How to replace car windshield yourself
In this article, you will learn how to change a car windshield yourself. Our goal was to keep this step-by-step tutorial simple to help you with your do-it-yourself windshield replacement project. You can remove your old windshield using different techniques such as using a windshield removal cut-out knife, using a wire, guitar string etc. If you don't feel comfortable replacing your car windshield after reading this guide and watching the videos here, you may want to consider taking your car to an auto glass repair shop in your area. These instructions will be helpful if you are planning on replacing
- front windshield
- back glass, review view glass
- quarter panel glass
To properly install the windshield yourself you will need a few tools to make the windshield installation go smoothly. In this guide, we will show you how to install a windshield like a pro using the same tools professionals use to install a car windshield. List of tools required to replace a windshield has been included under Required Tools Section.
Do NOT use silicone to install a windshield. ONLY USE auto glass urethane. To create a strong bond between the windshield and the car frame you will need approximately 15-20 fl. oz. of automotive grade urethane. 3M Auto Glass Windshield Urethane (08693) Adhesive is one of the best urethane products out there that is designed for vehicle applications. Note that the windshield is part of the structural integrity of the car, especially on today's unibody vehicles.
DIY Windshield Replacement Instructions
Step 1: Remove Trim
Remove any trim that may be around the windshield. A professional may get away without removing interior trim such as A-pillar. If you feel more comfortable removing the trim, please do so. Carefully remove any clips, fasteners, and retainers. Avoid breaking or losing them because they usually can be re-used.
Step 2: Remove old windshield glass
Cut out the old windshield using a windshield removal tool. You can also remove a windshield with guitar string or a stiff, thin wire. The easiest and cheapest way to remove the windshield is to use an 18" Urethane Cut-Out Knife which is typically used by professionals. Cut the urethane around all the perimeter of the windscreen. As you cut out the windshield, be careful to minimize damage to the pinch weld.
Other methods to remove a windshield glass.
- Remove windshield using a windshield cut knife
- Remove windshield using a wire, rope, guitar string.
Tip - How to remove a windshield without breaking it
If you are trying to remove the windshield from an old car without breaking it, the easiest way is to use a Professional 18" Windshield cut-out knife. Cut around the windshield multiple times until the urethane is cut and you can easily lift the windshield. Try not to put too much pressure on the glass. Once the urethane is cut, raise the top of the windshield first. There is no guarantee that you won't break the glass. It is very easy to break the glass, no matter how much experience you have removing auto glass.
Step 3: Remove old urethane
Use a heavy duty glass scraper blade to remove the old urethane.
Watch the following video on how to quickly and easily remove the old urethane.
Clean any dirt or debris left on the frame. There should be no dirt or debris where the urethane is applied.
Step 4: Prime the pinch weld
As you cut out the urethane, you probably made some scratches. Apply urethane primer to the perimeter of the windshield, inside edge and also in the window channel. The primer can help the urethane glue better and act as a rust prohibiter when applied to the window channel, especially if there are any scratches. Even an auto glass professional can't avoid making a few scratches to the pinch weld. Always use urethane primer to ensure that rust doesn't develop. If there is rust in this area you may want to sand it down, then prime it. After you apply the primer wait a few minutes before you apply the urethane bead.
Step 6: Apply bead of urethane
Start by removing the bottom cap from the urethane cartridge then install it on your caulk gun. Carefully lay the bead of urethane. Try to keep the bead of urethane as on continues line. Avoid stops and move your hand at a constant speed. If you miss any spots or the bead is too thin, just come back later. Some windscreens may have small plastic clips around the frame. There are different clip designs but they all install in similar ways. The clips are there to help align the windshield. If you need to replace the clips just slide them and lock them into place.
If you are installing the windshield for the first time, you will most likely try to apply the urethane using a hand caulking gun. While the urethane can be applied with a hand caulking gun, it is very difficult to apply a continuous bead. If you are planning on going this route, we recommend that you heat up the urethane cartridge in warm water before you apply it or it will be nearly impossible to get the urethane to come out. Note that professionals will either use an air powered caulk gun or an Some windshileds may have small plastic clips around the frame. There are different clip designs but they all install in similar ways. The clips are there to help align the windshield. If you need to replace the clips you can simply slide them and lock them into place. which makes applying the urethane bead a lot easier and cleaner.
If there are any spots that the urethane bead is not continuous add some more urethane or use a small spatula to fix the urethane.
Be careful to not let any urethane fall on your car's paint. Removing the urethane from the paint can be trucking. Use paper towels and rubbing alcohol if any urethane falls on your car's paint.
Step 7: Install new windshield.
Next, install the new windshield. Since you are recommending the windshield yourself, we would recommend that you get a second person to help you with this step. If you are planning on installing windshield by yourself it is recommended that you use heavy duty suction cups to handle the windshield. Make sure to use rubber gloves so that you don't contaminate the windshield glass or get any grease on the windshield. Place the windshield on the car and push it with the palm of your hand all around the windshield glue line. Re-install the cowling wipers, trims and mirrors that you may have removed.
Once you apply the urethane to the car don't wait too long to install the windshield. The sooner you install the windshield the better. Once you place the windshield in the car, it is ok to shift it to properly position the windshield but keep the moving of the windshield to a minimum. It takes several hours for the urethane to cure.
Tip After you place and position the windshield correctly, inspect the urethane at the point where the top of the windshield glass meets roof. Work or even add any urethane if necessary. This procedure is recommended in order to avoid any stream of water coming down the windshield when it rains or you go through a car wash.
Replacing the front windshield or back glass yourself is feasible as long as you have the right tools. Car owners of luxury vehicles or antique cars may want to replace their car windshield themselves. If you have a newer car you may want to leave this job up to the professionals. Call auto glass repair shops in your area and get a few windshield replacement quotes. You will be surprised how cheap it is to change a car windshield. If you are going to have an auto glass repair shop change your glass always consider their experience and price. If you are looking for the cheapest windshield replacement get a few quotes from mobile windshield repair guys, they tend to have very competitive prices.
Important: Always use protective eyewear when you handle glass. Be cautious as glass can break and cause physical damage. A professional can replace a windshield in 30 minutes but if you are going to replace car windshield yourself plan on at least a couple of hours.