One of the biggest headaches with traveling on gravel roads is that those roads are hard on windshields. Getting stone chips repaired before they turn into full-blown cracks is important and should save you money in the long run. Having a glass repair shop do the work will cost between $35 and $40, unless you have the extra glass insurance coverage (check with your insurance broker for details).
Permatex offers a do-it-yourself kit that it claims will take care of those chips. But how good is it? We tried one to find out. Here s a look at our repair effort from start to finish.
First, the kit cost $14.99 plus taxes, so it set us back less than half the cost of an in-shop repair. That makes for a good start.
To get ready to do the work, the kit comes with a complete and detailed instruction page, which is pretty thorough. For all you visual learners out there, go to www.permatex.com, to watch a short video clip showing the complete process from start to finish. Watching this video once or twice is the best way to prime yourself before starting.
The test truck had to be placed inside a shop to keep it out of direct sunlight and the temperature had to be within 10 to 25 C which meant the job had to be canceled once because it was a hot day. That was a little inconvenient. Conditions have to be just right. At this time of year, a heated shop will do the trick.
The kit contains everything necessary to do the work, however, giving the windshield a heavy duty cleaning ahead of time is a good idea.
HOW TO FIX STONE CHIPS
The process is pretty simple. Start by cleaning any loose fragments out of the chip with the supplied tack. Wipe the area with an alcohol swab, then attach the self-adhesive mounting base for the syringe. Pour the resin into the mounting base and use the syringe to suck any air bubbles out, allowing the resin to penetrate into all areas of the chip. Then a little reverse pressure forces the resin into those spaces.
After waiting about 20 minutes for the resin to penetrate, remove the syringe and the adhesive mounting patch. Finally, apply the remaining resin to the top of the chip and cover it with the supplied plastic patch. Back the vehicle out of the shop and park it in direct sunlight for fifteen minutes. After the top coat of resin has set up, remove the plastic and scrape off any excess, dried resin. (Too chilly out? Borrow a blowdryer and heat it up that way, but only to warm it and dry it, not to heat it up red hot.) A final wipe with the alcohol swab and the job is done.
The instructions caution the chip may not fully disappear after being repaired with the kit, but it likely won t even when a professional shop does the work. In our test, the chip remained visible; but the resin filled most of it.
HOW DID IT WORK?
The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, but it s a real advantage to see the full process by watching the online video. The process is very simple, but allow ample time for it. You ll spend more time waiting than actually doing anything.
At less than half the cost of having the work done in a commercial shop, there is good value for the money, but you have to pick a suitable day with the right temperature and conditions, which means this really is a much easier or faster job in the summer. On the plus side, I didn t have to drop my truck off for an afternoon while someone else did the work.
Is the result as good as a professional repair? It s hard to say. Every chip is unique. This chip was far from invisible when the job was finished, but it seems to be repaired well enough to prevent the chip from spreading,. That means the windshield was saved, and the chip is now just a slight blemish. Not bad for a $15 investment. And, maybe best of all, you get the satisfaction of having done it all yourself.
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