Ultimate Guide to Your Car Windshield: All You Need To Know About Keeping Your Car Windshield in Top Condition

man and woman smiling while driving with a new windshield

Are you looking for windshield service in or around Tucson, AZ? If that’s the case, you probably feel like you’re in over your head. Even if you work hard to keep up with your vehicle’s other repair and maintenance needs, there’s a decent chance you haven’t had to schedule work on your windshield before.

Whether you have a rough idea of the auto glass services you’re looking for or you don’t even know whether you need windshield repair or windshield replacement, we’ve got you covered. Read on for the ultimate guide to keeping your windshield in great shape before, during, and after your next service appointment.

What Does Your Car Windshield Do?

Typically, Tucson drivers don’t give their windshields much thought. After all, you literally look through it on a daily basis. Still, that doesn’t mean your windshield is an unimportant part of your vehicle. This pane of glass is responsible for:

  • Helping you see the road ahead. A good windshield is invisible by design — it should give you a consistently clear view of what’s ahead.
  • Keeping foreign objects out. Your windshield functions as an actual shield by blocking rocks, dust, and other unwanted items you might run into while driving.
  • Protecting you and your passengers. Windshields are responsible for upholding your vehicle’s structural integrity in the event of a crash, significantly reducing the likelihood that your car roof will cave in.

Tips To Protect Your Windshield

Windshields can have a life span of eight to ten years — when Tucson drivers take good care of them. To keep your windshield in excellent condition for the long run, you can:

Replace Your Wipers

Like many other car components, windshield wipers wear out over time. When that happens, they won’t just become less effective at getting rid of rain — they’ll apply unneeded pressure to your windshield. That pressure can contribute to windshield damage, so it’s a good idea to replace your wipers on a regular basis.

Steer Clear of Chemicals

Certain harsh chemicals can discolor your windshield and eat away at its protective coating. To avoid these issues, make sure your auto manufacturer has approved any cleaning products you use on your windshield.

Keep Weather Conditions in Mind

Severe temperature changes can cause glass to expand and contract, and that includes the glass in your windshield. When it goes through this process, your windshield will become weaker. That means it’s a good idea to limit your windshield’s exposure to intense heat by taking precautions such as parking in the shade on hot, sunny days.

Fix Damage ASAP

While these tips can lower your risk of windshield damage, they can’t eliminate your chances of encountering chips or cracks. Since these issues can get worse quickly, make a point of resolving any damage right away.

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Know the Different Types of Windshield Damage

No matter how careful you are on the road, your windshield could develop a chip. But not all chip damage is created equal — and some chips are easier to fix than others. Here are some of the most well-known types of windshield damage:

Bullseye Chips

These chips are named for their shape (a ring surrounding a small dark spot). Bullseye chips are a ubiquitous form of windshield damage, and there’s a strong chance that your auto glass shop of choice will be able to fix them for you.

Partial Bullseye/Half-Moon Chips

A partial bullseye chip will look nearly identical to a “regular” bullseye chip. The biggest difference is that these chips have a half-circle at their center instead of a complete circle. These chips can also be harder to repair than bullseye chips.

Star Cracks

Windshield star cracks begin as full and partial bullseye chips. However, they go on to develop small cracks, starting at the impact point and extending out from there. Ultimately, the length of these cracks will determine whether or not your star crack is fixable.

Combo Chips

Does your windshield have more than one type of damage? If so, you’re dealing with combo chips — a combination of at least two of the windshield damage types discussed above. Based on how large the damaged area is and where it’s located, windshield repair can still be a possibility when you have this form of damage.

chipped car windshieldWhy You Shouldn’t Avoid Windshield Repair

You might not think a small chip or crack in your windshield is something you need to spend much time worrying about. Even so, neglected windshield damage could:

  • Get worse over time. Vibrations while driving, foreign objects, and even changes in temperature can turn a chip into a full-blown crack before you know it.
  • Affect your ability to drive. Do you have a chip or crack on the driver’s side of your windshield? Damage in this area can make it hard to see the road clearly.
  • Make accidents more dangerous. Even seemingly-small windshield damage can take a car accident from bad to worse. A chipped or broken windshield will be less effective at protecting you from frontal ejection and can interfere with airbag deployment in the event of a collision.
  • Cause legal problems. While Arizona doesn’t have a law on the books explicitly prohibiting small-scale windshield damage like windshield chips, you still need to comply with federal auto glass regulations. Keep reading for a closer look at Arizona’s windshield requirements.

Understand Arizona’s Windshield Laws

In Arizona, local law enforcement officials are permitted to use their discretion when drivers appear to have a damaged windshield. To make sure you’re complying with local laws, be sure to do your research ahead of time. In many cases, these laws will simply default to Arizona’s windshield replacement state laws.

