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If you have a cracked or smashed up windshield, then it is about time that you replace it. Leaving it cracked may cause you more problems such as leaks or it may even crumble under pressure.
Replacing a windshield is not an easy task. Some car owners opt to buy a windshield repair kit, but it is still a complicated task. If you are not comfortable doing so, leave it to the experts’ hands.
My customers who bring their cars in always ask me, “How long does it take to replace a windshield? I’m not sure how long I can do without my car.” I always give them the same answer.It could take just a few hours depending on how complicated your windshield is.However, I tell them to give me 24 hours to make sure that the windshield is sturdy enough once they use it.
Let’s go through the procedures one by one, so we can estimate how long the windshield replacement takes.
Steps on How to Replace the Windshield
Removal Of The Old Windshield
To remove the windshield, work from the inside or outside and use a razor or knife to cut it. Be careful not to damage the welded metals. Otherwise, you need to replace them.
Two people need to do this task. There should be one person on either side of the glass. One should push the glass from the inside, the other should lift the glass from the pinch-weld.
The pinch-weld is is where the windshield is attached to. This frame provides a structure to keep the windshield in place. There are metal components welded into the pinch-weld to keep the windshield in place.
Remove the old windshield by prying it away from the frame. Be careful not to break it or else it may cause injury. If there are signs of cracks, don’t smash the windshield. You’ll end up cleaning glass debris and you might get hurt in the process.
Clean the frame that held the windshield and make sure that it is free from dirt, gunk, plastic moldings, and adhesive.
Approximate time: The process can take 45 to 60 minutes depending on how much gunk you removed and how difficult it is to detach the windshield from the pinch-weld.
Remove The Urethane
The urethane is made of polymer and is very strong yet flexible. The urethane holds the windshield to the pinch-weld.
To make sure that you don’t break the pinch-weld, use a razor knife to cut from the inside.
Approximate time: Professionals can remove the urethane in about 30 minutes. Since this is a strong adhesive, it won’t be easy to pry it away.
Clearing Out The Pinch-weld
The next step involves cleaning the pinch-weld, which you need to make sure is clean.
Use water and a cleaning brush.
This is to make sure that it is free of any dirt or other elements stuck on the pinch-weld. Contaminants affect the adhesion of the urethane installation, so make sure it is completely clean of rust and broken urethane.
You need to sand off the area to remove the rust.
Approximate time: Give it 30 to 60 minutes to clean out the pinch-weld. The time is dependent on how much urethane is still stuck on it.
Tape off the areas around the spot where you need to apply the primer. Make sure you cover the inside areas of your vehicle. Get your urethane primer and apply it to the metal parts of your car's windshield. Apply specifically to the part where you would place new urethane, as this would help it stick better.
Priming is important as it helps with the adhesion and in preventing rust. Just remember not to overdo it though -- 3 thin sprays will do.
Approximate time: This task may take upto 30 minutes which includes taping off the areas.
Applying the Urethane
Now, get your caulk gun and put the urethane in there. Just push the trigger button on the caulk gun to release the urethane on the surface edges of your windshield area.
Approximate time: The approximate time to apply the urethane is 5 to 10 minutes, plus another 10 minutes to dry.
Windshield Installation: Once the urethane is set, you can now install your windshield. Make sure that all of its sides from top to bottom and even its sides are aligned properly.
You should also avoid touching the frit band on the glass to reduce contamination. Otherwise, it won’t adhere to the urethane. It is best to tape the windshield once installed to keep it in place.
Approximate time: It takes about 5 minutes to completely install the windshield. Give it 24 hours to dry completely before driving it away.
Replacing your car’s windshield is not an easy process.
If you do not have any experience with it, I suggest you take it to a car shop. You need to leave your car out in the shop for a day or two to allow the adhesive to fully dry. It is dangerous for you to drive off when the adhesive is not fully dry.A strong gust of wind could blow away the windshield and cause serious injury and damage.
The only time that you need to replace the windshield is when there are cracks on it or when it is broken. Otherwise, you can opt to replace the tint. Car tints are useful in protecting your windshield, so make sure you have them.
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