After investing time and money, the last thing you want is for your brand-new windshield to crack or come loose shortly after replacement. While poor installation could cause cracking, the life of your windshield largely depends on the precautions and care you take after a windshield replacement.
It is important to keep in mind that your new windshield is the most vulnerable within the first 48 hours after installation. After your auto glass service is finished, there are some windshield replacement aftercare tips to keep in mind to avoid potential stressors to the glass as much as possible.
In this guide, we’ve broken down all the dos and don’ts that you need to know.
What to Do After Windshield Replacement: The First 48 Hours
Give the Windshield Time to Cure After Replacement
To secure the new windshield onto your vehicle, the technician will use a urethane adhesive, which forms a watertight seal between the glass and the frame. In most cases, you will need to give that adhesive enough time to properly cure and form that seal before driving your vehicle.
Different adhesives cure at varying rates based on factors such as outside temperature and humidity. But, in general, to ensure good results, you should wait to drive the vehicle for a minimum of one hour following windshield installation. Doing so will prevent road vibrations, debris, weather, and other factors from compromising the ability of the adhesive to cure. The best-case scenario is that you can wait a day or two before driving the vehicle.
If you know you’ll need to leave the auto glass shop before the one-hour mark after installation, then you should have someone follow you to your appointment or arrange for someone to pick you up. It may sound relatively harmless to drive the vehicle immediately after windshield replacement, but if even a quick trip can potentially damage the windshield’s adhesive seal, why risk it?
It is important to note that when you first get in your car, be careful to look for any glass shards that may be left over from the old windshield. In most cases, during your windshield replacement service, your glass technician will use a vacuum to try to ensure that any stray glass pieces have been cleaned up before returning the vehicle to you. But you can’t be too careful. It doesn’t hurt to thoroughly vacuum your vehicle’s interior again before driving it.
Leave the Tape on Your New Windshield
At the end of the windshield replacement, the technician will put temporary retention tape on the edge of the new glass. Removing it soon after the installation is done can be very tempting. However, you need to leave the tape on since it is used to prevent debris and other elements from affecting the adhesive’s drying process. So, it is important to leave the tape on for at least 24 hours.
Leave the Side Windows Cracked Open a Little
One of the most common causes of a cracked windshield is high internal pressure. This is most prevalent during hot summer months when air pressure tends to build up more. When high pressure is exerted on the windshield’s adhesive seal, it will likely cause leaks, jeopardizing the glass’s structural integrity.
To prevent this, ensure you keep the side windows down slightly, enough to let out the hot air and prevent a pressure build-up. Also, avoid parking your vehicle in a hot environment for an extended period.
Keep Things Away from the Windshield
When the adhesive is still drying/curing, some things that come into contact with it may stick. And even if they don’t stick, some items can ruin the seal between the vehicle frame and the windshield, possibly resulting in leaks and even cracks.
So, especially during the first 24 hours, make sure to keep objects away from both sides of the new windshield until the adhesive has properly dried. For example, don’t put any type of cover over the vehicle. You also want to avoid putting a sunshade up on the inside of the windshield. Though some items may not stick to the adhesive, they can push against the windshield, interfering with the curing process and causing gaps in the seal.
Avoid Driving in Heavy Rain
If it is raining heavily for the first couple of days after your windshield installation, try to avoid driving as much as possible. Heavy rain can potentially hinder the drying process of the adhesive.
Park the Vehicle in a Covered or Shaded Spot
Another important part of proper windshield replacement aftercare within the first 48 hours is to park the vehicle in a covered, shaded spot, ideally in a garage if possible. Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), direct sunlight, rain, and heavy winds can all hinder the adhesive’s curing process. Parking in a covered spot will also protect the new windshield from things such as falling branches.
Avoid a High-Pressure Wash
Yes, a high-pressure car wash or power washer can thoroughly clean your vehicle, but you should avoid these for the first 48 hours after windshield replacement. These types of washes can put too much force on the adhesive before it has dried well, ruining its hold. With a weak adhesive, your windshield will most likely crack or even come off at the slightest impact.
Plus, the detergents used in some car washes can be very harsh on the adhesive. So, avoid high-pressure washes for the first couple of days. If you must wash your vehicle, simply use mild detergent and hand wash it. At most, you could use a soft spray with a hose to prevent any excess pressure on the windshield.
You also don’t want to have the car detailed or have any wax treatments done within 48 hours after windshield replacement. The last thing you want is the auto detailer to unknowingly wipe away any of the adhesive that hasn’t yet fully cured around the glass.
