If you own a vintage vehicle, chances are the original windshield has seen better days. Years of use and abuse, especially from worn wipers, have taken a toll on it by forming scratches in an otherwise perfectly good windshield. But how do you resolve the problem?
You could change the windshield. This sounds great until you laundry list the pros and cons. Changing it will yield a nice clear windshield. But in doing so, you’ve replaced a windshield that might have very important factory markings. It will also require the weatherstripping to be replaced, and chances are if you car doesn’t have a water leak now, there’s a good chance it will after the windshield is replaced. There’s an additional concern on early Mustangs due to the design of the headliner, which wraps around the upper windshield flange. The weatherstrip surrounds the flange. If the headliner is original, it’s more than likely brittle and any disruption around it could tear the headliner. Lastly, there aren’t many windshield replacement shops that regularly change 45-year-old windshields. Many are unfamiliar with molding removal so in addition to buying a new windshield and weatherstrip, you might wind up buying new windshield moldings. The bottom line is that replacing a windshield is an expensive way to get rid of scratches.
An excellent alternative is to use Eastwood Products’ Glass Polishing Kit. The kit is designed to remove years of wiper haze and minor scratches from glass. Keep in mind it won’t remove deep scratches. A deep scratch is identified as one that will catch your fingernail. If the scratches aren’t deep, then the glass polishing kit is the way to go. The great thing about it is the cost is minimal and using it avoids the pitfalls of replacing a windshield.
We decided to try the kit on this 1965 Mustang. Forty-five years of wiper blades moving back and forth had created several large scratches directly in front of the driver. While the scratches were noticeable, they passed the fingernail test. The project took about two hours to complete and the end result was amazing. The scratches were eliminated completely at a cost much lower than if the windshield was replaced.
This is Eastwood's windshield scratch removal kit. It includes polishing compound, polishing wheel, adapter shaft and a variety of abrasive discs. The discs are used with severely scratched windshields and were not needed for this windshield repair.
The windshield had two wiper scratches on the driver side. The photo shows the most severe scratch. Keep in mind, if the scratch is deep enough to catch your fingernail when moved over the scratch, the windshield should be replaced.
Using a crayon or tape, mark the scratch locations on the inside of the glass.
Remove the windshield wiper arms.
Cover the car to avoid getting the glass compound on the body and to reduce cleanup time. Carefully cut an opening around the windshield and tape the covering to the windshield molding.
Clean the windshield thoroughly.
Soak the polishing wheel in ½-inch of water for 5 minutes. Do not oversoak, as it may swell the wheel unevenly.
The polishing compound contains silica. A large amount of silica dust is generated in this process. It is important not to breathe in the dust. Wear a properly fitting dust mask prior to use.
In a clean container, mix the compound in a 1:1 ratio with water or until it becomes the consistency of gravy.
Moisten windshield with water.
Insert the wheel into a drill having a maximum speed of 1,500 rpm. Apply the compound directly to the scratch and polish at 600 to 1,500 rpm with light steady pressure. Rewet polishing wheel frequently to keep the compound wet and to avoid heat build-up which can crack the glass.
After polishing, clean the glass to determine if all of the scratches have been eliminated. If scratches remain, reapply compound and polish a second time.
After all of the scratches have been removed, remove crayon markings from the windshield.
Remove the plastic cover and clean the windshield.
Re-install windshield wipers and you're finished. The best part is all of the money you saved.
The repaired windshield is scratch free.