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How To Cover A Broken Car Window? (5 Common Methods)

How To Cover A Broken Car Window? (5 Common Methods)

A broken car window can be a frustrating thing to happen. It might start small, but slowly the entire glass pane fails, leaving you with a giant hole in the side of your door.

Time is of the essence, and you’ll want something quick and practical to plug the whole and reduce any further damage. Luckily, you have some options.

This article will explore the different ways you can go about patching a broken car window. We’ll give you various choices on how to quickly seal the gap, buying you some much-needed time to get yourself to a professional repair shop.

Before beginning

Before attempting to cover a broken car window, you must first ensure that the window and its surrounding area have been cleaned. This includes vacuuming up any displaced shards of glass around the crack or which may have fallen inside your car.

Wear protective clothing, and work gloves at all times. Use a clean microfiber cloth, and gently dust any dirt or residue from the window. This will ensure that no oils, fingerprints, or fragments will tamper with adhesives.

If large fragments of broken glass are still lodged in the window frame, use a hammer to gently tap them out. Avoid applying too much pressure, as this will cause the glass to smash, causing splinters to fall everywhere.

How to cover a broken car window

Because car windows are typically smaller than the average pane of glass, there are a variety of temporary fixes you can install in a matter of minutes to reduce further damage and bide you some time.

They include:

1. Crash wrap sheeting

There are a variety of plastic sheet adhesives that can help cover the broken window of your car. Plastic sheeting, like the one used in the video above, can stretch to cover the entire window, preventing wind and rain from entering your vehicle while driving. Moreover, they can be removed without causing any residual damage to the frame or paintwork.

Start from the top of the car window and pull your plastic covering downwards, pulling slightly to increase tension. Continue pulling until you’ve reached the end of the pane of glass, press against the car, and tear off the back.

Think that you need to apply additional layers? Place the first layer of tape inside your car and alternate to the outside. Repeat as required.

2. Masking tape

Store-bought masking tape can help create a protective barrier around and throughout your empty car window. Like crash wrapping, you can add multiple layers for added protection quickly and easily.

While not a permanent solution, masking tape is a popular remedy for broken windows because it is strong, secure, and won’t distort during adverse weather. It is cost-effective and should last you until you get a professional repairman.

Masking tape also has another additional benefit – it can help preserve and protect your car paint. You can apply small pieces of masking tape to the edges of the window pane to protect vulnerable areas of the car while you remove the glass and clean the area.

3. Duct tape

Duct tape offers a stronger bond than masking tape and, as such, can be used to cover a broken car window quite quickly and cheaply, too. Especially if the window is only partially broken, duct tape should be able to seal the whole effectively.

But there are some considerations to be made. Firstly, duct tape can strip fresh coats of paint from a car and leave an uneven residue when pulled away. Certain brands and manufacturers produce automotive duct tape, which promises gentler car paint and texture.

If the car window suffered a massive break or is gone entirely, you can use duct tape to hold other coverings in places, such as plastic bags and cardboard, or to anchor crash wrap to the car. Again, be careful of placement and its effect on your car’s appearance, and remember it only offers a temporary hold.

Plastic bags

4. Plastic bags

If you are stuck with no other options, a plastic bag can be a quick, temporary fix to a broken car window. But you need to be aware of some safety concerns.

Whether in the front or side windows, if the bag is not secured correctly, it will burst off the window pane and fly around the car compartment. This is a significant safety hazard that can temporarily blind or distract you.

As such, only use a trash bag to cover your window when it is stationary. Never drive with it attached, no matter how secure you think it is. At some point, the passing wind will overwhelm the bag.

Plastic material can be a flexible way of protecting your car from adverse weather conditions until such a time that you can source a professional repair.

5. Cardboard

Similar to plastic, cardboard is only useful for covering your broken car window if it is stationary and you are afraid of weather damage to the interior.

Do not have cardboard on while driving – the cardboard may become loose while in transit and cause a severe safety risk by flying about inside. Not only that, but cardboard can severely limit your visibility while driving.

Depending on its makeup, particular cardboard does not hold up well when exposed to prolonged rain and cold weather. This might distort its shape and structural integrity, rendering it useless.

Why should you always cover a broken car window

Why should you always cover a broken car window?

There are a few reasons why you should actively decide to cover a broken car window. They include:

  • Appearances: As with all things in life, appearances matter. By covering your car, you can help minimize the messiness of a broken window. Furthermore, covering the window can help preserve the window frame and surrounding paintwork.
  • Security: a covering on your window can hide the fact that it is damaged. This will ensure that thieves will not try to break into an already exposed car.
  • Personal safety: Use a vacuum cleaner to remove small glass pieces. These can rebound when the car is in transit and cause you injury.
  • Car safety: Especially if the broken window is at the front of the car, covering the pane will protect your car’s internal circuits, dashboard, and electronic accessories from water and moisture. Additionally, it will protect surfaces from prolonged periods of sun exposure.

Are you allowed drive with a broken window?

You will have to consult the safety laws relevant to your area to see if you are allowed drive with a broken window. Additionally, make sure to contact your insurance company as to what protocols to follow. They may only cover you in the event of an accident if you follow specific instructions.

Expert tips to remember:

  • Always wear safety gloves and eyewear when cleaning and removing glass debris from your window.
  • Use a hammer to remove persistent shards. Avoid applying too much pressure that could shatter and splinter the glass.
  • Vacuum your car thoroughly after the glass has broken. Glass shards may still exist in your car seats and carpet, potentially causing damage.
  • Clean the surrounding area of dirt and residue. Certain oils may negatively affect adhesives.
  • Certain fixes to a broken window, like cardboard, are only recommended to protect your car’s interior overnight or during extreme weather. Avoid driving with these attached to your window.
  • Remember – a temporary window cover is just that – temporary. You will need a repair job or a complete window replacement.

Expert tips to remember


Not only does it look bad, but a broken car window brings many hazards for drivers and passengers alike. Stray glass and extreme weather can disrupt your driving at any moment and is a severe cause for your safety.

Applying a quick-fix cover to your broken window can buy you the time you need to get professional help. As our article has shown, there are a variety of creative, cost-effective solutions for you to try.

That said, do bear in mind that not all solutions are as effective or safe as a repaired window. And you will need to find a permanent solution to your broken window sometime shortly.

If you have questions about covering a broken car window or have tips of your own to share, please leave a comment below.

But as always, remember:

  • You should thoroughly clean your car window and its interiors after a broken window. Collect all stray pieces of glass and debris to limit further damage.
  • Always consult your insurance company on what protocols to follow when your window breaks. You may even be entitled to a free, prompt repair.