How to remove scratches from car windows is what many DIYers want to know, and it’s straightforward if the scratches aren’t too deep. You start by cleaning the affected area to remove dirt and debris that can worsen the problem as you work on the glass.
Once the place is clean and dry, apply several coats of your ideal scratch remover (you can use an electric polisher or apply by with a cloth) until the scratches disappear. Check the step-by-step guide below, and you’ll discover that the procedure is more straightforward than it sounds.
How To Remove Scratches From Your Car Windows
To remove scratches from your car windows, examine them first to ensure they are fixable. If you can fix them, clean the scratched area and choose an ideal glass scratch remover (polish). Apply the polish to a quality buffing pad attached to an electric drill to remove the scratches.
In case you’re wondering what causes car window scratches, there are many things to blame. One is old or defective windshield wipers. As the wipers wear out gradually, the rubber part pulls away from the metal casing (this can also happen due to manufacturing error). That causes the metal to come into contact with the glass, creating tiny scratches as the wipers frequently grind on it.
Airborne road debris is another notorious cause of scratches on car glasses. Pebbles, sand, and other elements will inevitably collide with your windshield, especially if you regularly drive on unpaved roads. When these objects repeatedly collide with the glasses over time, they can cause tiny scratches.
The damage may not be noticeable initially, but it will eventually surface as it progresses. Improper cleaning can also cause scratches on the glasses (and car paint) in the long run. For example, using abrasive products to clean the car could scratch your auto glasses.
Always double-check your glass-cleaning technique to ensure it’s not the culprit behind your glass marks. Also, remember to clean the windshield and wiper blades to remove embedded dust particles and prevent further damage.
Let’s take the detailed steps to get those ugly scratches off your auto windows. Before that, ensure you have the following tools:
- A good-quality car glass cleaner
- Specialty cleaner for tough stains, e.g., 3M glass cleaner
- 2-3 microfiber cloths
- A plastic razor
- Rotary car polisher
- Dry-erase marker or painter’s tape
- Protective gear – goggles, rubber gloves, and a dust mask
- Ideal scratch “lifter” or polish
- A bowl and stirring stick
- Some tap water in a bottle or basic
- A high-quality butting pad
Examine the Scratches
Before you do anything on the scratch, it’s best to examine the extent of the damage. A scratch is different from a crack or chip. One easy way to make that distinction is to hold your finger vertically and drag the nail over the scratch. If it’s a deep scratch, you’ll feel the nail go down into the glass surface.
However, if you feel the nail stops at raised residue, it’s a surface deposit and is relatively easier to repair. Deep scratches can’t be fixed, especially on the windshield. They continuously grow, and eventually, the glass breaks. The best way to deal with profound scratches is to replace the entire glass or windshield.
Only continue to the next steps if you have a surface or light scratch. For heavy scratches, contact a professional for further guidance. You can search “car window scratch repair near me” or “glass scratch repair near me” on the internet and find contacts of the most reputable and suitable experts.
Remember to compare different car side window scratch repair costs (and windshield repair costs also) to make an informed choice. As with everything, some are cheaper than others.
Prep the Scratch
Prepping the scratch is critical to prevent escalating the damage during repair. First, wash the glass with a suitable glass cleaner. You must remove all the dirt and debris. Spray the cleaner onto the window, then dry it with microfiber cloths. You can also treat tougher stains using specialty glass cleaners, such as isopropyl, rubbing alcohol, or 3M glass cleaner.
Avoid dish soap because it may be unsafe on glasses, especially the windshield. If you don’t have the right cleaning products, mix one part vinegar with one part water. Alternatively, you can use an all-purpose cleaner or degreaser.
Scrape stubborn grime off with a plastic razor. Metal razors can cause more scratches on the glasses. Once thoroughly cleaned the glass, dry it with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Next, cover the window glass edges with a dry-erase marker or painter’s tape to make it visible and prevent unintended damage on the unaffected parts. Cover all the edges, including the wipers, if you’re treating the windshield. Also, outline the scratches with the tape to track all the spots you must treat.
After prepping the scratch for treatment, wear a dust mask and rubber gloves for safety. Some products that remove scratches on auto windows, such as cerium oxide (cerium dioxide) powder, can be quite a harsh irritant. It’s also important to wear goggles to eliminate the risk of irritants splashing into the eyes.
Ensure you’ve parked your car in a well-ventilated environment. If you’re inside a garage, keep the door open. Lastly, ensure you have an electrical outlet close.
