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How to Fix a Broken Car Window

last updated August 23, 2018 by

Driving with a broken window is dangerous to your health in many ways. Smoke from different vehicles can easily get inside the car and cause breathing problems. At night, the driver inhales very cold air. Plus, car thieves can easily steal DVD players and stereos.

If you need to fix a broken car window right now, follow these simple steps below by Complete Auto Loans!

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1. How to temporarily cover a broken window

If you suspect theft or vandalism, take close up pictures of the damaged window. Present these images to the police and your insurance company. Owning a dashboard camera will help detectives to catch the culprit in less time.
Here are the tools you need to get the job done.

1. Get a pair of protective gloves

You may need to pull out bits of loose glass while doing repairs. Broken glass also has sharp edges that can cause nasty cuts to your hands when cleaning the surface. When a thief breaks into a car, shattered glass falls on to car seats. You’ll need to scoop large pieces out and any that are scattered on the mats.

2. A stiff handheld brush

Glass breaks unevenly. Even after scooping out large fragments, some smaller ones might get stuck on the car seat. Fortunately, you can easily get rid of them by using a stiff handheld brush. Use it on the car seat with glass fragments for about a minute. Sweep the car mats as well.

Alternatively, you can use a shop vacuum from an auto shop for this purpose.

3. Two cotton towels

Cleaning the window gets rid of dust and oil smears. Adhesive tape cannot stick on a dirty window. For this task, you’ll need two cotton towels and some water. Dampen one towel and use it to gently wipe the window you want to fix.
Take a five-minute break then dry your window using the dry cloth.

4. Bubble wrap

What is bubble wrap? It is a special kind of plastic specifically made for broken windows. It has strips of adhesive to help you seal a hole in your car window in less than 30 seconds. Bubble wrap is transparent to allow sunlight entry. People like it because it’s waterproof and an entire roll can last you for several repairs.

Rubble wrap is really easy to use because you just have to unroll a piece that’s large enough to cover a hole. It remains firmly in place even when driving at 60 miles per hour. You can find a roll of bubble wrap at your nearest auto shop or Wal-Mart.

5. Avoid slamming the door

A broken window might have some cracks that are hard to see but develop rapidly due to impact. After using rubble wrap, close and open the door gently. Slamming it is dangerous because a passenger seated right next to the glass will get cuts.
If it’s one of the rear car doors, you may consider telling your family or friends to use the other door.

how to fix a broken car window fast the first time

2. How to insert a replacement car window

With so many options available in today’s market, you can choose a new or used window. You may wonder who would want to purchase a used car window. This market caters to prestigious car owners who aren’t willing to pay thousands of dollars to get their windows fixed.

A new car window is the best option because it meets an auto manufacturer’s standards of high quality. It may be a bit costly but it’s quite clean.

What tools do you need for this job?

  1. A flathead screwdriver
  2. Screwdriver set
  3. Replacement window
  4. Thick plastic bag for glass fragments
  5. A friend to help you hold the replacement in place

Step-by-step instructions

1. Wear protective gloves

You need protective gloves to prevent any cuts that might occur during removing the damaged window. It’s advisable to have a pair of leather padded work gloves because they’re tough and long-lasting. They also enhance your grip when working with screwdrivers.

2. Dismantle the window electronic switch

First, switch off the car to prevent the window from moving around. Use a damp cotton cloth to clean the buttons and panel. Since each car has it’s own interior design, you’ll need a set of screwdrivers to unscrew the window switch.
Carry a small Ziploc bag where you’ll keep the screws while dismantling your switch. You might need your screwdriver to pry the cover open. It shouldn’t take more than three minutes since the screws are quite visible. Unplug the entire socket from the connecting wires because it hinders you from removing the door panel.

2. Pry the door panels using the flathead screwdriver

In order to remove the damaged window, you need to unscrew the door panels. Beneath these tough plastic coverings are screws holding the car door intact. You’ll spot panels near the hinges and lower parts of car doors. Use your flathead screwdriver gently to prevent breaking the protective covering.