Most Arizona passenger vehicles are required to have adequate windshields (with the exception of motorcycles, ATVs, and golf carts bought before June 17, 1998, as well as classic or antique vehicles). Again, the person who will ultimately be responsible for defining what is or isn’t an “adequate windshield” is the officer pulling you over. But if your field of vision is obviously impaired, you’ll almost certainly have to pay a fine as a result.

Of course, Arizona is also covered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s windshield requirements. These regulations state that windshields cannot have:

  • Damaged areas bigger than three-quarters of an inch
  • Multiple intersecting cracks
  • Damage or discoloration in the center area
  • Multiple damaged areas three inches or less away from each other

Know Whether You Need Windshield Repair or Windshield Replacement

Are you dealing with windshield damage for the first time in your life? If so, your first instinct might be to schedule an appointment for windshield replacement, regardless of the level of damage you’re dealing with. But in many cases, skilled mechanics can quickly and safely restore chips and cracks in a windshield.

Some factors that can help you figure out what type of service your windshield needs are:

  • The damage you’re dealing with. Fixing a bullseye chip may be trivial, but that isn’t always the case for more prominent forms of damage like star cracks.
  • The size and depth of the damage. Cracks that are 14 inches long or shorter can usually be fixed with little difficulty, as is the case for chips up to an inch in diameter. Still, you’ll need to ensure this damage hasn’t reached your windshield’s vinyl/inner glass layer.
  • Which part of your windshield has been damaged. Even a tiny amount of windshield damage could force you to get a new windshield if it’s in your direct line of sight while driving.

Based on these factors, you might be able to figure out whether you need a windshield replacement or repair work. But in other situations, it can be much trickier to determine which of these services is right for you — and that means it is crucial to get input from a trustworthy auto glass shop.

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OEM Versus OEE Windshields: Which One Do You Need?

If your windshield has received significant damage, you’ve probably already thought about how much a replacement will cost. And as you might expect, replacement windshields can vary significantly in terms of price. But that doesn’t mean you should opt for the cheapest windshield available — after all, your windshield needs to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

Right now, the two leading windshield varieties on the market are OEM and OEE windshields. While drivers can get excellent products in both of these windshield categories, you’ll want to take some time to consider their advantages and drawbacks:

OEM Windshields

Do you want nothing but the best from your replacement windshield? In that case, you’ll want to purchase an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) windshield. These products are manufactured by companies that can meet your auto manufacturers’ high standards and even include your car brand's name and logo. Still, there’s one other thing you’ll need to think about when considering OEM windshields: their high cost.

OEE Windshields

Even if a windshield isn’t officially approved by your auto manufacturer, it can still be worth your while. These windshields are referred to as original equipment equivalent (OEE) auto glass, and they can vary from the windshield that came with your vehicle in terms of fit, shape, color, and thickness. While OEE products aren’t quite as exceptional as OEM windshields, they’ll still live up to the Department of Transportation’s safety standards, and they can help you save a great deal of money.

So, should you purchase an OEM or OEE windshield? Either one of these options can meet your needs — if you know you’re getting a quality product. But when you choose a reputable auto glass shop for your windshield replacement, you’ll be able to rest easy no matter what type of windshield you opt for.

Another reason why choosing the right shop for windshield service is essential is the workmanship these businesses can deliver. No matter how good your new windshield is, it can’t live up to its full potential if the people installing it don’t know what they’re doing. On the other hand, even a decent windshield can keep you safe on the road when certified auto glass experts have installed it.

Should You Get Professional Windshield Repair or Do It Yourself?

By now, you should have a thorough understanding of the benefits that can come with windshield repair or replacement. Still, you might not think you need to hire an auto glass shop for this work — not when DIY solutions are increasingly popular and claim to help drivers fix their auto glass at a lower cost.

However, do-it-yourself auto glass repair comes with some drawbacks you might have yet to consider. First of all, only some types of windshield damage can be safely repaired, and only a qualified mechanic can say whether or not your damage is fixable. Unsurprisingly, do-it-yourself repair products can’t deliver the level of quality you’d receive from the professionals.

How To Save on Auto Glass Maintenance

Due to the problems associated with DIY auto glass repair products, most Tucson drivers should go the “traditional” route when they experience windshield damage. That doesn’t need to mean paying through the nose for these services, though. Picking the right shop for auto glass repair and replacement work can help you save more money than you might expect.

The key is finding an auto glass shop that offers money-saving opportunities like discounts and financing options to its customers. Plus, the best shops go even further by delivering quotes for their services — that way, you’ll know exactly how much you can expect to pay before work begins on your windshield.

auto glass technician fixing crack in adas windshieldAuto Glass Repair and Replacement: How It Works

Whether you need professional windshield repair or replacement, knowing what to expect from this work in advance is a good idea. Here’s a quick rundown of what will happen during:

The Repair Process

The best auto glass maintenance shops in Tucson rely on the vacuum pressure repair process to fix windshields, allowing them to complete the work in about half an hour. In this process:

  1. Mechanics drill a hole through your windshield’s top layer to remove trapped air where the damage is or scrape out glass particles.
  2. A glass resin injector is attached around the damaged section of the windshield.
  3. The injector creates a seal around the damaged area. Then, it alternates between pressure and vacuum cycles as it fills this area with a curable, transparent resin — restoring the windshield to its original structure and appearance.
  4. Any extra resin is removed, and the remaining resin is cured with an ultraviolet light.
  5. Your windshield will be polished and cleaned, if needed.

