that you have more options whether to repair it yourself or have someone do it for you. You can repair any light scratches with DIY repair kits that contain glass scrub. But for deeper scratches, you need to use a product with cerium oxide.
Overall, fine scratches can be dealt with using DIY methods. However, experts recommend replacing the whole windshield if it has moderate to severe scratches all over the place. A wide area of scratches the covers the line of sight is considered a reason to replace the windshield completely. For people who consider repairing it themselves, here are the different methods of fixing a scratched windshield for cheap.
Fixing a windshield scratch: for plastic windshield
Most cars have laminated glass windshields: it has both a glass and a plastic layer for safety. Motorcycles and race cars usually have a plastic windshield that is made with Lexan or Plexiglass. Hence, these materials can get scratched easily. It’s almost as if cleaning scratches is a part of the regular maintenance for this type.
You don’t need much to clean and remove scratches for a plastic windshield. Here is the following stuff you need to start removing those fine lines:
- Foam applicator pad – For smoothing out the scratched surface and getting rid of the lines
- Plastic cleaner – The main cleaner and polisher
- Microfiber towels
1. Clean the windshield with plastic cleaner
Get your microfiber towels and clean any dust and dirt from the plastic to avoid baking it to the surface. Put a quarter-sized amount of plastic cleaner to the foam applicator. We don’t recommend using paper towels because its texture is harsh and can add more to the scratches. Use it to clean the windshield out by continuous wiping in a circular motion. This is to even out the plastic and fill the surface scratches.
2. Don’t let the windshield get dry until everything is covered
Don’t let the polish get dry while you’re applying on other surfaces. Before the polish dissipates, reapply the polish once again. Do this until all the area in the windshield is covered. Make sure that you’re only wiping the surface in a circular motion to avoid uneven cleaning and unintended scratches.
Using the microfiber towel, wipe off the whole coat of polish. You’ll need a lot of fresh microfiber towel for this step. Tip: to avoid using a lot of towels, also use the other side to cover more surface. This should make the scratches disappear. To look for scratches, get a good look at the reflection of the plastic. It should be clear and polished. If you tried to wipe the surface in a different direction, you might have a very uneven finish.
4. Repeat the steps until the scratches are not visible
Keep on checking your progress. You might have to repeat the three steps if the scratches don’t go away the first time. Repeat the steps until you have removed all the scratches, or the appearance satisfies your preferences. Once finished, wipe the area once again until its dry.
Fixing a windshield scratch: for glass windshield
A glass windshield needs a different type of cleaning than a plastic windshield. You might also need the knowledge in using tools included in the car kits. Besides, problems can also arise from improper handling, making the glass more prone to unwanted scratches. This method is a great way to remove windshield scratches if these scratches aren’t that deep. For deeper scratches, consider the help of a professional.
Here are the things that you need in removing minor scratches in a glass windshield:
- A complete glass repair kit – contains all the tools that you need for glass cleaning.
- Cerium Oxide – the rubbing compound which we will use to erase the cracks
- Microfiber cloth
1. Clean the glass windshield with soap and water
First and foremost, clean the windshield with nonaggressive materials such as soap and water. Make sure that dirt and other particles are not present when you’re going to use the rubbing compound. Use the applicator device (included in the kit) to remove the air and dirt from the gaps if the scratch.
2. Mix the rubbing compound with water
Cerium oxide is usually manufactured in powdered form. To apply it on a surface in a paste-form consistency, you need to add water in the mix. Use the instructions from the label for your product until you have a semi-liquid consistency. The rubbing compound is usually available for purchase online. You can fix up to 50 macron-deep scratches using this rubbing compound.
3. Apply the rubbing compound to the scratch
It’s time to apply the rubbing compound to the area. Dry the surface using microfiber before applying the cerium oxide rubbing compound. For bigger scratches, you might have to use a hard rubber polishing wheel attached on a hand drill (optional), but it can help in wider scratches. Consistently check your pressure to avoid damage, if you’re using a polishing wheel.
4. Repeat until there are no scratches left
Repeat the steps above until no scratches are visible. To test, get in your car and see the windshield. If there are still scratches that catch your vision line, your windshield needs more polishing. When you’re sure that there are no more scratches, wipe out all the excess cerium oxide and other materials. The outcome will be a scratch-free windshield.
Ways to protect the windshield from scratches
What’s the better way to fix scratched windshield than preventing it from happening? You can prevent scratches just by being mindful of your car’s windshield situation. There are several things you can do to avoid scratches (even the damage brought by the wipers).
First thing first, keep your wiper fluid topped off, as the dryness causes more friction, and hence, scratches. If possible, always park in an indoor parking lot or under a shade. After a drive down the dusty road, clean your windshield and don’t let the dirt stay for too long. Last but not least, drive carefully to avoid unwanted minor accidents that cause windshield scratches.