You often see cars driving with a broken window with some piece of plastic flapping off it. We forget that it is not always simple or cheap to get a window repaired right away. A broken window can happen to anyone. What would you do if it happened to you?
Whether the broken window is because of a break-in, collision, or rock, you’re going to have to get it repaired at some point. That said, if you don’t have the time or money to address it right away then you need to figure out how to cover a broken car window to make sure passengers stay safe and the elements stay out.
Reasons to Cover a Broken Car Window
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Obviously, in a best-case scenario, you can fix the broken window right away but this isn’t always realistic whether you are lacking in time or money. That said, you want to make sure you do something. Why? So you can:
- Keep the people in and outside the car safe. You don’t want loose glass coming into the car or flying off while driving.
- Keep out the weather and other elements. You don’t want rain, sleet, or hail coming in. You also want to keep out dust and other small objects that can hurt passengers or simply make your interior dirty.
- It can be a deterrent to break-ins. While it is certainly not going to stop a break-in, it may at least be trouble enough to deter someone from simply reaching through a broken window.
How to Cover a Broken Car Window
Covering your broken car window is not complicated. Here are some simple directions.
- Prepare the area you need to cover and gather supplies. You need a hammer, gloves, microfiber cloth, vacuum, and masking tape. Remove any remaining glass. Make sure to wear gloves and tap out what remains. Vacuum any from inside the door and the interior of the car.
- Remove all the dust and dirt on the outside of the window frame. Use a microfiber or soft cloth so you don’t scratch the paint. This allows the tape to seal well and prevents water from coming in.
- Use masking tape. While many jump to using duct tape right away because of its good seal, duct tape can damage the paint on your car. Use masking tape as it does less damage and is easy to remove. Cover the window frame with about two inches of masking tape and then you can put duct tape on the top.
- Cover the opening.
Other materials that can be used
1. Clear duct tape
Tape from the inside starting vertically with overlapping pieces. Cover the whole space then do it again horizontally. After the inside is done, do the outside the same way. This ensures that the elements don’t get in the car.
2. Crash wrap
You don’t need to use masking tape if you cover your window this way. This is a wide plastic roll that you cut to the proper size then press against the frame of the window – easy to do with no muss or fuss. Higher-end crash wrap also protects the interior of your car from UV lights and is water-resistant. It won’t chip the paint and is easy to get off plus it won’t deteriorate and can be applied in cold or hot weather. It works up to 50 miles per hour.
3. Basic bag
This is convenient but very temporary. The higher density the bag, the better otherwise it will get holes and rips quickly. Attach a bag on the inside against the window frame so it won’t flap too much and use duct tape to make it secure. You may need an extra set of hands to help do this. Make sure it is sealed well and then do it on the outside of the window, too.
If you can avoid this option, then do. It is only for the last resort. It is problematic as you can’t see through it so your visibility is hindered. If it is not properly attached, it also can also be a hazard to others on the road if it flies off. Cardboard is also not weather-safe. It holds any moisture that leaks into the car.
Safety Precautions for Covering a Broken Car Window
You should always use a clear, transparent material if you are going to be driving the car. While a colored material might look better, it is not safe as it hinders your ability to see. You are creating a large blind spot and posing a safety risk to you and others on the road.
Make sure you check the laws for your area before putting a cover on the window. There are some areas that fine you for driving with a plastic cover, even if you are doing it as a temporary fix. You don’t need a fine on top of windshield replacement costs.
Finally, make sure this really is a temporary fix. It’s only to get you through until you have the time and money to get the window replaced. It is not the final solution. You and your passengers are safer with an actual window so make sure to do repairs as soon as you can.
Nobody wants to deal with a broken window. While it may be covered by insurance, you’ll still get hit with a deductible but, either way, you want to get it fixed as soon as possible. However, In the meantime, if you need a temporary fix, they are fairly easy to do. The best option is the crash wrap but there are certainly other creative ways to handle it as well. Make sure the process you choose prioritizes your safety and keeps the elements out of the car. Remember, this is just a temporary solution until you can get it into the shop for a permanent fix.