How-To Guide: How to Remove Scratches from a Windshield

how to remove scratches from a windshield

Got a scratched windshield? Check out this guide to learn how to treat it!

Car windshields were first used in the early 1900’s. Laminated glass was invented later by a British scientist, John C. Wood and then used by Henry Ford in the 1920’s. It was this invention that means windshields don’t just shatter and so can be repaired.

Don’t you hate it when you get into your car and see little scratches on the windshield? You struggle to try to peer between the scratches or spend a lot of money getting the windshield totally replaced. In this guide, we’re going to tell you how to remove scratches from a windshield quickly and easily.

What Causes Windshield Scratches?

A scratch on your windshield is caused when a hard object impacts on the surface of the glass. This could be a stone or other object thrown up from the road. In this case, the windshield has done its job and protected the driver and passengers from potential injury.

A scratch can also be caused by the action of the windshield wipers. If grit or coarse dust is trapped under the wiper blade, the blade can rub it into the glass and cause abrasions. Never operate your windshield wipers without using the windshield washer too.

Badly fitting or worn wiper blades can also create scratches. If the rubber wiper blade becomes detached the metal parts of the windshield wiper can come into contact with the glass of the windshield. It can then scratch the surface.

Why Repair Windshield Scratches?

If a scratch appears on the paintwork of your car your heart sinks. Your beautiful car has been damaged and you start to notice it everytime you get in the car. You may have a go at repairing it or take it to a professional to restore it to perfect condition.

If a scratch appears on your windshield, you can feel the same way about the appearance. But there’s even more reason to have it repaired. Scratches can restrict your vision so a scratch can be a safety concern too.

Untreated scratches can get worse. A chip or crack can develop into a serious problem leaving you with no alternative than to have a full windshield replacement. Check any windshield scratches and act immediately.

What Type of Scratch Do You Have?

First of all, take a really good look at the damage. If it is a deep crack you aren’t going to be able to repair it yourself at home. If it is unstable, growing or clearly beyond repair you need to replace your windshield.

A deep scratch is one that is deeper than 50 microns. A simple test is to run your fingernail across the scratch. If it catches, it’s too deep for you to repair.

How to Remove Scratches from a Windshield?

If the scratch is very light or even just a scuff you can try using an acrylic scratch remover. If this does not work or the damage is more severe, then you can step up the treatment. If the scratch is less than 50 microns but more than a light scratch or haze then you can use cerium oxide paste.

Treating Light Scratches

Light scratches can be treated with an acrylic scratch remover for a windshield. Start by thoroughly cleaning your windshield. Dry it completely before treating it.

Apply the acrylic scratch remover to the scratched area of glass. Rub it with a damp microfiber cloth. When it is dry it looks transparent and covers and protects the surface.

Treating Deeper Scratches

You can treat a deeper scratch up to 50 microns using cerium oxide paste. This can be bought from an auto repair shop or auto parts store as a glass repair kit. It will generally come with instructions which you should follow but the following guide can also help.

What Do You Need?

You will need the following materials.

  • Cerium oxide compound/paste
  • Your normal car cleaning soap and kit
  • Auto glass cleaner
  • A hand water spray
  • Hand drill with a polishing wheel and soft pad (optional)
  • A dry soft cloth

Cleaning the Windshield

Wash your car and clean the windshield with a normal auto soap and water. Pay special attention to the area to be treated. Clean the glass with an auto glass cleaner.

Rinse off any soap or car cleaner residue. Dry the glass completely with a dry soft cloth.

Using Cerium Oxide Paste

Follow the instructions that come with the cerium oxide compound or paste. Take care to follow safety warnings and instructions. The process is likely to be as follows.

Put the compound on the area to be treated. Spray it with water to create a soft paste. Use a cloth or the hand drill polisher to rub the compound.

Don’t apply excessive amounts of paste. This can result in an uneven result. Be cautious and if necessary re-treat the scratch rather than have a poor finish.

Keep moving over the glass with the polishing cloth or buffer. Don’t stop in one place for any time. Apply gentle pressure, continuously.

It’s important not to apply too much pressure. Gentle polishing is enough. Repeat the application of compound and polishing three to four times.

Let the compound dry as per the instructions. Normally this is about 30 minutes.

The chemical will seal and also bonds the scratch. This reduces the chance of it getting worse and ultimately cracking.

Complete the job by washing the windshield once more. Dry it and gently rub the glass until the haze disappears. Stand back and admire your handiwork.

Aftercare

Once you have completed the repair you should check it regularly. Now you know how to remove scratches from a windshield, re-apply the compound every now and then.

This will help prevent a reoccurrence of the damage. If the scratch re-appears you may be able to retreat it.

If the scratch reappears and you can catch your fingernail in it you may have a more serious problem. Re-treating the damage with a windshield polishing kit is not going to be enough. Seek professional help or have the windshield replaced.

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