Cracked Windshield: As a car owner, encountering a cracked windshield is a common issue due to its constant exposure to elements and road debris—the decision to repair or replace your windshield hinges on the damage’s extent. Key considerations for addressing a cracked windshield include the crack’s size and location, the crack’s depth, and the windshield’s overall condition. Small, superficial cracks often qualify for repair, while larger, deeper, or strategically placed cracks may necessitate a full replacement. Prompt action is crucial for safety, ensuring your cracked windshield is appropriately managed.
1. Size of the Crack
If the damage to your windshield is caused by a small pebble impact resulting in a tiny chip or crack, the most straightforward solution is typically to repair the affected area. Windshield repair is a common and effective process for addressing minor damage, and restoring the structural integrity and clarity of the glass. It’s a cost-effective option that can prevent the damage from spreading and the need for a full replacement.
However, not all windshield damage falls into the category of minor chips or cracks. For instance, when faced with a substantial crack that spans several centimeters and is caused by factors like fluctuating temperatures, the preferred course of action is usually to replace the entire windshield. This is because larger cracks, especially those originating from stress-related factors, can compromise the overall strength and safety of the windshield.
It’s important to note that while repair is the go-to solution for small, isolated damage, there are exceptions to the rule. Some highly skilled auto glass specialists possess the expertise to patch long-stress cracks successfully, provided the damage is shallow and hasn’t penetrated through the entire thickness of the glass. These specialists employ advanced techniques and materials to reinforce the damaged area, restoring its structural integrity.
2. Depth of the Damage
A windshield comprises three layers of laminated safety glass (i.e., two layers made of tempered glass sandwiching a thin piece of vinyl). If the damage to the windshield affects only the external layer, then repairs can easily be made. But if the damage harms the vinyl and permeates into the inner layer, you’ll need a windshield replacement.
Please note that replacement is almost always mandatory when the inner glass is damaged regardless of the condition of the vinyl or outer layer of glass.
You can search for any cracks on the inner glass by running your fingers across the inside of the windshield. If you can feel the damage you’re going to need a windshield replacement.
3. Location of the Damage
If your windshield is damaged at the outer edges or the cracks extend to that region, even if the cracks appear to be minor, the repair is usually not advisable. That’s because the windscreen edges act as the base and if the cracks originate from this area they threaten the structural integrity of the entire windshield.
Please note that while it may be tempting to patch any long cracks in this area to save a few bucks doing so may be courting an automotive disaster. Sometimes all it takes is driving on rough terrain for the resulting vibrations coursing through the car to shatter the glass and cause an accident. In some cases, tiny pieces might also dislodge and cause you and your passenger bodily harm.
If you’re worried about a potentially high bill for replacing your windshield, don’t be. Many car insurance policies include windscreen cover. Contact your insurance provider for confirmation.