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It doesn’t happen often, but windshield scratches can be both unsightly and dangerous. There is no easy way to get rid of windshield scratches, but there are a few things you can do. Options include filling in the scratches or buffing them away. Both of these can help avoid a full windshield replacement by fixing the scratches instead.

Why is getting rid of windshield scratches so challenging?

Unlike car paint and plastics, windshield scratches are incredibly difficult to deal with. Because glass is one of the hardest substances on earth, simply buffing out the imperfections isn’t an option. However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the effect of scratches on your windshield.

These solutions range from store-bought products to professional-level buffing equipment. No matter which level you’re comfortable with, you may want to consider these options before paying for a full windshield replacement.

A pristine car windshield at a car show. Get rid of windshield scratches for a clean and clear view.
Polishing a windshield | Garry Lotulung/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Determine the severity of your windshield scratches

Just like your car’s paint, the severity of a windshield scratch determines whether or not it can be fixed. If your fingernail catches on the scratch as you move across it, it’s likely beyond a simple repair. Anything you can do at home will only reduce the scratch, but getting rid of it entirely is likely not possible.

Keep in mind that a windshield replacement is the only solution to extremely deep scratches. These will become natural weak points that can more easily crack, so you’ll want to take care of them quickly.

Store-bought windshield repair kits can help get rid of scratches

Made for both rock chips and scratches, windshield repair kits are an easier way to repair windshield scratches. These kits include a resin that you’ll use to fill in the affected area. This isn’t a complete repair, as you’ll often still see remnants of the scratch afterward. However, it will shore up the structure of the glass for added safety, according to Portland Glass.

Apply the resin and let it cure for up to 10 minutes. Many kits will include curing strips that lay over the resin as it sets. Once it has dried, pull up the curing strips and scrape away any excess resin left behind.

Use a Cerium Oxide polish

If you’ve got the proper equipment, a Cerium Oxide windshield polish can help get rid of superficial scratches in just a few minutes. First, make sure the surface is clean and dry. Then use a buffing machine with glass polish pads and Cerium Oxide polish. This is an ultra-tough abrasive that can buff scratches from glass to help restore clarity and reduce glare.

Afterward, wipe up any excess residue with a microfiber towel and apply your favorite windshield cleaner.

Some scratches aren’t repairable

Unfortunately, deep scratches can’t be repaired entirely with either of these methods. In some cases, a windshield replacement is the only option. However, you can use the above tips to try and fix the problem before you pay for a new pane of glass.

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