The windshield of your car or truck serves an important job by protecting you from debris on the road and helping to support the roof of the vehicle. Because of this, it is important to take action as soon as you notice a chip or crack in the windshield so it does not have time to get worse. If you are unsure whether your windshield can be repaired or if it needs a full replacement, here are three questions you should answer to help you make the right choice.
Where is the Damage Located on the Windshield?
Not all windshield cracks are equal, as certain parts of your windshield are more vulnerable than others. The location of the crack or chip in your windshield will help determine how much the integrity of the windshield has been reduced. If there is a crack or chip at the edge of the windshield, it can weaken both the windshield and the bonding of the windshield to the frame of your vehicle at the same time. It is almost always necessary to replace the windshield if there are significant edge cracks that have damaged the bonding.
Cracks in the middle of the windshield can often be repaired if they are not so deep they damage the vinyl binding of the windshield. Between the two layers of glass in your windshield, there is a layer of vinyl resin that holds the glass together and helps prevent shattering. Auto glass repair professionals can fix chips and cracks that haven't damaged the resin by injecting additional resin into the damaged area, allowing it to cure, and polishing it. Even if a crack isn't too deep, having it repaired is urgent if it impedes your line of sight in the center of the windshield.
What Type of Cracks Does the Windshield Have?
Depending on what type of object damaged your windshield, there are several different crack patterns that could be left behind. Circular patterns are one of the most common, occurring when a round or nearly round object impacts the windshield and leaves bull's eye cracks. These types of cracks are relatively stable compared to others, and are what the vinyl resin inside your windshield is designed to protect you from.
Puncture-point cracks are another common pattern, and they are notorious for being able to spread very quickly. These cracks occur from very small debris hitting the windshield and leave a small dent with straight cracks extending outward in all directions. Puncture-point cracks are one of the most likely types of cracks to have damaged the resin inside the windshield, and they can easily obscure your view by growing in size as your windshield vibrates while you drive. You should consider replacing your windshield if it has a large puncture-point crack.
How Big is the Damaged Area?
The sooner you take your car into the shop for windshield repairs, the more likely it is the windshield can be repaired instead of replaced. All windshield cracks grow over time, and the general rule of thumb is the chances of repair are slim if the crack is larger than a dollar bill. However, it is still a good idea to have a technician appraise the windshield for repairs before you have it replaced, as this is determined on a case-by-case basis. You may even be able to repair the windshield yourself using a DIY windshield repair kit.
Whether you have your windshield repaired or replaced, it is important to act quickly after your windshield is damaged so you and your passengers are safe. Keep these questions in mind so you can determine what you need to do the next time your windshield is damaged.
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