You see through your car’s windshield every day, but when is the last time you really looked at it instead of through it? It is the car’s strongest window, made from two layers of glass fused with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between. It has to be as strong as possible since it performs a vital job by protecting you and other passengers from flying debris and wind, as well as from rollovers during a crash.
That rock that was kicked up from the road yesterday when you were driving hit the windshield and not you, right? Even a small object like that can become a deadly missile, and if the car should flip, the windshield is designed to maintain the integrity of the car’s frame to prevent passengers from being crushed.
Here is some basic information about a vehicle’s windshield and when to consider replacing it.
Why Replacement and Not Repair?
There are times when a windshield repair will keep the windshield—and you—safe. If the glass has a small chip in it and there aren’t any cracks spreading out from it, you can get it repaired as long as it’s not right in your field of vision. A single crack that is shorter than about 3 inches or so can sometimes be repaired. In either instance, though, have it repaired by a professional. You want the work to last as long as possible before you do need to replace the entire windshield.
There are situations, though, that indicate the need to replace the windshield rather than repair it. Here are some of the warning signs that indicate a need for attention.
Chips, Cracks, or Scratches
The keys here are visibility and strength. Can you see through the windshield perfectly? It’s not enough to see almost perfectly, even if a chip, crack, or scratch is small. And if you have multiple areas of imperfection in any part of auto glass, no matter the size of those areas, take your car to an auto glass replacement specialist like Max Auto Glass as soon as possible.
You may see only small areas of damage, but those small areas reduce the integrity of the glass and further damage can happen quickly. Water gets into the chip via surface tension on the glass and can ruin the layer underneath. The glass then fogs inside. Water can also freeze in a chip, leading to expansion and more cracking. None of this can be repaired; the windshield needs to be replaced.
If you leave cracks in the windshield, another accident can lead to a shattered windshield or even a detached windshield. Keep in mind that the windshield protects passengers from injury or death in case of a rollover. Airbags often fail to inflate if the windshield is damaged, which means anyone riding in the vehicle can get thrown from the car through the front windshield space.
It’s easy to put this task off, but it’s dangerous to wait. A crash can happen in an instant, sometimes leading to injury or death.
Pitting is a result of damage over time. Sand, dust, and various other kinds of debris cause small scratches and chipping that eventually turn into patches of worn glass. There is an added danger once those patches happen: They catch the light in unexpected ways, often causing “blind spots” in your area of vision.
Pitting over time is partly the result of road debris being kicked up onto your windshield or falling out of other vehicles. One way to keep this damage to a minimum is to keep a good distance behind other vehicles on the road, especially trucks. Don’t tailgate!
Plastic known as polyvinyl butyral is applied to glass used for vehicles. This material causes windshields to break into small pieces that are less dangerous to passengers. If it is damaged by cracks, the plastic separates from the glass and a white haze is seen around the edges of the windshield. Visibility is decreased, an obvious danger to everyone. And if the glass does break later, it can shatter into large chunks that can do major damage to anyone in the car.
If your state requires a vehicle inspection, check the requirements for windshields and then match those to your own windshield’s condition. Will it pass?
Don’t assume it will. Make an appointment at Max Auto Glass for a quick inspection, even if you think the chips and pits you have are minor. Let the glass specialists guide your decisions before you head off to the inspection station. A failed inspection simply means time and money lost.
Faulty Repair Work
First of all, remember that repair work is temporary. A repair “fix” will eventually need attention anyway, so take that into consideration when deciding between repair vs replacement. This becomes more evident if you live in harsh climates where windshields take even more abuse than in temperate climates.
Also, if you had a DIY repair on the windshield, you may find it was done poorly or improperly. It sounds like a simple job, and there are DIY kits available; however, the value of experience with both repairs and replacement can’t be minimized. It’s tempting to try to save money in this way, but any repair should be done by professionals with the proper experience and tools. Saving money on a faulty repair is not saving at all.
Replacing Your Windshield at Max Auto Glass
It would be tragic to put off getting a cracked windshield replaced only to have a deadly crash occur. Drivers tend to take their window glass for granted and then put off repairs or replacement thinking there will be time “later.”
When your vehicle needs its windshield replaced, do it now! The damage will only get worse over time and you are endangering everyone in your car. If you aren’t sure about repair vs replacement, we can advise you based on years of experience. Contact us today! Max Auto Glass.