Drivers look at it the entire time they are driving, but many never realize it’s one of the most important safety components of their vehicle. We are talking about a vehicle’s windshield.
The windshield (sometimes called the windscreen) protects the driver and the passengers from the elements, functions as the main visibility feature, and maintains the integrity of the vehicle in the event of an accident. It also allows the airbags to deploy properly.
Windshields are especially prone to damage, and car window repairs are common occurrences. Most drivers will require vehicle window repairs at some time, so basic knowledge is beneficial concerning the degrees of windshield damages, how they are repaired, when repairs aren’t possible, and how to get windows replaced. You need this information before your car is damaged!
This is a guide to everything you need to know about windshield and window repair.
Your Windshield Glass Is Made to Protect You
Windshield glass isn’t the same as your ordinary window glass. It is made of laminated safety glass that is designed to give you and your passengers maximum protection in the event of damage or a crash. Consequently, it is much stronger than other window glass—like the glass in your home, for example.
Laminated glass provides exceptional resistance against all kinds of impact. It is made of two curved sheets of glass with a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) layer between them. These three layers are then bonded together into one uniform piece, and the windshield is bonded securely into the window frame.
The windshield will shatter in the event of extreme impact, but the PVB interlayer will hold the glass layers together. This will prevent the windshield from flying apart or breaking into large, sharp pieces like ordinary glass.
Speedy Windshield Repair is Important
A rock bounces up from the road and hits your windshield while you are driving in traffic. How much of an emergency is this?
The first concern is your safety. If the rock causes a small ding in the windshield, it isn’t dangerous to keep driving. In fact, pulling over would be more dangerous than the ding, but it IS important to have the damage inspected as soon as possible.
An inspection should happen even more quickly if the rock hits the windshield and causes a crack directly in the driver’s line of sight. Get out of traffic as quickly and safely as possible and go to your nearest Max Auto Glass for assistance. Cracks can worsen quickly, so don’t wait.
Any damaged windshield is weakened and provides less protection in the event of a collision. And that rock may have gone through the top layer, allowing moisture to get in between the glass and the middle PVB layer. Then the windshield can fog, or the chip can freeze, causing more damage. Dirt can also get into the chip or crack along with the water, resulting in even less visibility.
Attempting to save money by waiting to have even small pits, dings, or cracks repaired can result in the greater expense of replacing the entire windshield.
Types of Damage to Vehicle Windshields
Different types of chips, cracks, and breaks that occur are often determined by the sizes of the objects and where they strike the windshield.
Some of the most common types of damage are:
Dings or chips: When small objects hit a windshield, they can take a tiny piece out of the glass. These chips will spread over time, cracking outward from their center and spreading over a larger area.
Bull’s-eyes and partial bull’s-eyes: These circular and semi-circular cracks or chips are caused by circular objects hitting the glass.
Pits: Over time, dust or sand particles hit the glass and wear it down; these are referred to as pits.
Edge cracks: These occur three inches from the outer edge, around the perimeter of the windshield. Objects striking this area may cause cracks, which can then turn into longer cracks. Usually, windshields need to be replaced when they suffer edge cracks.
Stress cracks: These cracks are caused when the glass experiences rapid and extreme temperature changes.
If You Have Damage to Your Windshield
As mentioned earlier, most drivers will experience windshield damage at some point. How you respond can make the difference between a fast and inexpensive repair and a total windshield replacement. Here are some tips.
If your windshield has been damaged:
- Get off the road safely and assess the damage. If a rock or other object hits the windshield while you are driving, check the damage as soon as you can get off the road safely. At this point, the main issue is making sure your view isn’t obstructed.
- Don’t attempt a DIY job. The solutions available as DIY fixes are only temporary and only delay the inevitable. Plus, an improperly applied home repair kit can leave you in an unsafe situation while you’re driving.
- Get the windshield repaired as soon as possible. The damage can worsen, further endangering the vehicle’s occupants. Ignoring it can lead to more damage and a higher repair cost.
- Consult with a professional auto glass technician about repairing or replacing the glass. Your regular auto shop isn’t equipped to repair windshields, replace side or rear windows, or make power window repairs. These types of repairs and replacements should be left to specialists in auto glass repair and replacement.
When a Windshield Can Be Repaired
Some types of damage require replacing the whole windshield, but some types of damage can be repaired. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding if your damaged windshield can be repaired.
