How to Repair a Rear Window Defroster

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How to Repair a Rear Window Defroster

One of the most helpful factory components of a car, truck, or SUV during the cold months of winter, the rear window defroster keeps the back glass clear with the combination of a heating element and network of transmission wiring. With regular use or extreme temperature swings, this system has the potential to malfunction and need a bit of maintenance and repair to keep it in proper working order. Whether the parts to restore the rear window defroster come from a local automotive shop or online at eBay, owners can do a bit of research into the proper troubleshooting and repair process to ensure they can fix the problem quickly and easily.

Determine the Rear Window Defroster Problem

Before attempting trial and error repairs, owners can carefully examine the defroster screen for obvious breaks, crimps, scratches, or other breaks in connections. In addition, they can check the automobile's fuse panel for a blown fuse. Much like decorative lights, a rear window defroster does not work unless full current reaches all of the circuitry, so a bit of minor troubleshooting saves hours of time and frustration when undertaking this repair.

How to Repair a Rear Window Defroster

After carefully examining both the fuse panel and the rear window defroster grid, determine the proper starting point for the repair. For example, owners should replace a blown fuse first before moving on to the more involved repair of the defroster grid screen.

Rear Window Defroster Repair Materials

Owners should gather materials and tools to repair their rear window defroster before beginning the work to save time.

Material

Purpose

Rear window defroster repair kit

Includes all necessary compounds and stencils

Thermal repair compound

Bridges connections for system repair

Small craft brush

Applies small amount of repair compound

Replacement fuse for auto model

Replaces blown fuses

Fuse removal tool

Removes damaged fuse from the fuse box

Alcohol wipes

Cleans and preps area needing repair

If owners cannot find a rear window defroster repair kit, they can purchase individual components such as the repair compound, craft brush, and alcohol wipes.

How to Change the Fuses

Many times the cause of a non-functioning rear window defroster is a blown fuse. To replace a fuse, locate the vehicle's fuse panel and consult the chart on the cover to determine which fuse belongs to the defroster system. Using the removal tool or a pair of tweezers, carefully remove the fuse and replace it with an identical model before closing the fuse panel cover and testing the system.

How to Repair the Defroster Grid

Owners typically need to repair a damaged defroster grid. After locating the damaged area of the wire network, give the area a swipe with an alcohol pad to ensure no debris remains. Roll the vial of repair compound between the hands to make it more shakable and spreadable. If large chunks of the metal flakes remain on the bottom of the bottle, give it a gentle stir with a toothpick before continuing the shaking motion for two to three more minutes.

Apply the paper stencil to the window to isolate the area or areas needing rejuvenation, and, using the brush that comes with the repair kit or a small craft brush or paintbrush, apply a light coat of repair compound to the damaged grid piece. Wait approximately 30 seconds up to one minute and brush on another coat, taking care to make it even. Repeat the process a third time to ensure complete coverage. After 30 minutes, carefully peel off the stencil and allow the repair to dry for several hours to finish the process.

Finishing Touches

Allow the repair to dry for a full 24 hours, all the way up to 48 hours in damp weather, before attempting to test the system. This curing period ensures a complete repair and reduces instances of overheating and peeling.

How to Buy Rear Window Defroster Parts on eBay

Whether you need a repair kit or just a simple fuse, you can effectively search through the products listed on eBay using concise keywords in the Search bar on any page of the site, trying keywords such as "automotive defroster repair compound" or "fuse for rear window defroster". You can also try eBay Daily Deals for more options.

When the rear window defroster fails to work properly, owners can usually repair it with a few simple tools and knowledge about the repair process. Owners should start by checking the fuse first as this is the easiest part of fix.

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