How Soon Can You Drive After Windshield Replacement?
What's In This Post?
In most cases, the urethane sealant is dry enough to go 2-3 hours after installation. However, safe drive-away times for auto glass service will depend mainly on the following three elements.
- Type of adhesive
- Level of humidity.
- Overall outside temperature.
Factors Affecting Safe Drive-Away Times
Type Of Adhesive Used
Let’s talk about the types of adhesives first. There are two main categories of urethane used to install windshields, and each has a different drying time. Below are the two categories and recommended drying times.
- Standard Urethane Drying Time: The bonding time for standard urethane is about 24-48 hours for a strong seal.
- Fast-Cure Urethane Drying Time: Fast-curing urethane will have a shorter working time and dry an hour after installation. However, most auto glass repair services recommend waiting 2-3 hours before driving the vehicle.
Check with the auto glass technician who serviced your vehicle to determine what type of adhesive they used during the installation process.
Environmental conditions such as high humidity levels during the summer months or low moisture levels during the winter months can affect how an adhesive dries. For example, if the adhesive does not have enough moisture, it may take longer than expected to cure.
The outside temperature can also play a role in determining when you can safely drive away from the repair shop. Cold temperatures slow down the curing process and make it more challenging to work with the adhesive. Warmer temperatures speed up the drying process and allow the glue to set faster.
Air Pressure Caution
Be sure to leave all windows slightly open or cracked at the top for a minimum of six hours after installing new glass to avoid condensation building up on the windshield overnight. Leaving the windows opened slightly will also prevent the cabin from being pressurized when the doors are opened and closed. The air pressure inside the passenger compartment will lift the front windshield off the new urethane when a door is closed, resulting in air pockets and water leaks.
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Other Questions People Asked
- Is it safe to have the car washed after a windshield replacement? You should avoid high-pressure car washes for 72 hours after replacing the front window. This is because high-pressure spray at an automatic car wash can penetrate the molding and urethane, resulting in damage to the waterproof seal between the car frame and windshield if it hasn’t completely dried. However, if you have to wash the car, be careful and apply light pressure. Also, avoid using soaps or cleaners as this can void the warranty on most urethane products which will cost you more money if the glass technician has to reinstall the windshield.
- Is it safe to drive in the rain or snow after a windshield replacement? First, the rubber seal must stay dry until reaching the minimum drive-away times. After that, it’s safe to drive in rain or snow but as mentioned above, avoid a high-pressure car wash for at least 72 hours.
- Do I need to leave the tape on my windshield? Yes, the retention tape should remain on the windshield for a minimum time of 24-48 hours during the drying process.
- Is the safe drive-away time the same as the minimum drive-away time? Of course, they are similar, but safe drive-away time refers to the length of time needed before it’s okay to drive the car while the urethane continues to harden. In comparison, the minimum drive-away time is the amount of time required before driving your vehicle normally.
- Can I use urethane to fix a windshield crack? No, windshield repair requires a particular type of resin designed to restore the structural integrity of a damaged windshield. Check out our auto glass repair page for more details on this process.
The cost of getting a windshield replaced is not cheap, and driving too soon is a safety problem that will result in additional problems and expenses. Below are some key takeaways:
- An auto glass replacement requires a particular adhesive that needs sufficient time to dry after the installation is complete.
- Weather conditions will affect the length of time required for the glue to dry, and driving the vehicle too soon may result in air pockets between the glass and car frame.
- A manual wash is safe, but adequate time is needed for the urethane sealant to cure before taking your car to a high-pressure car wash. Direct water pressure will penetrate the bond if it hasn’t cured completely.
Auto Glass Locator is a mobile auto glass service provider with affiliations across the United States. We provide fast response times and offer quality workmanship on low-price auto glass replacement and chip repair services. Have questions, or are you ready to schedule service? Speak with a friendly customer service representative now.
Shawn LongmoreShawn is the founder of Auto Glass Locator and enjoys providing articles related to automotive parts and services. His mission is to make it easy for everyone to find all the information they need in one spot. Each year he continues to help more people find great deals on auto glass and other automotive services.
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