Nine Signs You Need a Windshield Replacement

cracked car windshield

Your windshield does a lot more than just keep you and the interior of your vehicle protected from the elements while you drive. It also plays a critical role in supporting your vehicle’s frame and maintaining its structural integrity, especially helping to prevent it from caving in during a rollover accident.

It’s not uncommon to end up with a chip or crack in your vehicle’s windshield at some point, and many instances of damage can be taken care of with a professional windshield repair. However, if ignored, small chips or cracks can quickly grow in size, past the point of repair and on to a much bigger issue. 

So how bad is too bad when it comes to windshield damage? When should it be replaced to maintain the integrity and safety of the glass? If you’re unsure, here are nine red flags that indicate the need for a windshield replacement:

#1 – Large or Multiple Chips or Cracks

The size and number of chips or cracks in the glass are two of the biggest factors in determining whether a windshield repair is possible. In most cases, a small chip or dent in the windshield can effectively be fixed by a professional auto glass technician. But, if you have a chip in your windshield that is larger than the size of a quarter, or a crack that is longer than a dollar bill, you are going to need a windshield replacement. 

Also, if there are multiple chips or cracks in the glass, especially a cross-section crack, the glass cannot be repaired and still retain its safety and structural integrity. A windshield replacement would be needed in this scenario as well.

#2 – Compromising Location of the Damage

Your windshield is held in place by a seal that runs along its outer edge. If your windshield has any chips or cracks that are within 6” of the edge of the glass or extend to the edge, the windshield should be replaced. This is because the damage could compromise the integrity of the seal, causing a significant safety concern.

Also, if the damage on your windshield is over a rain sensor (part of the Advanced Driver Assistant System in newer vehicles) or an interior satellite or radio antenna, the windshield would need to be replaced to properly restore these functions.

#3 – The Chip or Crack is Deep or Open

Most modern windshields are made of safety glass consisting of two curved sheets of glass with a layer of thin, clear plastic called polyvinyl butyral laminated between them for safety. The windshield is then bonded into the window frame with a urethane adhesive.

If a windshield is chipped or cracked and the damage is not very deep and does not exceed the sizes mentioned above, the windshield can usually be repaired. But, if the damage goes through to the inner layer of plastic (or even to the inner layer of glass), the windshield should be replaced.

A crack in the glass can sometimes start to separate and slightly open. Dirt can then get trapped in the crack, causing it to grow even more. In addition, extreme heat or cold can further enlarge the crack due to expansion and contraction of the glass. If the crack in your windshield has opened, a replacement is likely necessary. 

#4 – The Damage is Impeding Your View

Your ability to drive safely depends heavily on being able to see clearly and make split-second decisions. Damage to your windshield that limits your view can cause mistakes like an overcorrection and lead to an accident. For example, cracks in the windshield, especially spider web-like cracks, can distort your vision in adverse weather conditions, such as a heavy rainstorm. If the damage is past the point of repair, you should have the windshield replaced as soon as possible for your safety, the safety of your passengers, and other drivers on the road.

It’s also important to note that you can be ticketed by the police for windshield damage that is considered a hazard to yourself or other drivers, specifically if it is a visual impairment. A chip or crack may be considered a visual impairment if it is larger than 1.5” in diameter or has a cross-section from another crack.

#5 – The Windshield is Pitting

Daily driving on high-traffic roads or on dirt or gravel roads exposes your windshield to a considerable amount of debris, including small rocks, dust, and gravel kicked up by other vehicles. Over time, this can wear down areas of your windshield and create small craters, known as pitting. Pitting is most noticeable on your windshield at dusk and dawn because it scatters reflected light, making it harder to see out of the glass. Also, during rainstorms, pitted glass doesn’t repel water as well, causing even more trouble in already dangerous road conditions.

Pitting on a windshield cannot be repaired, and the windshield will need to be replaced.

#6 – The Edges of Your Windshield Have a White Haze

As mentioned above, your windshield has an inner layer of thin plastic. This ensures that if the windshield is shattered, it will break into hundreds of small, rounded chunks that stick to the plastic instead of large, jagged pieces that could severely injure passengers. 

If you see a white haze around the edge of your windshield, it means that the inner plastic has started to separate from the glass and would not be able to hold the broken glass together if shattered. This can put you and your passengers at risk if the windshield were to break during an accident. So, if you see this on your glass, you will need a windshield replacement.

#7 – The Windshield is Leaking

Have you noticed condensation or water on the inside of your windshield? This is a definite red flag for a windshield replacement. Sometimes, the adhesive used to secure your windshield to its frame breaks down over time, especially when it is frequently subjected to direct sunlight. This allows water to seep in under the glass and pool inside.

When water gets inside your vehicle, it can cause serious problems, including water damage to your floors and seats, damage to the electrical system, and even a buildup of mold. These can lead to further, costlier problems. If you’ve recently had your windshield replaced and it is still leaking, this is a sign that the windshield was not installed properly.

#8 – The Windshield Has Been Repaired Before

The glass resin used in a professional windshield repair restores the glass to almost 100% in terms of strength and appearance. But, if your windshield becomes damaged in the same spot, it cannot be effectively repaired again. In that scenario, your windshield would need to be replaced to properly maintain its structural integrity and safety.

#9 – You Doubt the Quality of a Previous Replacement or Repair

Not all auto glass shops provide the same high-quality service. Unfortunately, sometimes vehicle owners discover this the hard way. If you’ve had a windshield replacement done recently and it has had time to settle, but you notice leaking, unusual wind noise, or bumps or gaps in the molding, you may find that the shop is not willing to stand by their auto glass replacement work.

You won’t have to worry about that with Max Auto Glass. When we replace your windshield, you’ll enjoy expert installation, crystal clear glass, and a team that proudly stands by their work. You deserve a windshield you can trust to do its job and a level of service that is just as dependable! 

Max Auto Glass – The Experts in Windshield Replacement in Tucson

If you’ve noticed any of these warning signs, don’t delay coming in for a windshield replacement. If your auto glass is damaged, it’s important to address it as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of you and your passengers. Remember, in many cases, your vehicle’s insurance policy will cover the cost of a windshield replacement.

Still not sure whether you need a windshield repair or replacement? Our auto glass professionals are here to help. Contact the expert team here at Max Auto Glass. We will inspect any damage to your windshield, help determine the best solution, and have you back on the road quickly and safely with service you can count on.

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