You were driving down the road and – oh no! – you heard it. Crack. A stray pebble got kicked up by the car in front of you and it put a neat little crack in your windshield.
So what do you do? Obviously, it needs to be fixed, since it’s a huge safety hazard and you could get into a lot of trouble with the authorities if you’re caught driving around with a cracked windshield. You can take it to a dealership or an auto body repair shop; sometimes though the cost is astronomical and you are tight on cash this month. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys doing home auto repair, though, then replacing the windshield on your own might be the way to go.
Supplies You Will Need:
A new windshield, a painter’s knife and sealer (available at auto parts stores or online), a scraper blade, suction cups, a gasket sealer and a rubber hammer. And if you can, get a friend to come over and give you a hand.
Step 1: Purchase a Replacement Windshield
If you check online, there are sites that sell replacement windshields. Be wary and skeptical before forking over your credit card number it might be the wisest option to just call. That will also be helpful when it comes to price, because if you have a live human being on the phone, there’s a good chance you can haggle on the cost. If you do not like any of the prices online, another option is to try to find a second hand windshield. While not as commonplace as side windows, there are still whole windshields out there, if you know where to look. Try salvage yards first. If that yields nothing, try looking around on Craigslist in the auto parts section (or post your own ad saying that you’re looking for one – it’s free and easy).
Step 2: Remove Windshield Wipers
It might seem obvious, but nonetheless, remove the windshield wiper assembly on the car before you go for the glass. Make sure you remove the trim and then unscrew the bolts which attach the wiper to the car.
Step 3: Remove Molding
With your painter’s knife, carefully remove the molding that surrounds the windshield. Take care not to damage it, as you will be reusing it later.
Step 4: Remove Gasket and Existing Adhesive
At this point, it’s important to note that your new windshield should be set up on a pair of carpet-covered saw horses. It’s also important to put a padded barrier between the glass and the wood so that the glass isn’t scratched and the wood isn’t messed up by the sealer that will go on later.
The rubber gasket needs to be peeled off the channel and set aside. You can start removing the existing adhesive now, taking care to do a thorough job with a scraper blade. The key is to make sure you get all of it, as any remaining old adhesive will prevent the new from being properly installed. Also, check both the exterior and the interior for the old adhesive.
Step 5: Remove Old Windshield
Now the really fun part: it’s going to be heavy, but you’re either a big tough guy or lady or you nabbed a friend to help, right? Use the suction cups to lift off the old windshield and set it aside. With any luck, it will stay in one piece while you do this.
Step 6: Prepare the New Windshield
Clean the new windshield so that it’s smudge free (around the edges especially). At this point it’s a good idea to reapply the gasket, working it around the perimeter of the windshield. Apply gasket sealer by pulling back the edge of the gasket and brushing it on so that it’s between the gasket and the windshield. Don’t miss any spots and don’t fuss that it’s messy. The central thing is that you create a good seal.
Step 7: Reinstall New Windshield and Molding
Now you can use those suction cups on the new windshield and carefully lift it into place. Lay it on the frame, pressing with even pressure. If necessary, use the rubber hammer to “seat it.” Then you can reinstall the molding, by setting it in place and pushing it down. That rubber hammer might come in handy again, too, right about now.
That should do it! It’s always a good idea to check for leaks when you’re done, too.
See Also — Where Can I Find My Cars Paint Code?
Changing your car’s timing belt isn’t as difficult of a job as you might think it could be, but it is something that must be done at least once within your car’s lifespan. Most timing belts will last anywhere from about 60,000 miles to just over 100,000 miles; your car’s shop manual can give you a rough estimate when it should be replaced. For the record, timing belt failure can take place at any time, but if you keep up with your car’s maintenance trouble can be averted.
How A Timing Belt Works
As a backgrounder, a timing belt works to turn the camshaft at exactly half the speed of the crankshaft. The camshaft causes the intake and exhaust valves to open and shut in time with the engine’s pistons as they move up and down in the cylinders.
When the timing belt breaks, you won’t be able to go anywhere as the engine will no longer run. In some situations a timing belt failure could damage or even destroy a car’s engine; way too many car owners do not replace this important part until it has broken. As you can imagine, this can be a terrible problem when you are stranded and far from help.
Worn Out Belt? Not Easy To Determine!
Unfortunately, there is no iron-clad method to check that a timing belt has worn out. Instead, changing it at prescribed intervals will reduce the chance that it will break before it can be replaced. Furthermore, many mechanics will also advise changing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt – even if it hasn’t failed – as most of the labor related to replacing a water pump has already been done when changing the timing belt. This is your decision as a water pump could last as long as your car or it could fail at some point in the future. If the latter takes place, you could be faced with a significant car repair bill in addition to going through all the trouble of being without your car for several days.
Weekend mechanics often feel comfortable enough to replace their car’s timing belt without the assistance of a garage. With a trusty Haynes or Chilton car maintenance and repair manual by your side, you can lift the hood and remove and replace the timing belt (and water pump) in no time.
Shop Around And Save
You can buy needed automotive parts at a local auto parts store, shop online for parts from a wholesaler, or visit your dealer’s parts department to get what you need. Shop around — the price differential between auto parts retailers can be significant.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.