Choose Your Ideal Scratches Remover
You have various scratch-filling options to consider, both commercially produced and homemade. These solutions differ in cost, ease of application, and effectiveness. The most effective alternative is to buy a glass or windshield repair kit, which includes cerium oxide polish (jeweler’s rouge) and a buffing pad. Jeweler’s rouge is long-lasting and has the highest success rate if applied correctly.
Another solution is clear acrylic nail polish, similar to cerium dioxide, and works excellently on minor scratches. You’ll find it in liquid form. You can also find it at your local auto parts store or place an order online from your favorite e-commerce site. The product is designed to chemically react with glass, filling in the scratches.
Alternatively, you can assemble the components for your kit separately. That means you buy the rubbing compound, and buffing pads, then use an electric drill to apply the compound.
Homemade products offer the cheapest solutions for removing scratches. You can use a combination of white, non-gel toothpaste and baking soda. However, the product is short-lasting, and you’ll have to reapply each time the scratch reappears.
Buff the Scratch
Regardless of the scratch “lifter” you’ve chosen, you must apply it properly to the scratched area to obtain the desired results. You may require multiple coats application allowing each enough time to dry. See more details on how to use each of the products we’ve discussed above.
A car glass repair set. As mentioned, using a car window scratch repair kit with cerium oxide powder is the most effective in treating light and relatively heavy scratches. In other words, that’s what we recommend for anyone asking, “How to get deep scratches out of car windows?”
So, pour a reasonable amount of cerium oxide from your auto glass repair kit into a bowl. You can measure two tablespoons or more, depending on the size of the area you need to repair. Next, add a small amount of water and stir the mixture using a mixing stick into a paste with perfect glue consistency.
Now attach a buffing pad to your rotary car polisher (or electric drill) and ensure it is secure. Dip the pad in the paste, then turn the polisher. With the device running at least 1300 RPM, align the buffing pad’s edge over the scratches and grind them back and forth a few times. Press the pad firmly against the glass to rub the paste flat for effective results.
The glass polish will chemically seal the scratch to keep it from expanding. Keep a clean microfiber cloth handy to wipe off excess paste before it dries and allow the first coat to sit for around 30 minutes. After that, clean the spot with a microfiber cloth and repeat the steps for the second coat. If the paste hardens, add water and stir to thin it out. Stop when the scratch isn’t visible anymore.
Note that you can apply the polish by hand if you don’t have a rotary tool. Put the cerium paste on the cloth and spread it evenly on the scratches. Rub the repair product thoroughly until you see the scratches disappear. You can apply several coats until you get satisfactory results.
Clear nail polish. If you have shallow scratches, you can seal them with the acrylic scratch remover. All you need is to apply a small amount on a microfiber cloth. Rub the product over the scratches for at least a minute. You’ll now allow the remover to sit for about 30 minutes.
The polish hardens around the spot as it dries, repairing the imperfections. After that, wipe off the glass with a clean cloth.
White toothpaste. If you use this homemade product, mix equal parts of the paste and baking soda, then stir the mix into a perfect paste. With the screen clean and dry, apply some paste on a microfiber cloth and rub it on the scratch in a circular motion for the entire length for around 40 seconds.
The paste serves as a polishing compound that can help you level the damaged area. After it’s dry, use another clean, damp cloth to wipe it off the glass. Like the other products above, you can apply several coats until all the remaining scratches disappear. Just ensure not to use excess.
Remember that prevention is better than cure. Deal with scratches on auto windows at the earliest before they become worse. Not taking action sooner will give them time to expand, and you’ll eventually need to replace the glass untimely.
Also, always park your vehicle in enclosed spaces like a garage. That reduces the risk of the car windshield damage. Check your windshield wipers, examine them for wear and tear, and use an appropriate kit to repair any invisible windshield scratches on your vehicle.
In this guide above, You have seen how to remove scratches from car windows.
Here’s a summary of what you’ve learned:
- It is essential to assess the scratches on auto windows beforehand to determine whether they are fixable.
- Profound scratches, particularly on the windshield, are irreparable; the only solution is a windshield replacement.
- Using a repair tool set is the most effective option to repair scratches on auto windows.
- You use gel-free toothpaste or nail varnish as alternatives to store-bought abrasive compounds for the shallowest scratches.
Now grab the tools needed and start working on that windshield or side window repair project. Feel free to contact an expert if the scratches are too deep or if you feel uncomfortable executing the above steps.
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