You are a careful driver. You never follow a dump truck or worse, a flatbed trailer holding excavation equipment. You avoid the obvious hazards of flying debris, but you could not dodge that rock flipped up from the car merging into an adjacent lane.
Every time you are aware of an impact, you should examine your windshield for damage. Catching it early is crucial. At first, it may only be a gritty white mark, visible just after the car is washed. Left untreated, small cracks may begin to appear and eventually, the windshield is ruined.
A new windshield will cost between $200 and $300. A repair might cost $50. Unless you use the handy mobile on site service option, both will take a few hours of your time (unless you enjoy sitting in automotive repair waiting rooms.)
The other possibility is doing it yourself. The kit shown heading this article and in the slide show was purchased from Harbor Freight on Noland Road in Independence for $10. Pick one up and follow these simple steps.
The first 8 steps are performed in the shade.
1. Clean the area and dig out any loose grit with the pin provided. You may find that an Exacto Knife is more suited to the task than the bulletin board pushpin. Clean the area again and make sure it is dry.
2. Peel off the backing on one side of the circular tape and press it on to the windshield, centered around the damage. Make sure the tab points upward.
3. Remove the backing from the exposed side of the circular tape.
4. Line up the pedestal with the adhesive and press it down. The tabs should align and the pedestal will be close to vertical.
5. Carefully cut open the resin tube, insert the tip into the pedestal and squeeze most of the resin out. Save the remaining resin for Step 9.
6. Tightly press the injector (looks like a hypodermic needle) into the pedestal and hold it down while pulling the plunger back and clipping it into place. This creates vacuum. The professionals use an electric vacuum for this task. Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
7. Pull the injector out of the pedestal (releasing the vacuum) then reinsert it, depress the plunger and clip it into place (creating pressure). Leave it alone for 20 minutes.
8. Pull the injector out and discard it. Using a razor blade holder, loosen the adhesive and peel off the pedestal. Wipe off any liquid resin.
9. The damage should look better than when you started. Now put a drop of resin from the tube directly on the impacted area and press the clear yellow sheet over it. Be sure to work out any air bubbles.
10. If the sun is shining, move the car into direct sun. The increased ultra violet light will accelerate the cure time. Wait at least 1 hour in the shade or 15 minutes in the sun.
11. Peel off the yellow sheet. Use the razor blade to clear off any stray resin. Clean the windshield one more time and you are done.
It is not a perfect repair. It can still be noticed, but will be no more distracting than a bit of dirt you will pick up the moment you head down the road.
The objective was not to make the windshield perfectly clear again (as some kits falsely promise.) The idea is to stabilize the damage so that cracks to not grow over your entire windshield.