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How to Cover a Broken Car Window

A wild windstorm kicks up in the night and you are relieved to see your car parked outside is completely unscathed … save for the tree branch jutting out of the rear window! After clearing the leaves and debris from the backseat, there’s a broken window to deal with.

What is the best way to cover a broken car window until you can get it fixed? Below, the professionals at Glass Doctor® offer some insight on how to temporarily cover a broken car window.

How to Cover a Broken Car Window

A busted car window leaves you car’s interior exposed to weather and subjects your personal items inside to theft, dictating that a fix be made in short order.

Here’s a quick overview for how to handle different broken windows on a vehicle.

Covering a car window is a multiple-step process. But it always begins by preparing the space for the temporary cover.

  1. Prepare the Space: Gather the following materials to begin properly and safely:
    • Masking tape
    • Heavy work gloves
    • Microfiber cloth
    • Shop vac or vacuum cleaner
    • A high-density plastic trash bag
    • Hammer
  2. Remove Damaged Glass
    Put on the work gloves and remove and dispose of the larger pieces of broken glass from inside the vehicle and the window frame. Use the hammer to dislodge any difficult-to-remove pieces.
  3. Vacuum
    Next, take the vacuum to suck out any glass debris from inside the vehicle and around the window frame. Be thorough, taking care to go over the carpets, seats and headrests.
  4. Clean
    Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the frame of the window to remove any dirt and dust from the outside and inside the vehicle. This will help the tape better adhere to the car window.
  5. Finally, place a two-inch-wide strip of masking tape around the entire window frame.
    This will protect the vehicle paint. Note, other materials like duct tape may damage the paint and/or leave adhesive residue.

Best Way to Cover a Broken Car Window

 Now that the debris has been removed and the area has been prepped, the best way to cover the opening depends on the location of the damage:

  • Passenger and Driver Windows

For driver and passenger windows, creating a lattice of clear tape is an easy, clear and cost-effective temporary repair. This covering is also relatively weather-resistant and offers visibility while driving:

  1. Beginning from the inside of the vehicle, lay strips of clear packaging tape vertically from one end of the window to the other. Be sure to have the strips overlap slightly to prevent gaps and create better coverage. Once the entire window opening is covered with vertical strips, lay horizontal strips over top of the vertical ones, working from the top to the bottom of the window. This will create a stronger covering.
  2. After this is completed, duplicate the same procedure on the outside of the window.
  • Windshields and Rear Windows

For a larger section of damaged glass such as a rear window, purchasing a roll of crash wrap from your local hardware or automotive store is the best way to go.

  1. Repeat the same cleaning and preparations steps as you would with a passenger or driver window, removing glass debris and cleaning the area. However, you can forgo applying the protective masking tape layer.
  2. Unroll the plastic covering to the appropriate length and then cut it from the roll. Use scissors or a utility knife to cut to width and then simply press the plastic to the window frame to stick and seal.

This type of application is more practical for a rear window if you plan to operate the vehicle. If the windshield has been damaged, the vehicle should likely not be operated until the windshield can be permanently replaced.

How to Temporarily Cover a Broken Car Window

If the situation calls for an immediate covering, a heavy-duty trash bag can be used in a pinch. This is most applicable for smaller windows such as a damaged rear passenger or driver-side window. To cover a broken window with a trash bag:

  1. Repeat the clean and prep work previously described to get the window ready.
  2. Next, stretch a heavy-duty trash bag on the inside of the window opening and tape along the frame with packing tape. You may need an assistant to hold the trash bag taut while you tape it.
  3. Finally, repeat the same step on the outside of the vehicle with an additional trash bag to seal the exposed window opening.

This is intended only as an immediate covering until a more proper covering can be applied or the window replaced. The vehicle should not be driven in the meantime, as the trash bag will obstruct vision.

While none of these options are meant to be permanent fixes, they will help protect the interior of your vehicle until a professional repair can be made. Transparent temporary repairs on the rear and side windows may allow for some limited driving, but operation should be avoided with windshield damage or trash bag coverings.

Let Glass Doctor Replace Your Broken Car Window Panes!

A broken window on your vehicle can be a frustrating inconvenience. Call Glass Doctor now at (833) 974-0209 or request an appointment online. Take advantage of our mobile services for car window repair to get your car window fixed without having to drive it anywhere!

Is your car not the only thing that was damaged from some wild weather? Rainbow International offers board-up and tarp-over services to protect your home and property impacted by a hurricane, tornado or other severe storm. Like Glass Doctor, Rainbow International is a member of the Neighborly® family of home service brands.