You’re casually driving down the road one day behind a gravel truck, and… thwack! A good-sized rock smacks your windshield, instantly causing an ugly crack. Outside of car accidents, flying rocks and metal debris are the main culprits when it comes to windshield cracks. What should you do? If you choose to ignore the windshield crack, oftentimes seasonal temperature changes will make it worse. Moisture and dirt invading the cracked glass can also cause it to spread. Windshield cracks become dangerous once they’re large enough to interfere with your field-of-vision, and in many states, you can be ticketed if a cop deems your cracked windshield to be unsafe. Additionally, there are several hidden reasons why driving around with a cracked windshield simply isn’t wise.
CRACKED WINDSHIELD DANGERS
In addition to impeding your ability to see the road, a cracked windshield carries these unseen dangers; some of which are potentially life-threatening:
Greater likelihood of rollover accident injury. Cracked glass becomes weakened structurally, and during a rollover accident, your vehicle’s roof is more likely to collapse if the windshield doesn’t hold up to the weight as it was intended to.
Higher front-end collision danger risk. Intact windshields are designed to transfer the force of a frontal collision down into the chassis, which lessens the impact you and your passengers feel. Cracked glass can also shatter more easily during a front-end accident, fly around the passenger compartment, and cause injuries.
Increased risk of a frontal ejection. When you aren’t wearing a seat belt, the impact from a front-end accident can forcibly throw you into the windshield. Uncracked windshield glass is designed to not shatter upon impact, but glass that’s already cracked can give way, allowing an occupant to be thrown through.
Botched airbag deployment. When a collision triggers an airbag, the windshield serves as the backdrop that directs the inflated bag towards the vehicle occupant(s). A cracked windshield is less-likely to hold up to the force, possibly resulting in an ineffective airbag deployment leading to more serious injuries, or even death.
TEMPORARY WINDSHIELD FIXES
Windshields with cracks of any size need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Many auto insurance policies cover glass repairs because insurers understand their safety benefits. And when you’re ready, most glass repair shops offer on-site services for your convenience. But do-it-yourself (DIY) windshield replacements are never wise for several reasons. When you’re in the process of scheduling a professional repair or replacement, there are some temporary measures you can take to help keep the crack from spreading, such as:
Super glue or nail polish. After wiping the area with a clean, dry cloth, apply some super glue or nail polish over the crack to keep out dirt and moisture.
Protect the glass. Park in the shade when it’s hot, like in a covered area such as a garage or carport whenever possible to protect your windshield from water and direct sunlight.
Try a windshield repair kit. If you’re handy and the crack is very small, or it’s only a chip, auto parts stores sell resin-containing glass repair kits you can try. In many cases, DIY repairs don’t hold up like those done by a pro, and the crack later spreads anyway.
SHOULD I REPAIR OR REPLACE THE WINDSHIELD
Chips and cracks in a windshield or vehicle windows are some of the more common repairs that send customers into repair shops. Without proper repair, small scratches, nicks and cracks can easily develop into larger, and ultimately more expensive repairs. Not to mention the safety concerns that arise when a driver’s vision is impaired by a large crack. So, if you notice a crack or chip in the glass of your vehicle, we recommend getting the repair done sooner rather than later to avoid more issues down the road.
In the past, having a chipped or cracked windshield meant that you would certainly need to have it replaced. However, modern-day auto glass repair makes windshields more repairable depending on the size, location and the severity of the damage. When deciding whether to repair or replace your damaged auto glass, it is helpful to understand the differences between repair and replacement. However, it is best to ask your local auto body and glass repair shop for a professional recommendation.
AUTO GLASS REPLACEMENT
Auto glass replacement involves removing and replacing your damaged glass with new glass that has been thoroughly tested for safety. In most cases, replacement is the safest way to ensure the structural integrity of the auto glass. When you replace the glass, you’ll typically have to wait a few hours before driving your car to let the urethane used to bond the glass to cure. An auto glass replacement is usually more expensive than an auto glass repair. Many times, if the damage is in the line of sight of the driver shops will recommend that a full replacement take place. Likewise, if a crack is deep enough to penetrate the clear layer of plastic that prevents windshield glass from shattering.
AUTO GLASS REPAIR
An auto glass repair is a more cost-effective alternative and a quicker solution than auto glass replacement depending on the extent of the damage and size of the chip or crack. A quality auto glass repair will prevent a chip or crack from spreading and help hide the original damage without having to remove the original glass. In fact, many insurance companies may waive the deductible on your coverage, covering the entire cost for an auto glass repair. You’ll need to act quickly to get an auto glass repair before the damage spreads, because if your chip or crack grows larger than a dollar bill, auto glass replacement will become your only option. If done properly, windshield crack repair is a safe and permanent solution to a damaged piece of glass.
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