**According to the Highway Code, a driver may be fined if during a routine police check a window on their car is found to be cracked or scratched, as this type of damage may obstruct road visibility and, consequently, pose a threat to the safety of other road users and the driver themselves. What to do when your car window is damaged e.g. by a pebble sent flying at it by the wheels of a car in front of you? Well, you don't always have to remove it. You can try to fix it instead.
Car window glass types
There are two types of car window glass: tempered and laminated. A tempered window is comprised of glass panes of a different level of hardness each. When broken, they fall apart into numerous small pieces. They are applied mainly in side windows.
Laminated glass windows are comprised of two panes separated by a transparent foil and joint together by means of butyl rubber. This makes them more resistant to breaking. If hit by a hard object, they suffer only minor damages but remain transparent and continue to shield the car interior. This type of glass is usually used for windscreens and rear windows.
Window damage can be dangerous
Car windows, especially the windscreen, gradually wear as a result of micro-damages to their outer surface caused by wipers or dust. A small chip or crack in a car window will gradually become bigger as a result of the strain exerted on the car body. This is why such small damages should be repaired as soon as possible. Luckily, they don't always require replacing the whole window - you can have it repaired by polishing it with a polisher, glycol or a paste diluted in water.
When, however, a car window suffers a mechanical injury, e.g. caused by a pebble, resulting in radial cracks, scratches and cavities, it requires a more complex repair. Even a small damage of this type may cause inconvenience to the driver by dispersing the light and, consequently, blinding them.
Remember that a car with a damaged window will not make it through the annual technical inspection. And in the event of a routine police check, you run the risk of your car being found road unworthy and your registration certificate being seized. If this is the case, you will be obliged to replace the damaged window and have your car undergo an additional technical inspection. Only if its result is positive will you be able to get your registration certificate back.
As soon as you notice a crack or any other type of damage, remember to immediately secure it and head straight for a car window replacement garage. You can secure a damaged window by applying adhesive tape on both sides of the injury. This way you will prevent any contaminants from penetrating the injury and facilitate its repair.
Having your car window repaired by an expert
Small damages to a window surface do not always necessitate its replacement. A specialized garage should be able to handle its repair at a reasonable cost.
But only relatively small damages of up to 25 mm in diameter (the size of a small coin) are repairable. Repair is impossible in the following cases:
1. A crack ends on the glass edge or under the seal.
2. A chip is located directly in front of the driver's eyes. Even after a repair there will still be some marks on the window that may make driving difficult.
3. Repairing a window featuring multiple damages does not make sense. It is worth noting that only the outer side of a window is repairable.
How is it done?
The damage removal process begins by a through cleaning of a damaged spot. First, water is removed from it (often by means of a blow dryer or a gas burner), followed by any other contaminants and air (by means of a pump).
Next, by means of a vacuum pump, the damaged spot is filled with a synthetic resin, which is subsequently hardened with the ultraviolet radiation. Excess resin is removed by manual or mechanical polishing.
A repair takes only about an hour. What's important, after the repair the damaged spot regains between 95-100% of its original durability.
A window repair costs about 25% of the price of removal. Naturally, the price depends on the extent of damages and the amount of work needed to repair them.
Repairing a car window on your own
Today, you can buy specialist products with which to repair damages to your car window on your own. They come in sets comprised of special glue, an applier with suctions, razor blades with a safe grip, and foil. Here's is how to use them:
Inject the glue into the damage by means of the applier. To prevent excess glue from coming out of the damaged spot, secure it with the foil to keep the air out.
Remove the foil after a few minutes.
Remove excess glue with a razor blade.
If the result is unsatisfactory, repeat the whole process.
Replacement is the last resort
If the damages turn out to be serious, a window has to be replaced. This complicated task is performed as follows:
First, the wipers or the plastic trim elements are removed.
Next, the window must be cut out, usually by means of a string (wire).
* The channel in which a new window is to be fitted must be thoroughly cleaned off of rust and other contaminants.
Finally, the glue is applied, and a new window is fitted in and fastened to the body by means of special tapes.
If your window needs repairing or replacing, the best solution is to have it done by experts who have the knowledge, experience and professional tools to handle the task. We suggest a visit to one of the Motointegrator or Motointegrator Partner chain garages.