Your windshield is one of the most important parts of your car. Keeping it in good condition is critical to your safety on the road. If you try driving with a damaged windshield, or no windshield, you’re putting yourself in a needlessly risky situation. Safety is the top priority, but the cost is also something to consider. Windshield replacements are expensive – you should make sure you understand when and where to replace car windshield.

What’s So Important About My Windshield?

The windshield plays a unique role, different from the other windows on your vehicle. It faces forward and is much more likely to receive damage. A windshield failure is also much more dangerous than when a side or rear window breaks. Windshields are made from a double layer of laminated glass. This means that there are two separate glass panes with a vinyl layer between them. This makes the windshield strong and resilient. It is also why you’ll see a completely broken windshield stay together as one piece, instead of flying off as hundreds of shards. Windshields are precision parts made from specialized materials, here are a few vital signs to look out for when determining if you need a car windshield replacement.

A Crack That’s More Than Three Inches Long

If your vehicle has a small crack in its windshield, you should have it taken care of today. A reliable auto glass repair shop can likely repair a crack under three inches in length. This could save you a lot of money over having to get a replacement, and the crack will only get worse over time. You should avoid trying to repair something like this yourself and leave it to the professionals. If the crack in your windshield is already three inches or longer, you’ll likely need to have your windshield replaced. Just as with repairs, an auto glass shop is where to replace car windshield.

A long crack can reduce the strength of your windshield. This might make it hard to see out of, but it also reduces the overall structural integrity of your car. The windshield is a structural component that bears a load during most collisions. This is especially true in the case of rollovers, where the windshield is holding up a large portion of the vehicle’s weight. A large crack could also damage the vinyl layer between the two panes of the windshield. This reduces the adhesion of the layer, meaning shards could come unattached and go flying during a collision. Driving with a cracked windshield simply isn’t safe. If you have a cracked windshield, find a shop in your local area where to replace car windshield.

Certain Types and Sizes of Chips

Chips are the most common type of windshield damage and can vary widely in their seriousness. Regardless of how unimportant you think a chip is, it would be best if you had an expert take a look. Chips don’t get better over time – there’s no reason to ignore the problem.

A bullseye is a type of chip that results in a cone of the outer layer that has become unattached to the surrounding glass but holds to the vinyl layer. A bullseye that’s more than one inch across could require a replacement.

You could also have a half-moon, similar to a bullseye, but not a complete circle.

A star break is a chip with small cracks radiating from its center. If the star is more than three inches across, it might require a replacement.

A surface pit is a chip that doesn’t reach the vinyl layer, only affecting the top pane of the window. In most cases, these can be repaired. You could try to fix it yourself, but an auto glass shop is usually where to replace car windshield.

Any Damage That’s Too Close to the Edge

A crack or chip near the edge of your windshield is usually more serious than one close to the center. Damage within three inches of the edge often requires a replacement. Trying to repair this type of damage can make your windshield weaker. The edges are the most important structural areas of the windshield, and the irregular composition from repairs can cause issues if you’re in a collision. It can also affect how your windshield is held in place. A windshield is cut precisely to fit into the trim properly. Damage near the edges can cause your windshield not to sit properly anymore. This will cause bumping and rattling that will only cause further damage. A loose windshield also has a higher chance of failing during an accident.

Damage That Blocks Your Line of Sight

A crack or chip of any size becomes a much bigger problem when it’s directly in your line of sight. You need to keep your eyes peeled while driving, even a small impairment in your line of sight could have dire consequences. Even when a crack or chip could feasibly be repaired, the repair itself will still distort your field of view. While structurally sound, the repair would reduce your ability to watch the road. Ignoring this damage isn’t the right call either. Cracks and chips alter the way light refracts through your windshield and can cause significant glare. These factors lead to the damage creating more problems than their size would lead you to believe.

Now I Know When To, But Where to Replace Car Windshield?

If your vehicle fits into any of these categories, you know it’s time to replace the windshield. If you’re looking for a truck windshield replacement or RV windshield replacement, it’s a pretty obvious call that you should take it to an auto glass shop. Many people with cars think they could save some money doing it themselves instead. This isn’t a very good call. A trusted auto glass shop is where to replace car windshield. They have the experience and tools to do the job right. When a windshield is installed, it requires a precise amount of pressure. Not enough pressure and your windshield will not bond to the adhesive, leading to bumping and rattling. Too much pressure, and you break your new windshield, immediately ending any dreams of saving money on the replacement. A reputable auto glass repair shop will also offer warranties and can help you work with insurance.