You’re driving down the highway and suddenly, a construction truck coasts into your lane. Before you can make a turn, pieces of debris fly out from the truck and hit your windshield. You inspect your windshield and find a few small cracks.
This scenario is all too common for drivers who regularly use major highways and congested roads. You’re likely aware that driving around with a cracked windshield isn’t a good idea in the long term. However, when you get a chance to visit an auto glass shop, will you need a full windshield replacement or can it just be repaired? Here are some guidelines to help you determine the answer.
Repair vs. Replacement: Assessing the Crack
Whether a crack in your windshield can be repaired or not depends on three factors:
- Length of the crack
- Depth of the crack
The two most dangerous areas for your windshield to crack are in your line of sight and around the windshield’s edges. If a crack is more than a few inches long on the driver’s side, installing a new windshield is a must.
Also, a cluster of small cracks or a deep crack along the edges of your windshield are typically not fixable. Damage to the perimeter of the windshield puts you at greater risk of total windshield failure in the event of a crash. The rule of thumb: If you have chips larger than a quarter or cracks longer than 3.5 inches, plan to get a new windshield. Take note that even smaller cracks and chips that are extremely deep may not be fixable!
If you have a significant crack in your front or back windshield, getting help from a glass repair company will prevent a small problem from becoming a major issue. If you are unsure about the extent of the damage, an experienced auto glass expert will decide whether or not the crack is repairable. Be aware that professional crack and chip and repair prioritizes safety and sustainability over aesthetics. This means that while your windshield will look better and last longer, tiny imperfections could be left behind.
Keep in mind that the longer you wait to seek a professional opinion, the worse the damage may become. Temperature fluctuations, freezing rain, and hail often occur overnight and make your windshield too flawed to safely operate your vehicle.
Top 5 Reasons Why Windshields Crack
The windshield is typically the first area of your vehicle that must be replaced. If you drive your vehicle five or more days per week on major highways and unpaved roads, your windshield will take more damage. (Don’t forget about the rear windshield. Most drivers overlook it, but this area is also vulnerable to cracks and chips.) Your windshield is most likely to be tarnished by:
1. Road debris (flying rocks and gravel)
Damage from flying gravel, rocks, wood chips, and debris is the most common cause of windshield damage. The front windshield usually takes a heavy beating, but regularly check your rear windshield for imperfections.
2. Weak glass construction
Poor windshield construction is a growing trend. If your windshield looks wavy and uneven, it is most likely defective and more vulnerable to cracks. You should always work with a certified professional under the National Glass Association (NGA) to avoid getting scammed.
3. Improper installation
A properly fitted windshield is less likely to crack or chip, even under the stress of flying debris. If small gaps are left behind after windshield installation, your windshield will quickly deteriorate.
4. Changes in temperature
Frequent use of the defroster or heater in extreme weather can cause small cracks that deepen over the seasons. Your windshield expands and contracts unevenly, causing cracks.
5. Environmental damage (hail, broken tree branches, baseballs)
Living in an unpredictable climate with frequent hail storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes leaves your windshield more vulnerable to damage. The easiest solution is to invest in a car cover and avoid parking under trees. But this does not guarantee your windshield will not be marred. A less common but still possible form of damage is a stray ball colliding with your windshield.
Pros and Cons of DIY Windshield Repair
You can find a DIY windshield repair kit in most home improvement stores for cheap. But just because these kits are affordable doesn’t mean you should fix a busted windshield yourself. Trying to repair your windshield may compromise your vehicle warranty and leave you liable to fix additional damage. In fact, working with an auto glass professional is often the cheaper option!
There are a few reasons to think about consulting an auto glass professional, even if your windshield crack appears to be fixable. Insurance might cover some or all of the costs of the windshield repair or replacement. Defects near your windshield wipers should always be repaired by an expert.
Auto Glass Professionals Save You Time and Money
Advanced Auto Glass has years of experience installing and repairing windshields for clients in and around Fort Worth, Texas. We offer some of the best contractors in the glass business who are passionate about helping members of our community. We’ve earned an A+ ranking from the BBB for our attention to detail, outstanding customer service, and the lifetime warranty that comes with all of our services. Whether you need to fix a crack in your windshield or replace your car windows, we specialize in all areas of glass replacement.
Give us a call today at 817-595-3200 to schedule a consultation. (Se habla español!)