How To Replace The Windshield On Your Honda Element SUV

All it takes is one little stone getting kicked up in the air while you are driving down the highway and before you know it, you've got a broken windshield. Replacing a broken windshield isn't very difficult. If you are a car owner who likes to make their own repairs, here is how you can replace your broken windshield on your Honda Element SUV by yourself.

Remove Wiper Arms & Molding

You need to remove everything from around the perimeter of the windshield. The first things to remove are the windshield wiper arms. All you need here is a regular ratchet and socket set. Lift the boots up at the bottom of a wiper arm to expose the nut holding the wiper arm to the shaft on the windshield motor. Remove the nut and lift up on the bottom of the wiper arm to remove it. You also want to take off the plastic grill along the bottom edge of the windshield. The grille is clipped into place and you can pull it off once the wiper arms are removed.

You need to remove the side molding along the side edges of the windshield. The side molding is also clipped in. Grab onto the molding and give it a big tug or two. Most other vehicles do not have this side molding, so, if you are working on a different type of car, you may not have any side molding on it to remove. The molding should snap right off. There is also a strip of rubber molding going over the top of the windshield. Grab and edge and pull this molding off of the Honda.  The entire perimeter of the windshield will now be accessible for you to work on.

Remove Windshield

You will need a cold knife to break through the adhesive around the perimeter of the windshield. Dig the blade point under the windshield and pull on it. As you pull, the blade cuts through the adhesive so you can remove the windshield.

Remove Old Adhesive

The old adhesive is typically made out of a thick polyurethane material. You can remove the polyurethane using a sharp wood chisel. Slide the wood chisel under the polyurethane and push the chisel along the perimeter of the windshield opening (called a pinch well) to loosen and remove the material. Clean the pinch well out so there isn't any polyurethane or dirt in it. You want to get down to the painted metal. Look for scratches in the paint in the pinch well caused by the wood chisel. You want to use a regular auto primer paint to cover the scratches to protect the perimeter of the windshield from rust due to the exposed metal.

Install New Windshield

Lay the new windshield out on a clean flat surface. The new windshield will come with a new piece of rubber molding that slips onto the top edge of the windshield. Place the rubber molding on top of the windshield.

You should buy a polyurethane adhesive specially made for the installation of windshields. You should get an adhesive gun to place the adhesive in the pinch well.  The adhesive gun will have the proper opening to set a good bead of adhesive. Set a bead of adhesive all around the opening of the windshield.

Place the windshield into place on the Honda. You should put on a pair of rubber gloves so you don't get any oils from your fingers and hands on the windshield. The oil could negatively affect the ability of the adhesive to stick to the windshield. Place the windshield firmly against the adhesive. Make sure the top of the windshield is placed right up to the edge of the rooftop on the Honda. Many cars have little boots you can rest the bottom of the windshield on so it is properly positioned, but Honda Elements don't have these boots. You should get some collision tape and tape the top of the windshield to the roof of the car to hold it while the adhesive dries.

Once the adhesive dries, replace the molding along the sides and bottom of the windshield. You can now replace the windshield wiper arms to finish the job. 

If you don't feel up to doing this job yourself, contact a windshield replacement professional.