Wait to Apply Any Windshield Treatments
Many drivers are fans of Rain-X Water Repellent and similar windshield treatments, and you may be one of them. However, it is important to wait at least 48 hours after your new windshield installation until you apply one.
Some windshield treatments can interact with or break down glass adhesive that is not fully cured, jeopardizing the seal of the new windshield. Applying a water repellant on your new glass can be tempting, but just wait a couple of days before you do.
Be Gentle on Your New Windshield
As mentioned above, during the first 24 to 48 hours after a windshield installation, the adhesive and molding are curing, and everything is in a healing process. So, you should be gentle on the new windshield and your vehicle during this time. An impact on the vehicle can also affect the windshield.
So, especially for the first 48 hours, always gently close the doors, trunk, and hood. When a door or hood is slammed, there’s a chance that the windshield’s seal can be broken. You should also avoid using your windshield wipers as much as possible for the first couple of days. If you must use them, limit the driving time to 2 hours.
Drive Extra Carefully After Windshield Replacement
With a new windshield, you should drive extra carefully to help keep it properly in place, especially during the first couple of days. One thing this means is to avoid driving on rough roads. For instance, you should avoid dirt roads and roads that have a lot of bumps or potholes.
If you frequently drive on bumpy roads, try and find alternate routes for the first 48 hours. When you encounter unavoidable speed bumps or potholes, slow to a very low speed before driving over them. Hitting these things with significant force or driving on roads that cause a lot of vibration can interfere with the proper curing of the adhesive sealant.
You should also avoid driving at high speeds or slamming on the brakes to prevent an impact that could cause windshield cracking.
Long-Term Care Tips
There are also some specific things you can do past the first couple of days after windshield replacement that will help protect your windshield and extend its lifespan. These include:
- Avoid parking the vehicle in direct sunlight, especially during the summertime. Over time, the windshield and the adhesive can begin to weaken due to the high temperatures caused by prolonged exposure to direct sun. Park your vehicle in a shaded and/or covered area as much as you can.
- Keep a good distance between you and the vehicle in front of you when driving, especially when traveling on a gravel road or behind a dump truck. This will help prevent any loose gravel rocks or dirt from hitting your vehicle. You are more prone to tiny rocks causing damage to your windshield, especially when traveling at a fast speed, leading to a need for a windshield chip repair or even another replacement.
- Periodically clean your windshield and other vehicle windows inside and out thoroughly. This will help prevent a buildup of dirt and debris on the glass, which can cause scratches or pitting.
- It is possible, at some point, that you will encounter a new chip or crack in your windshield. If this happens, get it fixed ASAP. Doing so will prevent that damage from spreading and causing an even bigger problem.
Signs Of an Improperly Installed Windshield
Although following these aftercare dos and don’ts is important, they won’t help much if your windshield was not properly installed initially. There are a couple of signs to watch out for that indicate a bad windshield replacement:
- Visible spaces between the vehicle frame and the auto glass
- Rattling sounds while driving
- Irregular patterns on the glass
If you notice that the technician didn’t install the windshield properly, don’t be afraid to ask them to redo the job. Remember, you can avoid the chance of this happening by going with high-quality auto glass professionals such as Max Auto Glass.
You Can Help Keep Your New Windshield in Place & Protected
These aftercare tips will be very effective in helping to keep your windshield safe and protected. Your auto glass is a very important part of your vehicle, and you should treat it as such. Proper installation is the key, so make sure you have windshield replacement services done through a qualified professional. For the best windshield replacement, contact Max Auto Glass today and enjoy top-quality auto glass services with unbeatable customer service.
It’s easy to take the crucial role your windshield plays for granted, especially when it’s in good condition. But if you end up with a chip or crack, you can’t wait to have it addressed. Having professional cracked windshield repair done ASAP will prevent the damage from worsening and ensure your and your passengers’ safety.
Trust the Tucson Windshield Replacement Experts
No matter if you need a windshield chip repair or full windshield replacement, you need a trustworthy and experienced auto glass shop in the Tucson area, like Max Auto Glass. Our expert team of certified auto glass technicians can provide the best windshield installations and repairs. This way, you can trust your windshield to do its job in the event of an accident.
Our experts only use the highest quality materials, ensuring that your safety is a priority. We are also a preferred in-network insurance provider and work with all major insurance companies.
Also, our convenient mobile auto glass services allow your damaged auto glass to be repaired or replaced quickly at your home or office for no extra charge. We’ll come to you, and then you can continue your day as you normally would, without any added interruptions. We offer windshield replacement and repair, back and side glass replacement, and windshield ADAS calibration services.
Contact us today to schedule your service! We’ll get you back on the road as safely and quickly as possible.