I went through most of my life without needing a windshield replacement. After several years of driving without an accident or vehicular issue, I knew that one day my luck would run out. And it did.
At the end of my shift at work, I drove home and a small stone fell against my windshield from the truck in front of me. Somehow, I escaped unscathed and with a small crack in my windshield but that started making me question whether I could have my windshield repaired or if the entire thing had to be replaced.
It’s frustrating because if your windshield is broken or crushed, it can make driving your car impossible and dangerous. Regardless of the outcome, your first job is to call your local glass repairman, like Glass by Tony’s so they can inspect the damages and determine the next steps. If you’ve cracked or damaged your windshield, here’s everything you need to know about getting it replaced or repaired.
Cracks, chips, and shatters, oh my!
Cracks, chips, and a shattered windshield are all very different kinds of damage. They can be caused by simple accidental rocks flying up from the road or they can be caused by a major accident. A windshield is meant to stop or capture potential objects before they reach you. They’re also designed to break into several small pieces so if the glass does shatter, we’ll talk about that in a minute, you’re not getting injured by large pieces of glass.
There are three main types of windshield damage. Cracks are pretty major damage. It’s when there is a long or short, but distinct line in the glass that indicates the glass is separating. Temperature changes, dirt, and even rain can cause the crack to grow over time. Before you know it you could be seeing a huge crack along with your entire windshield.
Chips are much simpler. It’s a minor ding in the glass. These are far more easily repaired depending on how deep the chip goes. While a chip by itself isn’t dangerous or overly concerning, if you let them linger, like I did when I got a small chip, it can turn into a huge crack which is much harder to repair.
The worst windshield damage is probably a shattered one. This is usually a combination of the two. It’s a serious injury that requires complete replacement. When a windshield is shattered, there’s no real way for it to be repaired successfully.
Never drive on a damaged windshield
No matter how small the crack is or how tiny the chip looks, don’t hold off on getting it looked at by a professional. Constant driving can have a domino effect. Small chips turn into cracks because of weather fluctuations, rain or snow, and driving over bumps or divots in the road. Then the crack begins to grow because of the same temperature fluctuations, weather concerns, and speed bumps. Soon, the visibility of your windshield is nonexistent and you’re looking at more damage than you started with.
It’s best to be safe and not drive on a broken windshield. For driving safety tips, click here.
Repair vs Replace
This takes me to my next portion of this: Determining whether you need to have a full replacement or repair. There is no easy answer to this because every crack and chip is different and it’s determined by a wide range of factors.
An auto glass specialist will look at the depth, size, and location of the crack as well as the number of them in your windshield. Smaller, shallower cracks and chips can be fixed with ease in most scenarios. However, if you’re looking at a far larger crack or chip, there’s a chance you might need the full replacement.
For a better chance of replacement, go to your local shop as soon as you discover the chip or crack. This way, you won’t risk causing added damage to your windshield that can make the problem worse. You still might ultimately need a replacement but you’ll have a much better chance if you get it looked at earlier.
If you feel comfortable with DIY and cars in general, take a look at this link below.
Can I repair it myself?
The short answer is yes. There are many repair kits out there with the tools to help you get the job done right. However, while these kits have directions and the tools you need to do the job, they’re no replacement for professional help. They’ll be able to tell you without a doubt that your windshield is safe enough to repair. Since you’re probably not trained, you may decide to fix a windshield that needs to be replaced. That’s why it’s so important for you to call someone who knows what they’re doing.
Will my insurance cover it?
Hopefully. It depends on your insurance. Many companies offer replacement and repairs in their policies. The best way to see if your insurance covers this cost is to call them yourself and ask. Every policy is different so it’s best to hear it from the horse’s mouth.