You probably only “see” your windshield when you can’t see through it. Other than that, drivers don’t think much about the piece of glass in front of them as they drive. But that glass is protecting everyone in the vehicle from flying debris, wind, rain, snow, or hail. It also supports the roof of the vehicle and so is an integral part of passenger protection in the event of a crash and rollover. If the windshield is defective or damaged, the roof can crush the occupants, causing injury or death. Plus, the airbags only work if the windshield is intact.
Insurance companies understand all of this and have made it easier to file claims for car window repairs. The statistics support this, because windshield repairs and replacements account for about 30% of all insurance claims.
Let’s find out more about the different types of car window repair, the glass in your car windows, and what to do when one of the windows in your vehicle is damaged. Having this information before you need it can save lives.
The Different Types of Car Window Repair
Whether a chip or crack appears in the windshield or one of the other windows in your car, the damage needs to be repaired as soon as possible. It’s easy to put these kinds of repairs off, but crashes happen with no warning. Then it’s too late to protect the people in the vehicle from disaster.
Here are some of the types of chips and cracks needing window repair:
The truck in front of you on the highway is dropping tiny pieces of gravel along the way, and one of them hits your windshield. As well as startling and distracting you, this tiny object takes a matching piece of glass out of the windshield and causes a crack. Even though you may think it’s not large enough to hamper your visibility, the crack will spread outward if not repaired quickly. More importantly, the integrity of the glass is now compromised and will not provide the maximum protection if a crash should occur before it is fixed.
2. Bulls-eyes and Partial Bulls-eyes
Sometimes the damage looks like the bulls-eye on a target rather than a crack. These are circular and semicircular chips caused by a circular object hitting the glass with a lot of force. This type of damage is one of the easiest repairs for auto glass.
Initially, a small chip in a windshield that doesn’t go through to the middle plastic layer won’t pose much of a problem. If left unrepaired, though, debris gets into the break, which then spreads. A pit can form, weakening the glass.
4. Edge Crack
This is a crack that results from an object hitting the windshield around the perimeter of the glass, about three inches from the outer edge. As we have seen in some of the other types of damage, a small crack usually turns into a longer crack. As it grows, it is sometimes then referred to as a floater crack. It’s best to deal with it when it’s small, both for your budget and your safety.
5. Stress Crack
In the case of a stress crack, there has been no damage by flying objects. This is the result of the age of the glass or an extreme temperature change in a short period of time. A stress crack looks like a spiderweb and often spreads quickly.
6. Long Crack
This is a single crack spanning the length of the windshield 15 cm in length or longer. These cracks are the most difficult to repair, because of their length, so the windshield usually has to be replaced.
Trust Max Auto Glass as your experienced, professional auto glass repair shop. Let us give you our best advice about how to deal with your auto glass repair, including whether the glass can be repaired. We are the auto glass experts whether the damage involves a windshield, a car side window repair, a rear window replacement, or a power window repair.
When can windshields be repaired instead of replaced?
Some types of windshield damage will require replacing the whole windshield, while some can be repaired safely.
Here are things to consider when evaluating car window glass damage.
Impact on Visibility While Driving
If your ability to see through the damaged glass is reduced at all, it puts you and your passengers at risk. If any type of damage is within your line of vision, the windshield should be replaced.
Size of the Chip or Crack
Use these guidelines to determine when a repair can be done instead of a complete windshield replacement.
- The crack is less than the length of a dollar bill.
- The chip measures an inch or less in diameter.
- There are no more than two connecting hairline cracks.
Keep in mind, though, a small crack can quickly grow in size when the windshield gets hot. It is to your advantage to get a small, repairable ding or crack fixed quickly.
Depth of the Chip
If a rock or other piece of debris strikes your windshield and penetrates the middle layer of vinyl or into the second layer of glass, the windshield needs to be replaced. Remember that the windshield is part of the frame of the vehicle and is meant 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. Get any damage along that edge repaired as soon as possible so the entire windshield doesn’t need to be replaced later.
As stated before, an important factor is visibility for the driver. If visibility is impacted, the glass should be replaced. Safety comes first.