3. Unscrew the door panel

This is where your screwdriver set comes in. You need different screwdrivers because a car door panel has various screws holding it intact. After unscrewing, use your screwdriver to pry sections of the door panel. Keep your screws in a safe place and avoid mixing them up.

4. Remove the insulation lining

Beneath the door panel is a sheet of insulation lining. It prevents air from getting between the door panel and damaging levers controlling locks and windows. You may notice pieces of glass on it however you can clean it by giving it a good shake. Fold it and store it safely because you’ll place it back after putting the new window.

5. Unscrew the window bracket

The window bracket is a metallic frame that supports a car window. It also has the levers that enable a crankshaft or power switch for opening and closing. You’ll find two screws at the base of the car door. One near the speaker, while the other is close to the lock. Ask your friend to hold the broken window as you unscrew it from the bracket to prevent it from falling.

6. Mount the new window carefully inside the bracket

Your friend will hold the door firmly while you mount the replacement car window. First, make sure that you’re holding it in the correct position. Slip it gently inside the slots while ensuring that it goes inside uniformly. After ensuring that’s it’s in position, slowly roll up the window. If you did it correctly, it will open and close like a new one.

How to fix a power window that won't roll up

3. How to fix a power window that won’t go up

1. Find out the cause

If you lent the car to someone then you realize that the power windows aren’t working, find out the exact cause. It helps you to decide whether you can do a DIY repair or take it to a mechanic. Rub the window switch with your fingers to find if there are sticky traces of sugary beverages.

Some drinks don’t leave sticky traces but you can detect their smell by sniffing your window switch. Take milk for example. You can also look under the car seats to see if there are bottles, juice boxes, or soda cans. Make sure you check your cup holder on the dashboard to see if there are any traces of spilled beverages.

Power windows can fail if there was attempted breaking and entering. Check the doorframe to see if someone was using a straightened metal hanger to pick your dock lock. You’ll also notice several scratches near the door handle since the thief was pulling his hanger repeatedly. If you own a dashboard camera, you’ll see the thief and notify the police.

2. Inspect the fuses

You’ll find the power window fuse box under or near your steering wheel. It’s small, black, and has diagrams printed on the cover.

Get your flathead screwdriver to pry it open. You’ll see a few fuses arranged vertically. Since blowing up is the most obvious reason, pull out each plug gently for closer inspection. Use a flashlight to check for burn marks and damaged metal strips.

Do you have a test light or multimeter? First, switch on the engine and click the window open. You’ll need a friend to hold the button while you use your test light or multimeter to check whether electricity is flowing.

3. Unscrew the window switch

You’ll need your friend to hold the door firmly while you unscrew the window switch from the armrest. Come ready with a screwdriver because you’ll have to pry it. After removing the cover, take out the socket gently and inspect the wires. If they’re broken, you’ll need an auto mechanic to install a new one.

Use a screwdriver to see if the buttons are wobbling. You can fix this by adjusting them to the correct positions. Make sure you check whether there’s a flow of electric current by switching on the engine and using a test light on each component.

4. Check the window’s motor assembly

In order to access the window’s motor assembly, you’ll have to remove the inner door panel beneath the insulation lining. First, unscrew your speakers. You’ll need a 10-millimeter socket to unscrew the bolts holding your inner door panel in position.

The motor assembly will fall off after removing a couple of bolts. If a thief was using a metal hanger to gain entry, he might have snapped your window cable while attempting to jam your door lock. The good news is that you can purchase a new motor assembly quite easily and replace it at home.

how to replace a broken bus window

4. How to replace a broken bus window

If you’ve just woken up to a smashed bus window, here are some tips to help you replace it. You’ll need the following tools.

  • A pair of protective gloves
  • Small stiff brush
  • Empty trash bag
  • Rivethead removal tool
  • Electric drill
  • Replacement window
  • Screwdriver
  • A friend

1. Get rid of broken glass

Use the small stiff brush to sweep any broken glass on the seats, floors, and window frame. Scrub the seats in order to catch tiny fragments lodged between fabrics. Sweep them into a small heap because you’ll need to dispose of them inside your empty trash bag.

