How To Replace A Broken Vehicle Windshield

Have you decided to do a complete restoration on an older car? Learn more about proper body work repairs.

How To Replace A Broken Vehicle Windshield

21 March 2017
 Categories: , Blog


If you have a cracked or shattered vehicle windshield from impact or debris, it should be removed and replaced right away. Your windshield prevents you from being thrown during a collision. It also prevents the roof from sagging during a rollover, and it ejects the air bag.

However, you don't have to take the vehicle to a mechanic. You can save several hundred dollars by doing the job yourself. Here are tips to replace a broken vehicle windshield.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • vacuum with suction
  • large sheets or towels
  • freezer bag
  • masking tape
  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • socket wrench set
  • utility knife
  • suction cup handle
  • new gaskets
  • petroleum jelly
  • heavy nylon cord
  • silicone putty lubricant
  • replacement glass

If the windshield shattered, vacuum visible glass pieces from under car mats and seats. Move the vacuum in different directions to help dislodge hidden glass pieces in fibers.

Follow your vehicle's manual to remove the dashboard, and inspect it for glass. Leaving lass inside the dashboard could force it through vents or the airbags. Reinstall the dashboard.

Insert a utility knife in the center of the windshield gasket, and cut it from the glass. It is ideal to replace the gaskets, even if they aren't damaged. Be aware of clips. Clips are removed by lifting them off the glass, or pressing them on both sides.

Place a suction handle on the glass. Rub some lubricant on the area where the gasket was to help the glass slide easier. Get an assistant to help hold the suction in place. Tell your assistant to pull when you push.

Lean the passenger seat back, and move the steering wheel out of the way. Press the top corner of the windshield with your feet, then repeat on the passenger's side. You should be able to remove the glass.

Install the New Glass

Clean the inside of the frame, and wipe the sealant from the new gasket. Leave the gasket in the sun awhile to make it more flexible.

Lay the gasket on the windshield, and rub some sealant on the lower half, and apply extra at the top.. The slit side goes on the outside, and the heavy side on the interior. Add petroleum jelly to the outer grove.

Insert a heavy nylon cord along the outer groove, beginning at the bottom, and let two foot long ends dangle in the center. Set the glass in place; ensuring the cords are in the vehicle. Wipe extra lubricant and petroleum jelly. Reinstall the mirror and windshield wipers.

Contact a collision repair service for more help.

About Me
Body Work Basics: Tips For First-Time Restorers

Proper body work repairs require careful attention, especially when you're working with classic cars. I decided to do a complete restoration on an older car that I inherited from my grandfather, but I had to do a lot of learning to ensure that I did the body work right. I created this site as a way to chronicle everything that I learned along the way. I hope that the voice of my experience can help you gain the confidence to tackle a project like this yourself. With the right tools and understanding, you can restore your favorite classic or even repair your newer car after an accident.

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