When an errant rock spins off the wheel of a passing truck, it can strike your windscreen with such force that the glass will instantly crack. While the damage may not be so severe at that moment, the crack will eventually spread due to wind resistance and the undulating road surface. If the crack is within the driver's immediate field of vision, you'll probably have to replace the screen entirely, but is this a job you can handle yourself or is it best to outsource?
As you may know, the windscreen has two different panes of glass that are stuck (or laminated) to a sheet of transparent plastic. This will stop the screen from shattering into thousands of pieces, and it will usually remain intact following an impact. However, it may still fail when you attempt to remove it.
If you do want to tackle this job yourself, you will need to be very careful and should definitely have somebody else to help you. You need to find some old sheets or comforters and spread those over the bonnet and surrounding bodywork, just in case things don't go to plan.
Before you can begin, you will, of course, need to remove the interior mirror, any tracking devices or other gadgets affixed to the inside. To be safe, you may want to remove the windscreen wipers as well.
Typically, designers will have placed a layer of chrome around the windscreen, and you will need to carefully pull this away before you can get at the sealing rubber. You can get special tools to help you remove this rubber strip, but if not, you need to make a clean cut in the corner first. Then, you can gently peel away the rubber all around the edge of the windscreen while being careful to keep the glass steady as you work.
Ideally, you should use another specialist tool that will enable you to stick a pair of grab handles to the outside of the glass. This approach should help you to lift and remove the screen but remember, it can weigh quite a lot and is definitely awkward to manoeuvre.
Next, you need to apply a quick-drying paste to the outside edge of the new windscreen. Make sure that you get the right product, however, as it will need to put up with a great deal of forward wind resistance when you're driving the car at speed. Once again, you'll have to manoeuvre the new glass using those special handles. Then, properly embed the screen and make sure that you are perfectly happy before that quick-drying adhesive dries.
The Better Approach?
Obviously, a lot is riding on your work here, and you need to ensure that the screen is perfectly safe before you can get behind the wheel. You'll often be better off entrusting this work to a professional instead, so get in touch with a windscreen replacement company for prompt service.