Windshields protect you from weather, bugs and all sorts of debris, so it’s extremely important to keep your windshield in good condition. It is possible to drive with a damaged or even missing windshield, but for obvious reasons we don’t suggest doing this unless it is absolutely necessary. However, we know that replacing a windshield can be expensive, so we’ve listed some signs below that indicate you need to have a new windshield as soon as possible.
What Makes A Windshield Unique?
Windshields aren’t the same as the other windows in a car. The side and back windows are simply made of glass, but because of the importance of windshields, they’re actually made of two layers of glass with a thin layer of vinyl in between. This is done to make them more resilient to debris or in case of traffic collisions. The layer of vinyl bonds the layers of glass together, giving the glass something to ‘stick’ to rather than being knocked loose.
If you do decide to replace your windshield without the aid of experts, then you must purchase the proper material from a car service store. Plain glass is too dangerous and other options can interfere with your vision.
Signs You Need to Replace Your Windshield
While we advise caution and think that it’s better to be safe than sorry, there’s a difference between damage necessitating repair and replacement. We’ll give you a few tips to help you decide which service you’ll need.
By far the most common damage that happens to your windshield comes from minor impacts. You need your windshield replaced if:
A crack is more than three inches long
Most cracks and chips are pretty small at first impact and it’s best to deal with them immediately by getting them repaired by a specialist service. With cracks and chips under two inches long, you could even buy a self-repair kit at some auto service stores to fix them yourself. These small self-repair kits use a similar product to to the epoxy resin specialists use.
However, many people are lulled into waiting because they don’t think it needs fixing right now, it’ll be too expensive and it’s not interfering with driving. Except, of course, a crack or chip in the glass is a weakness, and now even rain and temperature changes have a chance to get into the gap and between the vinyl and the glass itself.
From there it’s just a matter of time before the crack gets larger, and once the crack or chip is more than three inches in length you must get your windshield replaced as soon as possible. Large cracks and chips can impair visibility
This is precisely why it’s illegal in many states to drive with a cracked or chipped windshield. Avoid fines and keep safe.
Large Rock Chips
Most car repair stores are repair rock chips the size of a quarter or smaller; some specialised stores may be able to repair chips and cracks up to twelve inches long, but usually we would tell you to get your windshield replaced.
The main reason for this is that when it comes to chips, repair is only cosmetic. The innate weakness in the glass remains, giving your windshield a major weak point that could crack even if you take a turn too quickly, let alone drive on a rough road!
Damage at the Sides
While you might think damage in an out of the way corner is nothing to worry about, it can be much worse than you think. If the crack or chip reaches the very sides of the windshield it exposes the resin used to glue the windshield in place. Now the rain can get into the seal around the edge of the windshield and make it much more likely to pop out if given enough time.
Damage in Driver’s Line of Sight
Flaws in the glass can distort your perception of the road ahead, no matter how big the damage is. Given that you’re driving a two ton piece of metal at forty to sixty miles an hour, we suggest that you immediately get your windshield replaced. Do not get it repaired as a repaired crack or chip can still cause distortion.
If you look at this person’s windshield can see that the crack is well over three inches, and probably pushing ten or eleven inches. This is well above the safe limit we recommend for damage. Even though it’s ‘just a crack’ the glare in the photo comes from the sun refracting off of the cracked glass.
We don’t need to tell you what sort of horrible incidents could happen if you get struck by glare at the worst moment.
If Your Windshield Looks Strange After Winter
As we’ve mentioned before, temperature change can affect the glass. The effect is even more notable if you travel to cold areas to visit family for Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays. While Arizona doesn’t exactly have cold weather, we all know just how cold the nights can get.
Now imagine if you get up early in the morning and your car is freezing compared to the inside of your home. What do you do? Turn on the heater. Quickly cycling between cold and hot temperatures can help weaken your glass. Given how warm Phoenix tends to be, the winter cold can be easily overlooked because it seldom gets really cold; however, after a while it could cause a problem.
Your windshield is very important to the overall structural integrity of the car, to the point where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has directly commented that the windshield provides a significant amount of crush resistance.
It may be expensive, but in the long run it will be much safer and last for years. Call our service to invest in your car and its safety if you think you need professional help repairing or replacing your windshield.