Keeping the windshield clean is a top priority to see clearly on the road. Even if you take every precaution possible, you can still end up with scratches and blemishes to the auto glass. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to remove scratches from a windshield without breaking the bank.
In this guide, I cover all the methods for removing scratches from auto glass. I also look at the reasons why the glass gets scratched and show you ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.
7 Ways to Remove Scratches from a Windshield
There are several ways to get rid of the windshield scratches, including using a glass repair kit or clear nail polish. It’s also possible to use toothpaste, a glass scrubbing compound or acrylic scratch remover. Otherwise, a buffing machine might be necessary, or you may want to hire a professional.
Here are the steps in detail for removing scratches from a windshield:
1. Glass Repair Kit
You can purchase a low-dollar glass repair kit at your local auto parts store. It’s a go-to option for people looking for an easy solution. To use the kit, you start with the rubbing compound that’s included. Usually, this compound contains cerium oxide, meant to react chemically with the glass to seal it.
Allow the compound to dry. This process could take thirty minutes. Once it is dry, clean the area off with a microfiber cloth to see how the scratches look.
You can also find these kits on Amazon, and here is an example. This is an affiliate link, which means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
2. Clear Nail Polish
It’s not hard to find decent acrylic nail polish and you don’t have to spend a lot to get it. However, this option only works for extremely minor scratches.
Start by cleaning off the area well. Then, apply the nail polish in a thin layer over the scratch. Clean off any excess before it dries. Once it has dried, you should see a difference in the scratch depth.
Another option for minor scratches is a non-gel toothpaste. The paste is capable of gently removing the glass around the scratch to make a flat, clean surface.
- Dry off the glass well with a lint-free cloth before starting.
- Apply a small amount of this toothpaste to your clean cloth.
- Rub it over the scratch for about thirty seconds.
- Wipe it away with a damp cloth and dry the glass completely to see the results.
4. Glass Scrubbing Compound
You can purchase a compound meant for scrubbing the glass. It won’t just help with scratches, but it can also remove stubborn dirt. The compound works similarly to toothpaste.
Apply a small amount of compound to your clean cloth. Rub the cloth over the scratch in a rotational pattern. Every couple of rotations, you want to spray some distilled water on the scratch. It’s important that the glass doesn’t get dry during the process. Repeat this process daily until the scratch is gone.
5. Buffing Machine
If you want to try something more advanced and don’t want to buff by hand, give the buffing machine a go. You can use the buffing machine together with distilled water, toothpaste or even a glass scrubbing compound. However, you don’t want to try leveling out a major scratch, and you want to be very careful not to damage the windshield, as this practice could become dangerous.
Before you get started, make sure you cover the car body with plastic sheets for maximum protection. You can also create a dam with duct tape around the windshield to ensure the water doesn’t get into the car. Pump water or compound onto the scratch and buff it out gently. Make sure the windshield doesn’t get dry while you are buffing. Never put too much pressure on the windshield or you can create more damage. Clean up any leftover residue to see how the scratches look.
6. Acrylic Scratch Remover
Similar to the nail polish option, you can also find acrylic scratch remover at the auto parts store. With this product, you can fill in the minor scratches for a better appearance.
Apply some of the remover to your clean cloth. Rub it over the scratch for a minute or so. Allow it to sit for thirty minutes until it’s dry. Clean off the glass with a cloth and buff any remaining damage out.
7. Professional Repair
If you aren’t able to repair the damage, it might be time to reach out to a professional. You should also take this path if you don’t know what you are doing. If the crack or scratch is deep, you may need to have the windshield replaced, so trying to repair it won’t be safe.
Research local shops in your area and pick the one with the most experience. You don’t want to choose a shop based on price alone, as you could find the quality of the repair is sub-par, leaving you needing a new windshield anyway.
Causes of Scratched Windshield
Bad Wiper Blades
It’s important to use clean wiper blades on your car at all times. As soon as the blades become damaged or contaminated, they should be replaced. If they aren’t, you could cause scratching to the auto glass.
Wiper blades become hard over time and can start to crack. Anytime that the wipers become hardened, scratches are inevitable. If there’s a small object trapped below the wiper blade, it will get trapped and carried across the windshield.
The cleaning products you use can easily damage the windshield. If you are using a rough or dirty cloth to clean off the glass, scratches could appear.
It’s also important to look at what cleaners are being used. If you use something that’s not meant for glass, it could include abrasive ingredients that cause trouble.
If you are regularly cleaning off snow and ice from the windshield, you might have scratched the glass. Ice scrapers can cause damage when not used properly.
Just like when you work with the wiper blades, it’s important that you replace the scraper if it becomes worn or broken. Using a defective scraper can lead to more damage than it’s worth.
As you drive, pebbles, rocks and dirt are constantly ending up on the windshield. You can normally clean these off easily with your wipers and windshield washer fluid.
However, if the road debris gets caught in the wipers, you could drag it across the glass. One wrong move can lead to major scratching, especially if you are following behind a dump truck carrying rocks.
Prevent a Scratched Windshield
Clean the Windshield
The dirt and debris alone aren’t going to ruin the windshield. However, if you leave it sit and the wipers get a hold of it, scratches could occur. That’s why it’s important to clean off the windshield regularly.
Get a clean rag to clean with. Also, it’s important to only use products that are meant to clean automotive glass.
Avoid Public Cleaning Bins
Those gas station cleaning bins are convenient. They are helpful to use if you are on the road and have a stubborn mess that won’t come off with the windshield wipers.
However, all of the dirt and grime from other users is located inside that solution. When you rub the brush along your windshield, you can actually scratch the glass. Instead, keep a bottle of cleaner and a rag in the car for times when a mess needs to be removed.
Replace Worn Wipers
As soon as the wipers start to wear out, you should replace them. Not only are worn wipers less efficient, but the cracks and damage can lead to scratches.
Most people prefer to change the blades every six months. Thankfully, it’s not a difficult replacement to perform on your own or you can get the local auto parts store to do it for free if you make the purchase through them.
Top Off Fluid
When it’s raining, you can use your windshield wipers without fluid. However, trying to clean off the windshield when it’s dry is a problem. That’s why windshield washer fluid is needed.
Keep the reservoir topped off at all times so you never have to use the wipers dry. The better lubricated the windshield is while using the wipers, the less chance you have of creating scratches.
Make Repairs Promptly
If you notice any windshield blemishes, you want to have them repaired immediately. Allowing a small scratch or crack to go unrepaired will only lead to larger issues, especially during extreme weather changes.
If you think you can tackle the repairs yourself, go for it. Otherwise, invest in an appointment with an auto glass repair professional.
Are windshield scratches normal?
Yes. Windshield scratches are actually the most common type of windshield damage and luckily also the easiest damage to repair. Scratches can come from bad windshield wipers, ice scrapers, harsh cleaning or dirt flying from the road.
What is the best product to remove scratches on a windshield?
The best products to remove windshield scratches are a glass repair kit or polish compounds such as a rubbing compound or toothpaste. These polishes are best used with a buffing machine.
Does WD40 remove scratches from a windshield?
No. Although WD40 is good for many reasons, WD40 is a lubricating spray and is not used as a polish. In addition, WD40 can leave an oily film on the windshield that can impair your visibility.
Are windshield scratches covered by insurance?
No. Insurance generally doesn’t cover the cost of repairing or replacing a windshield. The only exception would be if you have comprehensive coverage and your windshield is damaged as a result of a covered event, such as a car accident. However, the best way to find out is to check with your insurance company.