The windshield, also known as the windscreen, was first invented in the early 1900s. Made of glass and designed to protect the driver from wind and rain. Today, our windshields have evolved into high-tech, shatterproof wonders. Despite the advancements, scratches still happen. So how to get scratches out of your windshield without causing further damage? Well, there are several methods you can try, but it all depends on the depth and severity of the scratch. For shallow scratches, a simple solution of baking soda and water may do the trick. But what about the deep ones?
Removing Shallow Scratches
To remove shallow scratches, you just need some things you can find in your kitchen or bathroom.
- Toothpaste: Squeeze a small amount of non-abrasive toothpaste onto a soft cloth and rub it into the scratch in a circular motion. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
- Vinegar and baking soda: Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda to create a paste, then rub it into the scratch with a soft cloth. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
- Car wax: Apply a small amount of car wax to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the scratch. Let it sit for a few minutes, then buff it out with a clean, soft cloth.
- Nail polish: Apply a small amount of clear nail polish to the scratch and let it dry completely. Buff it out with a soft cloth.
- Eraser: A regular eraser can help remove shallow scratches. Simply rub the eraser back and forth over the scratch until it’s no longer visible.
- Cooking oil: Apply a small amount of cooking oil, such as olive oil, to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the scratch. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.
- Metal polish: Some metal polishes, such as Brasso, can remove shallow scratches. Simply apply a small amount to a soft cloth and rub it into the scratch in a circular motion. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly.
For deeper scratches, you may need to use a glass polishing kit, which can be found at most auto parts stores. These kits come with a special polishing compound and a drill attachment. Use them to buff out the scratch. Definitely follow the instructions carefully to avoid causing further damage to the glass.
Removing Deeper Scratches
To remove deep scratches out of your windshield you need some special tools, caution and a lot more expertise.
- Wet sanding: This method involves using progressively finer sandpaper to remove the scratch. Start with a coarser sandpaper, such as 800 grit, and work your way up to a finer grit, such as 2000 grit. Be sure to use plenty of water to avoid damaging the glass.
- Dremel tool: A Dremel tool with a polishing attachment can be used to remove deeper scratches. Apply the polishing compound to the attachment and gently buff out the scratch.
- Buffing wheel: A buffing wheel attachment for a drill can be used to remove deeper scratches. Apply the buffing compound to the wheel and gently buff out the scratch.
- Cerium oxide: Cerium oxide is a type of glass polishing compound that can be used to remove deeper scratches. Simply apply a small amount to a soft cloth and rub it into the scratch in a circular motion.
- Sandblasting: Sandblasting involves using a high-pressure stream of abrasive material to remove scratches from the glass. This method should only be performed by a professional, as it can be dangerous and cause damage to the glass if not done correctly.
- Diamond polishing: Diamond polishing involves using a special abrasive compound and a drill attachment to remove deep scratches from the glass. This method should also be performed by a professional, as it requires specialized equipment and expertise.
- Steel wool: Steel wool can be used to remove deeper scratches from a windshield, but it’s important to use a very fine grade, such as 0000, to avoid causing damage to the glass. Simply rub the steel wool over the scratch in a circular motion.
- Automotive polishing compound: Automotive polishing compounds can be used to remove deeper scratches. Apply the compound to a soft cloth and gently rub it into the scratch.
- Wire brush: A wire brush attachment for a drill can be used to remove deeper scratches. Apply the polishing compound to the brush and gently buff out the scratch.
Replacing The Windshield
If the scratch is really deep or extensive, you may need to consider replacing the entire windshield. This can be a costly option, but it’s worth it to have a clear, scratch-free view while driving. In case that’s the next possible action, here’s what to put into consideration when going for another windshield:
- Quality: Make sure to choose a high-quality windshield from a reputable manufacturer. Cheap windshields may be tempting, but they often have a lower resistance to cracks and chips.
- Fit: The windshield should fit the vehicle properly and be installed correctly to ensure the best visibility and safety. A windshield that is not properly installed can leak, causing damage to the interior of the vehicle.
- Windshield type: There are two main types of windshields: tempered and laminated. Tempered glass shatters into small, harmless pieces upon impact, while laminated glass stays intact and helps to prevent injury in an accident. Consider the type of windshield that is best for your vehicle and your needs.
- Warranty: Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer and the installer. Some warranties cover only the cost of the windshield, while others cover the cost of installation as well.
- Price: Price is always an important factor to consider, but it’s important not to compromise on quality and safety for the sake of saving a few dollars. Look for the best value, not just the lowest price.
- Expertise: Choose a reputable and experienced installer who has the skills and equipment to properly install the windshield.
- Environmental impact: Consider the environmental impact of the windshield you choose. Some windshields are made from eco-friendly materials and produced using environmentally friendly processes. Look for these options if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Local laws: Different states and countries have different laws regarding windshield replacement. Make sure to check the laws and regulations in your area to ensure that the windshield you choose complies with the standards set by your local authorities.
Why do the scratches appear?
Scratches on a windshield can appear due to various reasons. Small rocks, gravel, or other debris kicked up by other vehicles or thrown by the wheels of your own vehicle can cause them. These scratches are often minor but can accumulate over time. Using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals while cleaning is another cause. Scrubbing the windshield with rough sponges, using ammonia-based cleaners, or using dirty cloths can all potentially cause scratching.
Worn-out or damaged wiper blades can develop rough edges or metal components that come into contact with the windshield surface. If the blades are not functioning properly, they can leave scratches as they move across the glass. Similarly, direct impacts from objects like tree branches, flying debris, or accidental contact with sharp objects. And in unfortunate cases, intentional vandalism. Keying, scratching with sharp objects, or deliberate damage can leave visible marks.
Superficial scratches may not impair visibility significantly but can still affect the clarity, like a window tint. Deeper ones, especially those that obstruct the line of sight, require professional attention or replacement. To minimize the risk, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles to reduce exposure to debris, replace worn-out wiper blades regularly, use gentle cleaning methods and materials specifically designed for auto glass, and park in safe areas to prevent intentional damage.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is it important to remove scratches from a windshield?
Removing scratches from your windshield is essential for maintaining visibility while driving. Scratches can cause glare and reduce the clarity of the road, potentially compromising safety.
What can cause scratches on a windshield?
Scratches on a windshield can be caused by various factors, including debris kicked up by other vehicles, wiper blade damage, abrasive cleaning materials, and accidents.
Can all windshield scratches be removed with DIY methods?
Not all windshield scratches can be effectively removed with DIY methods. The success of scratch removal depends on the depth and severity of the scratches. Deep or extensive damage may require professional repair or windshield replacement.
What are some common DIY methods for removing scratches from a windshield?
Common DIY methods include using toothpaste, baking soda and water paste, cerium oxide polish, and commercial windshield scratch repair kits.
Is toothpaste an effective way to remove scratches from a windshield?
Toothpaste can be effective for minor surface scratches on a windshield. It’s an accessible and affordable DIY option. However, it may not work for deep or extensive scratches.