Most drivers have had to deal with a chipped or cracked windshield at some point. This problem is caused by a range of various reasons, from pea gravel falling off a construction truck right onto the windshield to a piece of debris kicked up by a passing car. Still, no matter what caused the damage, you’re the one who has to deal with the consequences and you have to do it quickly.
It’s vital that you repair or have your damaged windshield repaired as soon as possible, since you want to drive a safe and reliable vehicle and you can’t do it unless your windshield is in good condition. So, what is it that you can do when it comes to fixing the problem?
What options are available?
You basically have only two options: to repair or replace your windshield. In case of a smaller crack or chip, you can have it repaired by an expert and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. However, if the chip is in your line of sight, or there are several cracks or chips on the glass, you should probably opt for replacement. The windshield is a vital structural part of the vehicle and you don’t want to drive a car that has a problem with one of its crucial parts, do you?
How to recognize a chip and a crack?
A chip is damage that clearly marks the point of impact by debris. It can be in the shape of a star break (cracks forming outward from the centre), bulls-eye (i.e. circular), partial bulls-eye (i.e. crescent shape) or crack chip (small crack, less than an inch.
On the other hand, cracks are distinct lines that can vary in length, from under an inch to the width of your windshield. Still, don’t panic, since sometimes even the longer cracks can be repaired instead of replaced.
Since windshields are made of three layers, with a layer of resin or polymer sandwiched between two layers of glass, it is possible to inject a special resin into the chipped area. Also, many auto parts stores offer various DIY repair kits, but you really need to know what you need to do and you must have the right tools for the job. So, deal only with the chips that are not in your line of sight, but located in the corners of the windshield. Even if you manage to prevent the damage from getting worse, you’ve done a lot, because it will be easier and cheaper for an expert to fix the problem.
The repair technology has come a long way over the years and something that couldn’t be repaired before is now repairable, which means you need to consult an expert on the matter to estimate the damage. Usually, chips smaller than a quarter and cracks to three inches should be repaired, but that too depends on the location of the damage and the shop’s capabilities.
Cracks usually require a hole to be drilled at the ends of the crack before any repair work is done. No matter how simple this may sound to you, it’s always better to leave it to professionals who are experts in auto glass replacement to take care of it. When it comes to depth, if the damage is through both layers of glass, no repair is possible and you have to have the windshield replaced. In terms of the location, if the damage goes all the way to the outer edge of the glass, the structural integrity of the windshield and, consequently, the car is compromised. Also, if the damage is within your line of sight (i.e. the glass covered by the driver’s windshield wiper), don’t wait any longer, but head towards the nearest expert. Needless to say, the deeper and longer the crack, the more likely you’ll be to have to replace it.
There is nothing more important than the safety of all passengers in a vehicle, which is why you mustn’t neglect any damage to the windshield. Studies have shown that the windshield provides almost one half of the structural integrity of the cabin in a front-end collision. So, do you want to gamble with your life and the lives of others by driving a car with its structural integrity compromised?
Dealing with such problems is a regular occurrence, though it’s still a nuisance. Still, in order to have a safe and reliable car, you have to either repair or replace your windshield, but only in consultations with a professional, who is the only person capable of giving the correct evaluation of the damage.