Cracked Windshield: Repair or Replacement?
Many things can cause windshield cracks, from road pebbles sent flying by other vehicles’ tires and sudden changes in temperature to low-quality auto glass and improper windshield installation.
You can easily get a crack in your windshield, so you need to know what you can do about it. Is auto glass repair possible, or do you have to replace the windshield? This article will guide you through the options.
First of all, it is not an option to ignore a crack in your windshield. You cannot simply say that you do not mind it. Various states have regulations on road safety that penalize driving with cracked windshields.
For instance, in Indiana, you can get fined up to $169 if the ticketing officer determines that the crack in your windshield endangers safe driving. That is especially so if the crack’s location affects visibility from the driver’s point of view. Before that happens, you should determine whether you need auto glass repair or replacement and act on it at once.
What Auto Glass Repair Can Fix
Windshield cracks and chips measuring 40 mm or smaller that do not penetrate the inner layer of the auto glass are repairable but only if there are not more than two of them. Among the cracks that auto glass repair technicians can fix are the bull’s eye, half-moon, cloverleaf, bee’s wing, and star break. Their names describe their appearance.
The combination crack is like a bull’s eye and a star break combined. It can be fixed only by a highly skilled technician.
It is essential to have even the most minor crack or chip repaired immediately before it worsens and requires a windshield replacement.
Auto Glass Repair Procedure
The most common auto glass repair procedure used by experts is the injection of resin to fill gaps in the chip or crack. The resin is then heated to expand, sealing the damage as it hardens. The hardened resin also reinforces the area.
Auto glass repair requires highly specialized skills; hence, you must not use DIY kits. The only time you can benefit from a windshield patch that comes in a DIY kit is to use it as a temporary means of holding the glass together and preventing further damage as you take the car to the shop or while waiting for a technician to come to you.
Types of Damage That Need Auto Glass Replacement
You will need a windshield replacement if the crack or cracks compromise the integrity of the auto glass or the driver’s line of sight. A windshield with compromised integrity can break even after repair and cause injury to the driver and passengers. Any interference in the driver’s line of sight can result in road accidents.
The types of damage that require windshield replacement include:
- a crack or chip with a diameter exceeding 40 mm
- more than two cracks or chips, even if they are smaller than 40 mm each
- a complex crack or chip, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip smaller that penetrates the second layer of the glass, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip that reaches the edge of the windshield, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip containing debris, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip on the inside of the windshield, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip located over the rain sensor or the internal radio antenna, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
- a crack or chip in the driver’s line of sight, even if it is smaller than 40 mm
Even for a minor crack or chip, any repair leaves discoloration on the glass, affecting visibility. That is why technicians do not do auto glass repair on small cracks or chips in the driver’s line of sight.
Also, if the auto glass is not laminated, windshield replacement is necessary, even for a minor crack or chip.
Ask an Expert
A reliable auto glass repair and replacement service will advise you on the best solution for your windshield. An experienced technician will repair what is repairable and recommend replacement only when necessary.