For a car owner, nothing is more frustrating than finding parts of your car damaged. A broken car window may not seem like a big deal, but it could pose several risks to your safety or the security of the things inside your car. Fortunately, replacing a broken car window is not as hard as it seems and is something you can do to save time and money.
Now you may be asking, “Why do I need to do the replacement when I can just take my car to a technician?”
To answer this question, imagine this scenario. You find your car window broken, so you call your insurance provider to make a claim. The insurance provider tells you they’ll look into your case, although you’ll have to give them some time. When you take your car to the shop, you discover that having your problem solved professionally. What qualifies as an insurance deductible (something that tends to happen a lot), so you end up paying for the repair from your own pockets. This is money you could have avoided losing by fixing the problem yourself.
You need the right tools to get optimal results. These are:
- Socket set
- Trim and molding removal tools
The screwdrivers and sockets are a given, but once you’ve gotten started, you’ll see that the trim removal tools can make your emergency glass repair a lot easier.
Some Quick Reminders
The complexity of repair needed will depend highly on the kind of car you own. As a rule, older car models may be easier to fix than newer ones because they feature roll-up windows. Newer ones tend to have power windows. Older cars also tend to have none of the ornate door panels so standard among newer makes.
If your car is a luxury automobile, expect to spend more on replacement glass than if your car were the mass-market kind. Those special coatings and features that put luxury car windows a notch above the rest also mean they cost more than the usual.
A service manual will help you out a lot if you are not too familiar with the different parts of your car. Grab one and give yourself a crash course on the components of your vehicle. This is especially vital if your car is a recent model with a powered window.
Finally, glass can be tricky, so it’s essential to take the right safety precautions. Use goggles and gloves. Wear heavy work clothing that covers most of your body to prevent glass-related injuries.
Replacing Your Broken Car Window
The actual emergency glass repair may take some time, but it can be summarised into several vital steps.
- Clean up. There is an excellent reason for mentioning this first. Car windows are made from tempered glass, which is heated to achieve remarkable toughness and durability. Unlike normal glass, tempered glass doesn’t shatter until forced well past its limit, in which case it breaks into small, uniform pieces that may be hard to clean up. Tempered glass shards can end up in the most unexpected places inside your car and may cause minor but annoying wounds. To ensure that you collect all the pieces, use a small vacuum cleaner. This should take care of even minute, hardly visible shards in hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your car.
- Disable your power windows. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a roll-up window, but most cars have updated their design and don’t use the said system anymore. What you want to do is to disconnect the window from its power source. This mostly doable under the inner door panel.
- Remove the broken glass. To do this, you need to take off the inner door panel. Doing this becomes more complicated with newer models as designers often go out of their way to hide the clips and screws that keep the panel intact. Find these connectors, and soon, the panel should come off. You might see the plastic vapor barrier. Make sure to peel this off carefully as you will need to re-install it later.
Raise/lower the window height until the bolts and screws that keep the glass attached to the height regulator are aligned with their access holes. If your window is powered, you may have to reconnect the window’s switches to do this. Loosen the screws and remove the broken glass. Give the door cavity a pass using your vacuum cleaner to remove any shard that may have been lodged in the area.
- Replace the broken glass. Shimmy the replacement glass into place. It might take some practice before you can successfully place the glass in the proper slot. Attach the door to the regulator and secure the track that guides its movement. Test your install to ensure that the window raises and lowers properly.
Finally, put the components back. To make sure that you do not have neglect in any part or put segments in the wrong places, you may want to take photos of your progress when you take them apart.
Replacing your car’s broken window may take some practice, but the cost and time it spares you will be more than worth it. Besides, being able to fix your car is a skill that will prove more than handy in cases of emergencies or when you have no one but yourself to trust for your vehicle’s well-being.
Which part of your car do you think is the most difficult to do DIY repair? Tell us in the comments below.