Impact on Visibility While Driving
Your visibility while driving must not be impaired in any way. It is dangerous when your ability to see clearly is reduced, and it places you and your passengers at risk. Windshield replacement service is usually recommended if any damage is within your line of vision. In some states, it is illegal to drive with a damaged windshield.
Size of the Chip or Crack
This is an important factor in deciding whether to repair or replace a windshield. Here are more specific guidelines:
- The crack is less than the length of a dollar bill.
- The chip is an inch in diameter or less.
- There are no more than two connecting hairline cracks.
Remember, too, that small cracks can quickly get bigger when a windshield gets hot. When there is a small, repairable ding or crack in your windshield, it is advisable that you get it fixed quickly. If you wait, you may end up needing replacement, which will be much more expensive.
Depth of the Chip
The windshield should be replaced when a rock or other piece of debris penetrates through the middle layer of vinyl or the second layer of glass. This is a matter of safety. Remember, the windshield is part of the frame of the vehicle and is designed to protect passengers if the car rolls over.
Location of the Damage
Any damage along the outer edge of the windshield can grow quickly due to the wind hitting the glass. Have it repaired as soon as possible if it is a small crack so the windshield doesn’t end up needing to be replaced.
As stated before, an important factor is visibility for the driver. If visibility is impacted to any significant degree, the glass should be replaced. Safety always comes first.
If you’re not sure if you should repair or replace your windshield, ask our auto glass experts here at Max Auto Glass. They can help you make the best decision to protect your safety.
Weather Conditions Can Affect a Damaged Windshield
As far as your comfort is concerned while riding in a vehicle, a windshield keeps you safe from wind, rain, and flying debris. The windshield also helps regulate the temperature inside the vehicle. If the windshield has a crack in it, the vehicle’s air conditioner and heater have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature for the passengers.
Something else to keep in mind is that extreme cold can make a crack in a window get longer. This weakens the glass even more; enough cold air often comes through the windshield that the defroster is kept from doing its job properly. This further decreases visibility for the driver.
These are things to keep in mind as you consider how to deal with a damaged window in your vehicle.
Methods of Dealing with Windshield Damage
There are three different methods typically used to address damage to a windshield. Consult with a Max Auto Glass specialist if you have additional questions.
Just as it sounds, a windshield patch is a clear adhesive bandage you can put over a chip or ding. The patch is not used by auto glass professionals because the repair doesn’t reach down into the defect. It is a temporary solution any driver can use. Its main advantage is that it keeps the glass from cracking any further.
A windshield patch is smoothed over the affected area and allowed to cure. It then hardens and gives some protection to the affected area, but it does not strengthen the glass. Get to a professional glass specialist ASAP!
Resin is the method used by most auto glass professionals for cracked or chipped windshield repair. It prevents the damage from spreading and also strengthens the surrounding glass. The integrity of the windshield is restored by using this method.
A clear resin is injected into the damaged area, and heat is used to harden the resin. The resin expands as it heats up and fills in any chips or cracks.
There are times when a damaged windshield should not be repaired—primarily due to safety reasons. Windshield replacement is a job for experienced professionals. The glass is large and heavy, and you need specialized tools to complete the job. Windshield professionals can complete the job quickly, and many now offer mobile service so your windshield can be replaced at your home or business.
Importance of ADAS Calibration
ADAS calibration (and recalibration) refers to the “physical alignment, testing, and electronic aiming of sensors that collect data for your vehicle’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).” Various things can cause the sensors to go out of alignment, including windshield replacements. Many vehicles today have windshield-mounted forward ADAS cameras that require calibration after windshields are replaced.
This is another reason for using experienced auto glass specialists. The calibration must meet OEM standards, and the ADAS system must function properly after a window replacement.
Trust Window Repairs to Auto Glass Professionals
A small ding or bullseye in your windshield may not cause much trouble at first. You may be tempted to fix it yourself, but this may only make the damage worse. Inexpensive DIY kits can end up costing you more money in the long run, when the repair fails.
Consult with an auto glass professional when you need to repair a chipped or cracked windshield. You will then have the benefit of the specialized knowledge and experience needed to properly handle windshield damage.
Our Max Auto Glass specialists will be glad to assist as you determine the best action to take. They will check the damage and let you know if a repair is possible or if a replacement is needed. They always meet industry-best standards and follow all safety measures. These are reasons why choosing a professional windshield service is crucial.
How Does Windshield Repair Service Work?
Professional glass repair often takes less than an hour. We use a vacuum pressure repair process at Max Auto Glass that includes:
- Drilling a tiny hole through the top layer of glass to release any air trapped within the damaged area. Tiny glass particles are scraped out of this layer of glass, if necessary.