The Replacement Process

Replacing a windshield takes slightly longer than repairing one, typically about an hour. If you need windshield replacement, here’s what to expect:

  1. Mechanics will start by removing the seals, fasteners, adhesives, clips, and retainers from your old windshield.
  2. Then, your windshield will be removed with a piece of equipment that attaches suction cups to it.
  3. From there, any debris in the window channel or frame (including broken glass) will be removed, and this space's rust will be sanded and primed.
  4. Primer will be placed on the frame sections where the edges of the new windshield will lie.
  5. New urethane adhesive will be put on the edges of your new windshield.
  6. Your new windshield will be installed using the same equipment the mechanics used to remove the old windshield.
  7. The new windshield will be held in place with clips while curing.

woman driving with new car windshieldWhat To Do After Windshield Replacement

Getting your damaged windshield replaced with a beautiful new pane of auto glass can be a relief — but you’ll need to take some steps to protect your new windshield’s integrity at this time. In the 48 hours after your windshield replacement, be sure to:

Let the New Glass Cure

The urethane adhesive attaching the new windshield to your vehicle won’t cure immediately. Thus, it’s best to give this adhesive a while to cure before driving your car. The exact amount of time you should wait to drive will vary based on the local temperature and humidity. Still, waiting at least an hour before taking even a short trip is best.

Leave the Tape On

During the windshield replacement process, your technician will apply temporary retention tape at the edge of your new windshield. That tape has a surprisingly vital role to play, as it keeps debris and other objects from affecting the urethane adhesive’s drying process. Because of that, you must avoid removing this tape for at least 24 hours.

Leave Your Windows Open

The pressure inside your car is a surprisingly common culprit behind cracks in new windshields — especially when summer heat is a factor. Fortunately, avoiding this issue is easier than you might think. Just keep your side windows open slightly so that the pressure doesn’t build up within your vehicle.

Avoid Covering Your Vehicle

Windshield adhesive is still sticky while it’s curing, meaning that anything coming into contact with it at this time could get stuck. But even if that doesn’t happen, foreign objects could affect the seal between your vehicle’s frame and its new windshield. You can reduce your risk of leaks and cracks by not using a cover or sunshade on your car right after getting a windshield replacement.

Consider the Elements

Direct sunlight, heavy wind, rainfall, and extreme temperatures can all have an impact on your adhesive’s ability to cure properly. For the first few days after you get a new windshield, park in covered, shady spots, and do not drive in heavy rain, if possible.

Not Clean or Treat Your Windshield

While car washes and windshield treatments can be good for your windshield in most circumstances, these types of maintenance are hard on newly-installed auto glass. Because of that, wait at least two days before getting a high-pressure car wash or applying treatments like Rain-X Water Repellent to your new windshield.

Take It Easy

Finally, driving habits that aren’t ordinarily problematic might affect your windshield while its adhesive is still curing. With that in mind, avoid driving on bumpy roads, traveling at high speeds, braking abruptly, or even slamming your car doors for a few days after a windshield replacement.

Don’t Neglect Windshield Calibration

By following the tips listed in the previous section, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your new windshield in good shape for the foreseeable future. But there’s another essential step you’ll want to take after installing new auto glass or repairing your existing windshield: scheduling advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) calibration.

Today’s modern vehicles are packed with ADAS features, which can help keep you safer on the road than ever before. While new ADAS are constantly being introduced, popular systems in this category include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Traffic-jam assist
  • Forward collision warning
  • Parking assistance

Many of these features rely on cameras and other sensors — and your vehicle’s camera views the outside world through your windshield. As a result, any change in your windshield could make it difficult for these sensors to continue doing their essential jobs. Because of that, you’ll need to schedule ADAS calibration whenever your windshield is repaired or replaced, as well as after you:

  • Change your vehicle’s suspension
  • Deal with wheel realignment
  • Disconnect or reconnect your windshield camera
  • Receive a dashboard error message related to ADAS features

Get Service for Auto Glass Tucson Residents Trust

You’ve learned everything from lowering your windshield damage risk to what you can expect during a windshield repair. But there’s still one more thing you’ll need to think about — where to go for windshield replacement and repair work if and when you find yourself in need of them.

When they need services related to auto glass, Tucson’s citizens turn to Max Auto Glass for this work. Our mechanics have Dow and Auto Glass Safety CouncilTM certification, and they’ll use the best components available while fixing or replacing your windshield. If you’re ready to get started, request a quote today!

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The Max Auto Glass Difference

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  • Technicians Certified By The Auto Glass Safety Council™
  • Excellent Customer Service
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