Home / How To / How to Cover a Broken Car Window? | 4 Ways Ultimate Guide

How to Cover a Broken Car Window? | 4 Ways Ultimate Guide


It is unusual for a side window to be broken. Windows can be broken from vandalism or from someone attempting to break into your car. It is much more common for side power windows to stop working.

The window will not respond and stays open regardless of what the driver attempts. Temporary fixes will keep the rain or snow out of your car, however, arrange for the windows of your car to be repaired as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn how to cover a broken car window.

How do you cover a broken side window?

Broken side windows can be temporarily covered. Many drivers will use plastic garbage bags and tape to keep out the elements until they can arrange to have the window repaired.

Broken glass should be removed from the window and also inside the car door. If the window is still intact, try to raise the window manually and use duct tape to hold it in the closed position. Covering windows with plastic material over the window opening obstructs the driver’s view and poses a safety hazard.

The driver may also be stopped if attempts are made to drive the car for this reason. Using clear plastic to cover the window provides some visibility for drivers. This is a quick fix solution only.


Materials needed to cover a broken side window Include:

  1. Soap, water, and clothes to remove dirt and grime from around the window
  2. Duct tape
  3. Clear plastic
  4. Gloves to protect your hands
  5. Shop vacuum to remove small pieces of glass
  6. Scissors to cut the plastic and tape

How to prep the broken window?

There could be dirt and grime on the window frame. Wash the affected area and allow it to dry before using the duct tape. Wipe down the window to remove any moisture and dirt remaining.

If the window is broken, remove all of the broken glass using your hands for the larger pieces. Use a shop vac to vacuum up all of the smaller car glass pieces.

What can I use to create a temporary window?

Clear heavy gauge plastic or even Plexiglas can be used for temporarily covering a window. Many people will use opaque plastic garbage bags. However, this obstructs the driver’s view and creates a serious hazard while driving. Clear plastic allows for a reduced amount of vision compared to a clear glass window.

Plastic wrap

Placing plastic wrap over the outside of the window as well as the inside can reduce the exposure from rain and dust. In very cold conditions or very hot conditions, the plastic wrap will help retain hot air or cool air as needed. Using clear plastic also improves the view of the driver while driving.

Trash bag

Opaque trash bags are often used by many drivers. While readily available, these bags are not recommended, since trash bags obstruct the view. Trash bags may not withstand highway speeds. Drivers may even be stopped by the police due to unsafe driving conditions.

Masking tape

Masking tape is readily available in most homes and can be used on the inside of the car to hold plastic in place. Masking tape does not have the same holding strength as duct tape.

Duct tape should be considered for use in holding plastic materials in place, especially if the car will be driven at highway speeds. Duct tape can be used to hold shattered glass in place until it can be replaced. You may need several strips of tape to hold it in place. Packing tape is also sometimes used.

Big tape

The big tape is another product that is becoming more popular for dealing with broken auto windows. It does not leave any residue, unlike duct tape or masking tape.

With 18 inch rolls, it is large enough to cover most car side windows and can withstand 70 miles per hour when properly installed. Most important, it is clear allowing driver visibility for better safety conditions.

Can you cover your car window with just tape?

A car window that is cracked or shattered, but not falling apart, could be held together with tape. The tape will prevent the glass from falling out of the window. However, it is not safe to drive with your view through that window restricted.

It is also can be quite fragile and could fall apart while driving at highway speeds. Remember to cover the outside as well as the inside windows. This approach is not recommended for windshield repair.

How much does it cost to fix a broken car window?

The cost of replacing an auto side window varies a great deal depending on the type and model of the car. However, prices can range from $200 to more than $500. Cars with power windows where the mechanism was damaged and needs to be replaced may cost more. Depending on the state, there could be additional taxes and fees that are added to the total cost of repair.

Check with your local auto glass repair shop and make a quote request before proceeding. You may want to compare prices and reviews to find the best deal. Cars with window tints may cost more, as well as windows with broken window seals.

Can you drive with a smashed side window?

Rear window broken glassHighway vehicle laws vary from state to state. However, it is just common sense not to drive while one window is broken and covered in plastic. Local police may stop you and levy a ticket for unsafe driving.

Either leave the window open or have it repaired as soon as possible. That blind spot could cause you to have a bad accident. Auto glass safety is very important to drivers and insurance companies. Getting a temporary window cover is not recommend.

Does insurance cover a broken car window?

Comprehensive car insurance usually covers window replacement, rear window replacement and windshield replacement repairs for most situations. Car owners without this insurance coverage are on their own to cover the costs of repair.

In all cases, you can check with your insurance company for coverage and any special repair requirements before proceeding to a repair shop. The auto glass repair shop may also provide a lifetime warranty for the repaired window.

Is it possible to use duct tape to cover the window?

Duct tape can certainly be used to cover broken car window glass. However, as mentioned previously, duct tape will obstruct the drivers view out that window, causing a blind spot and leading to unsafe driving conditions. Duct tape may also leave a residue on your car, which can be difficult to remove.


Drivers should arrange for auto glass replacement as soon as possible to avoid further damage from the elements. Schedule appointments as soon as you can to have your window fixed. Also, covering the window with plastic and duct tape leads to additional blind spots and unsafe driving conditions.

Products such as “Big Tape” can adhere to the frame of the car, withstand 70 miles per hour and leave no residue to clean up. New technology, like the Big Tape company, will simplify the way that you get your window covered in case of an emergency.

If your front windshield is broken or cracked; you might have to call a towing company to deliver your car to a local shop. The latest car models require ADAS recalibration if you get a windshield glass replacement. We recommend you get a windshield replacement immediately for your own security.

Last Updated on: October 6, 2022

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