- Tightly securing the damaged area by using a glass resin injector tool.
- Infusing a curable, clear resin into the damaged area of the outer glass layer by using a tool that seals the area and cycles between pressure and vacuum. This restores the structure and appearance of the glass.
- Removing excess resin from the area after the injector tool is removed.
- Curing and hardening the glass resin with UV light, which changes it from a liquid to a solid.
- Cleaning and polishing the repaired area, which makes it almost invisible and restores the windshield’s integrity.
After A Windshield Repair
Here is what to expect after a windshield repair:
- There will be a slightly scarred repair area. No chip repair can totally restore the glass to its original appearance, so this scarring is normal. In most cases, it won’t be noticeable to anyone else; plus, you won’t have to worry about the crack spreading and weakening the windshield.
- There is no aftercare necessary. The resin cures quickly; in fact, it’s already cured when the area is polished.
You will not need to take any further action to protect the area when a windshield repair has been made.
The Benefits of Windshield Repair
There are several benefits to having your windshield repair done at Max Auto Glass. Here are three important advantages:
- Convenience: A repair usually takes less than an hour, whereas a windshield replacement can take several hours. Plus, there isn’t any aftercare necessary for a windshield repair.
- Affordability: The cost for a windshield repair is less than a windshield replacement and is often covered by your insurance.
- Environmentally friendly: A windshield repair keeps the original windshield on the car longer—a replacement sends the original windshield to a landfill.
The Cost of Windshield Repair
The cost of repairing a windshield depends on a number of factors:
- Size and shape of the damage
- Location of the damage
- Type of vehicle
- Insurance coverage
Many auto insurance companies cover the cost of windshield repairs in full, and often with no deductible. Insurance companies benefit by paying for repairs rather than replacements. Professional auto glass shops, like Max Auto Glass, provide quotes for repair services, upon request, and work directly with insurance carriers to coordinate the claim processes.
CFNA Credit Card
For those who need it to repair auto damage as soon as possible, a dedicated, generous credit line and special financing on purchases of $149 and above is provided through the Max Auto Glass partnership with Credit First National Association (CFNA).
The card offers:
- No annual fee
- Stress-free financing with low monthly payments
- An easy application process
- 6-month promotional financing
- Interest deferred (if paid in full within 6 months)
- 24/7 online account management
- Fast credit decisions
- Immediate purchasing power
The CFNA Credit Card offers an option when your windshield is damaged and needs to be fixed immediately. We are here to help!
Things to Remember About Windshield Repair Insurance
Check with your insurance company as soon as you have any damage to your windshield or any windows in your vehicle. It’s possible that you won’t have any out-of-pocket expense to repair the glass. It is helpful to have this information before going to the auto glass shop.
Here are some things to know about windshield repair/replacement and insurance:
- Your insurance will pay for your windshield repair if you have comprehensive coverage, collision insurance, or full glass repair coverage.
- The other driver’s liability insurance will often cover the cost of your windshield repair or replacement if you’re involved in an accident that is not your fault.
- If the windshield only needs to be repaired, as opposed to being replaced, most insurance companies will waive your comprehensive deductible. Be sure to ask!
- Your insurance premium will not be affected by filing an auto glass coverage claim with your provider.
- If the damage to your windshield is significant or poses a safety risk, it will need to be completely replaced. This may still be fully covered under your insurance policy.
How to Choose a Quality Auto Glass Repair Shop
It’s important to choose carefully when looking for an auto glass shop. Your goal is high-quality windshield repair service from a company you can trust. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as:
- Is the shop, and are its technicians, properly certified? A shop that follows strict quality, training, and service guidelines will usually be both AGSC-Certified (Auto Glass Safety Council™) and Dow-Certified.
- Does the shop have liability and workers’ comp insurance? This coverage protects you from anything that may happen while your windshield is being serviced.
- Is the work warrantied? A high-quality shop will stand behind their work, so ask about their warranty coverage. This will assure you that you have found an auto glass shop that can be trusted.
- Are high-quality resin and urethane adhesives used? Glass pros know that inferior supplies won’t perform well. This could endanger you and the passengers in your vehicle.
Trust The Glass Experts at Max Auto Glass
Many people don’t realize how important their windshield is until it’s damaged. It can be easily taken for granted when it’s in good condition and there are no cracks or chips. If your windshield does experience damage, with the information above, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Contact us today! We will help you consider all possible solutions for your damaged windows and make sure you are quickly and safely back on the road.