Got a pesky, annoying rock chip on your windshield? Before you go and schedule an appointment with your local windshield repair shop, you may want to consider a do-it-yourself (DIY) windshield repair kit. These products are relatively inexpensive (you might spend more on lunch) and sometimes they have surprising results. I say sometimes, because DIY windshield repair kits won’t work on all types of damages and should only be considered if you have a minor chip or crack on your windshield.
If you do have a crack on your windshield, you want to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Ignoring even the smallest of cracks will cost you in the long run, as they can spread, get larger, and eventually you’ll need your entire windshield replaced. Many of the off-the-shelf windshield repair kits are designed to prevent the crack from spreading, so that your windshield doesn’t get completely ruined. Just keep in mind, these kits aren’t designed to make your windshield look like it’s brand new again. There will still be some visible damage and if you’re planning to say, trade in your car, you’ll likely still get penalized for the crack.
Not surprisingly, it’s rather difficult to test several of these products since we don’t have a bunch of damaged windshields lying around. That being said, I do have experience using our top pick when a rock decided to pelt my Tesla Model 3’s windshield a few years back. It did its job in keeping the crack from spreading for several years, and I never had to pay a visit to a windshield repair shop. If you stick to reputable brands, most of the windshield repair kits are very similar and you’ll likely get the same results regardless of which one you purchase. So really, we don’t have a huge preference when it comes to our recommendations, and our ranking is admittedly arbitrary. You just can’t go wrong with any of them.
1. Top pick: Rain-X windshield repair kit
As I mentioned earlier, this is the actual product I used to handle a rock chip I got on my Model 3’s windshield. Just like the product is described, it is very easy to use and it’s designed to work on all types of laminated windshields. Again, its purpose is to minimize the appearance of chips and small cracks, preventing them from spreading and causing further damage.
So how does it work? Like many of the products on the list, this kit will remove the air from the chip or crack before filling it with durable resin. It works best on round damage that isn’t larger than one inch in diameter and cracks not longer than 12 inches. Rain-X does caution that it will not repair damage to more than one layer of glass, and it recommends to do the repair as soon as possible after the damage occurs.
2. Runner-up: 3M windshield repair kit
3M is one of the most well known brands in the automotive industry and it offers a plethora of vehicle parts and accessories. Its windshield repair kit is similar to our top pick from Rain-X. It’s designed to work on glass chips less than one inch in diameter and uses glass resin to fill the chip, preventing it from spreading. Each kit comes with an alcohol wipe, a bridge assembly, a pair of suction cups, three Phillips head screws, one resin chamber, a resin chamber tip, one injector with an injector O-ring, one bottle of glass repair resin, a stick pin, a dropper, clear plastic film, and a scraping blade.
3. Also consider: Permatex windshield repair kit
Permatex is another very reputable brand within the industry, and this product is also a popular option among car owners looking to repair their own windshields. It will work on damage up to 1.25 inches on most laminated windshield glass and uses a “state-of-the-art delivery system” featuring an advanced spring-lock feature. Like most of our recommendations, it’s a single-use kit utilizing resin that cures by natural sunlight. We have a video showcasing how Permatex’s kit works below in our FAQs section.
4. Best for professionals: Clearshield windshield repair kit
The average person is unlikely to repair hundreds of windshields in their lifetime, so why did we include this kit on our list? Well, maybe you’re planning on starting a business for repairing windshields, and that means you need a kit full of professional parts that will last. Or, there are others who want the most professional kit they can buy off the shelf, in hopes of getting better results. Whatever your reason may be, Clearshield offers different commercial-grade windshield repair kits, depending on how many repairs you plan on doing. I imagine most of our readers won’t need a kit that does over 1,000 repairs, but if you are looking for a professional kit, here you go.
The company’s kits are made in the U.S. and are used by technicians at over 1,000 retail locations. If you want a professional-grade kit and believe you have what it takes to repair windshields, make sure to take a look at an offering from Clearshield.
5. Worth mentioning: Blue Star windshield repair kit
If for whatever reason none of our previous recommendations catch your eye, Blue Star’s windshield repair kit gets an honorable mention from us. It’s another kit made in the U.S. and the company claims it has sold over 13.5-million units since 1982. It’s pretty similar to the other kits we’ve recommended — although this one is even more basic, which makes it easier to use. Again, so long as you’re repairing small cracks or chips around one inch in diameter, you should be pleased with the results with any of our recommendations.
Do DIY windshield repair kits really work?
How effective a DIY windshield repair kit works largely depends on how bad the damage is. Most of our recommendations will fill in chips about one inch in diameter or smaller. If your damage is really deep or the crack has already begun to spread, don’t expect miraculous results with kits that cost less than $20. Still, windshield repair can be costly and sometimes it’s worth the gamble to try one of these kits before scheduling an appointment with your windshield repair shop.
How hard is it to use a windshield repair kit?
Most of the DIY windshield repair kits we recommended aren’t very difficult to use, but you will want to follow the instructions for each kit. If you want an idea of how it all works, check out this video from Permatex, it’ll explain it a lot better than we can with words.
What happens if the windshield repair kit doesn’t work?
If the windshield repair kit didn’t do its job because the damage is too deep or too large, you’ll want to call your local windshield repair shop as soon as possible. Driving with a damaged windshield is not only dangerous, but it is likely illegal in your state.
How does a windshield repair kit work?
Most DIY windshield repair kits fill the chip or crack in the windshield with a clear resin-based compound. Once that resin is cured and hardened, it should basically be invisible. If done correctly and if the damage isn’t too large, it will prevent that damage from spreading.
Will the damage still be visible after using a windshield repair kit?
This largely depends on the severity of the damage, but generally you will still likely see the point of impact. Just remember, windshield repair kits are designed to strengthen the windshield and prevent further damage, not conceal what happened.
Can I cause further damage using a windshield repair kit?
There’s always the possibility you can cause more damage when applying pressure to a damaged windshield. Also, if the resin isn’t injected properly, you could create an even larger visible blemish to your glass. Always follow the instructions for your kit carefully, and if you have any doubts, watch a few videos online. If you’re still not confident, consult a professional to repair the windshield.
Updated (2:54 p.m. EST, 01/13/2023): Added eBay shopping options to our recommendations where available. Added a few more FAQs on DIY windshield repair kits.