Broken car windows are dangerous. Even more dangerous is the decision to let them be. The opening that they provide be exploited by miscreants to steal your possessions. Driving with a hole in the window can also be fatal, as outside elements can interfere with your concentration.
Hence the reason why you need to know how to cover a broken car window. It may not be a permanent solution – that would be having the entire glass repaired – but it would let you run your daily errands before you get the time to take the car to the mechanic.
How to Cover a Broken Car Window
Follow these steps to cover the hole in your car’s window:
Step 1: Gather the supplies
Here’s what you need to have before moving on to the next steps:
- Plastic garbage bag (1x)
- Packing tape (1 roll)
- Car vacuum with vehicle-specific attachments
- Dry microfiber cloth to remove dust from the glass
- Masking tape to protect the car’s paint
- A few pieces of paper to protect the window’s bottom
- A helping hand to assist you with proper placement of the packing tape
Step 2: Vacuum glass debris
Since the glass pieces may have fallen on your car’s seats and upholstery, you’ll need to vacuum then off to save yourself from getting cut. Use a car vacuum with vehicle-specific attachments to clean the seats, headrests, and carpets.
Attach the nozzle-shaped attachment to the head of the vacuum and remove debris from the window seal as well. Don’t hurry this step as it is essential for your safety that you remove all the glass debris before moving on to the next steps.
Step 3: Clean the window
Moisten a dry microfiber cloth with a few drops of water. Use it to wipe clean the window. It will ensure that the surface is clean for the tape to stick properly. Then wipe the window with a dry microfiber cloth as you need its surface dry before applying the tape.
Step 4: Cover the hole
Open the door of your car and sit in the seat next to the broken window. Measure the dimensions of the hole (length and width) and then cut the plastic garbage bag accordingly. Then, neatly place the bag over the hole.
Step 5: Attach the plastic garbage bag
Depending on the expanse of the hole, you can use one or both hands to hold the plastic bag very tightly against it. Apply duct tape over the plastic bag. Tape over the middle of the plastic bag as it would provide an extra-strong hold.
Make sure that there are no gaps between two successive layers of the tape. The gaps might serve as an inlet to moisture if it rains or snows, thereby letting water leak into the car and onto the seats.
Step 6: Apply another layer of tape
Provided you want to be extremely careful, you can apply a second layer of packing tape. Apart from applying it on the first layer, apply the 2nd layer around the edges, i.e., where the first tape ends. This will ensure that the tape will hold.
Final Step: Test the hold’s tape
Tap on the tape and see whether it sags inwards. If it does, that’s a sign that you need to rip-off the initial tape coats and apply new ones. However, if the plastic bag remained taut as you tapped on it with your fingers, your job ends there.
Broken Car Window Covering FAQs
Q: What are the benefits of covering a broken car window?
A: Here are the reasons why you should cover the window as soon as possible:
- Keep yourself and other passengers safe.
- Prevent the ingress of moisture and environmental pollutants.
- Invite less attention to the broken window.
Q: What are the dos and don’ts of covering a broken car window?
A: Following is what you should and shouldn’t do while taping over the window:
- Do wear safety gloves to protect your hands from getting cut by broken glass.
- Do cover the window the moment you notice it’s broken.
- Do vacuum up the car interior before applying the tape.
- Don’t apply tape on the outside. It will make the hole more prominent and invite greater attention to the broken window.
- Don’t apply tape before removing shards of glass that may have fell inside. Those shards can cause as much damage to the car’s seats and upholstery as they can do to your skin.
- Don’t use cardboard to cover the window. On the one hand, cardboard isn’t see-through and blocks visibility. On the other end, if not secured properly, it might pose a serious hazard by flying around. Also, if it rains, it will soak up the moisture and won’t dry easily.
Q: What substances can I use to cover the window?
A: Apart from the plastic trash bag, you can use a crash wrap, simple plastic bag, and even clear duct tape to cover the window. Anything that is see-through and won’t block your visibility can be used.
Q: How much does it cost to fix a broken car window?
A: Depending on the type and model of your car, you might have to pay somewhere between $200 and $500 to fix a broken glass window permanently. However, if the mechanism of your power window was also damaged alongside the glass, you may have to pay more.
Q: Can you drive with a broken car window?
A: Highway vehicle safety laws vary from one state to the other. Having said that, it’s safer if you don’t drive when a side window is broken and covered in a bag.
Provided one or more of your car’s windows are broken, the first thing you should do is to temporarily remove the glass pieces from the seats using a car vacuum before covering the glass using the method given above. You should then schedule appoint to have the entire glass repaired.
Covering the window with plastic or any other material leads to problems in visibility and creates more blind spots. Hence the reason why you should treat the covering as a temporary arrangement. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.