Before you begin this task, wear your protective gloves. Your gloves protect you in two ways. Your fingers avoid rubbing against any shattered glass lying on the floor. If you come across loose pieces of broken glass, you’ll pull them out confidently. Why? Because the tough glove protects your fingers from cuts.

2. Remove the window frame

You’ll find rivet head removal tools at auto mechanic shops. They’re small hollow cylinders that join with rivet heads to enable you to unscrew them. For this task, you’ll need an electric drill. It helps you to remove all window frame rivets in less than a minute.

Loosening the rivets brings about instability. You’ll need a friend to hold the window frame in place while unscrewing the rivets. Apply moderate pressure on your drill to avoid damaging your rivets. Once you’ve removed the last rivet, take down the frame and use a screwdriver to remove lodged pieces of broken glass.

3. Clean the window frame

You’ll need a cloth and some soapy water to get rid of accumulated dust. Doing this ensures smooth movement during opening and shutting. It also gets rids of small glass fragments that you didn’t spot while sweeping. Wait until your frame is completely dry so you can install the replacement window.

4. Insert new window

You’ll use a screwdriver to create space between the rubber space that holds the window intact. Keep the window frame upright when inserting the new window to fit the corners securely. Keep the window in an open position so you can test whether it fits correctly by pushing it down.

5. Reassemble the window

Return the window frame to its original position and secure it with the rivets. Attach the rivet head removal tool to your power drill to accomplish this task. Test the window a couple of times before leaving.

5. Avoid doing these five costly mistakes after replacing a broken car window

1. Staying with a temporary fix for too long

Perhaps you’re really happy that the roll of bubble wrap you bought is doing a great job in preventing cold air, rain, and smoke from getting inside your car. Some people get so comfortable with the temporary window fix that they keep postponing visits to an auto mechanics shop for permanent replacements.

The more time you spend driving around with a broken window, the more damage you cause to the remainder. Bumpy roads can cause pieces of glass to fall on your passengers due to continuous vibrations that take place in the window frame.

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2. Using the wrong tools

What happens when you use a kitchen knife instead of a good screwdriver to disassemble your window switch? The knife widens the spaces and makes it difficult for a screwdriver to fit on the screws heads. In addition, one will have to push the knife on the screw head to maintain a solid grip and this destroys the threads.
Using a blunt item to pry plastic casings surrounding the window socket can cause cracks.

3. Hitting the rough roads immediately after getting a replacement

Auto mechanics use a special adhesive to keep a replacement window in position for 72 hours. In order for the adhesive to work, you need to avoid bumpy roads because rattling prevents the glue from sticking effectively.
Going on an off-road drive is dangerous because the window can break while cruising at high speeds. Plus, the dust particles that settle on the door and window frame also affect the special adhesive.

Learn More: Nine Bad Driving Habits That Will Ruin Your Car

4. Washing the car just after getting your car window fixed

Mechanics recommend keeping the replacement car window dry for at least 72 hours after installation. This period is enough for the special adhesive on the window frame to dry up. So, no matter how many oily fingerprints you spot on your new window, avoid the urge to reach for a cloth and some soapy water.

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5. Playing loud music

Playing bass heavy music is a costly mistake because the continuous sound vibration that’s taking place in your car compromises a newly replaced window. Just like driving on a bumpy road, the sound vibration prevents the adhesive from sticking effectively.

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6. Follow these tips today!

Repairing your car window can help you weather a bad storm because it prevents rain from covering your face while driving. Doing this prevents you from causing accidents and you can drive comfortably to the nearest mechanic.
If you plan on doing DIY repairs, make sure you have all the right tools to avoid breaking sockets and electrical components. If you own a luxury car, then buying a used car window will help you minimize repair expenses. You’ll get more tips by talking to other motorists who have experience in doing car window repairs from their home garages.

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