How to Repair Sand Damage on a Windshield

by Joel Barnard

Fine scratches on the surface of your windshield are indicative of sand damage. As well as looking unattractive, these scratches might cause potentially dangerous visibility problems. Hence it is imperative to repair any sand damage immediately. This can be done using a relatively quick and easy process without removing the windshield.

Step 1

Clean the windscreen thoroughly both inside and out. Use a good-quality glass cleaner and lint-free paper towel or old newspaper, recommends the magazine Popular Mechanics. This removes dirt and other debris as well as affords you a good view of the damage.

Step 2

Attach a buffing-wheel to a variable speed drill. Clean your buffing wheel thoroughly as any debris on the wheel might cause more damage to the windshield.

Step 3

Apply a glass-polishing compound to the buffing wheel according to the manufacturers instructions.

Step 4

Set the drill to approximately 1500 RPM, and turn it on. Hold the drill firmly in both hands, and place the buffing wheel against the windscreen.

Move the drill in a circular motion over the windscreen, using a uniform, firm pressure. This will polish and buff the windscreen, removing any evidence of the sand damage and restoring good visibility. Alternatively, use a clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel and apply the glass-polishing compound by hand if you do not have a buffing-wheel and variable speed drill.


  • Use a windscreen repair kit to fix deeper chips or cracks not consistent with standard sand damage. This involves injecting a resin that has almost identical optical properties to a windshield into the crack or chip.
  • Replace your windshield if sand damage is too extensive or deep to repair.


  • Any delay in repairing sand damage increases the possibility of the damaged areas attracting dirt and moisture, which in turn makes cleaning and repair more difficult. In addition, sustained contact with the damaged windshield might damage your windshield wipers.

Items you will need

  • Lint-free cloth or paper towels
  • Glass cleaner
  • Glass-polishing compound
  • Buffing wheel
  • Variable-speed drill
  • Windshield repair kit

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