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Should I replace my windshield myself?

I have 2 vehicles that both need the windshields replaced and so I was thinking about doing this myself because the tools aren’t too expensive. I am wondering if this is something I can do myself though. It doesn’t seem too difficult and I am aware that I need to prime it to avoid rust issues but other than that is there any reason this shouldn’t be done by a novice? Or any possible pitfalls I should know about first?

I am also wondering if used glass can be used if I find an intact one at the junkyard? Not sure if it matters either, but one is a '04 buick lesabre (no rain sensor) and the other is a 97 ford ranger (obviously no sensors).

Any experience ? Otherwise, I would hate to learn on a car I cared about. You have only yourself to blame for a leak. IMO, it isn’t worth the effort after you buy the materials. The biggest pitfall is the experience of the installer.

This is one of those jobs that, for me at least, falls in the category…;

Even though I probably could…I won’t.

I’ll pay the glass shop to do it.
If they break one …or two putting it in , I just pay for the one.
If -I- break the one I’m attempting to put in , it is ME who has to pay for another one.

I wouldn’t do it, too many ways to mess up, for me.

I wouldn’t do it. Windshields now are part of the body integrity and need to be properly installed. Also to avoid leaks.

Back in my school days, I needed a windshield for my 59 Pontiac. I got a used one for $10 from the junk yard. I used a body shop guy that did work on the side and put it in for $25. These days though it really isn’t all that expensive and insurance has always paid for my windshields. Crack one putting it in and anything you saved is wasted.

I wouldn’t do it myself and usually the cost of the glass is the same whether you install it yourself or not. Not to mention the risk of breaking it which the responsibility of that would fall on the installer.

There are certain jobs that a lot of mechanics choose to farm out rather than mess with.
Windshield or rear glass work.

All for a very good reason; a bit of an aggravation.

I wouldn’t try it myself, at least on a car I frequently drive. If I had an old beater I seldom drove except maybe to the 7-11 for a quart of milk when my regular car was in the shop. A car limited to 35 mph or less I mean, and I didn’t care much if it leaked a little. Then maybe. Especially if I found a used windshield at a junkyard for cheap. If I were to give it a go, I’d buy a couple of those suction cup glass holder gadgets.

I had this done on my 2005 Camry in 2009 when the windshield cracked. I watched them do it, took two people and they were very meticulous. Turned out the car’s windshield was changed by the previous owner and also was not sealed properly. This fixed the minor wind noise I thought was from the door seal.

I take a chance with a lot of DIY projects, but this is not one of those.

Nope, don’t do it.
The windshield is a structural part of the vehicle. Installed incorrectly it compromises the structural integrity of the vehicle.

Also, if your not careful it is easy to cut into metal, not just scratching it but cutting a hole in it. A leak might not be visible right away and when discovered a large portion of the windshield frame could be rusted away. I have seen this happen.

Yes, the cars’ years make a difference. Both of these windshields are, as meanycatz pointed out, bonded on parts of the vehicle’s unibody structure. Failure to do the job properly can compromise the structural integrity of the body. Leave this one to the pros.

I have done body work and replaced windshield’s. I have the tools. In no way will I do one today. I just had mine done yesterday. $100 deducible and its all done. Call your insurer.

I never replace windshields anymore either. In addition to the structural integrity of the body…the windshield is critical if your airbags are triggered. You wouldn’t want the windshield to fly out into the road when you need it to hold your airbags in place.

Great point missileman!
You make us former SAC guys proud!

I doubt there is a need for one more “don’t do it” post. But I just figured I’d add that I am among the last people to ever say not to give something a whirl if you want to. I like the “give it a try” spirit - almost - no matter what the job is. Others are more conservative about that. However, for all of the reasons mentioned, even I would say not to try to do a windshield yourself, and that is especially so for trying to deal with one from salvage yard.

Thanks mountainbike . A friend of mine was seriously injured a few years ago when he was in an auto accident. The shady company that had installed his windshield used the wrong sealant and his windshield just popped out on the hood when his airbag deployed. He’s doing OK now and got a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company and an even bigger settlement from that shady windshield repair shop. I had no idea the windshield was that critical until that accident happened.

I’m sincerely sorry to hear that missile man. It’s unfortunate that integrity has gone the way of high buckle shoes.

Sincere best,

It’s just so cheap and easy to watch the windshield guy change it in your parking space. Every single tool and every other one of its friends gathers dust in your garage. I still have some of the 200 sandpaper discs I bought 28 years ago.

New glass is so inexpensive with installation, at least in my market, it is not even close to worth the trouble of doing it yourself. The glass installers come to you and do the job in your driveway or at your workplace. Typical installation takes only about 20 minutes.

Most of the dealerships here in NH farm out glass repair. Portland Glass does most of the dealers. You can go to Portland Glass and have a new windshield put in for $150…or go to the dealer and have Portland Glass do the repair through the dealer for $250.