Your car’s windshield is made up of multiple layers. The first layer is called the safety glass. This is designed to protect you from flying objects. If an object hits your windshield, it will shatter into many smaller pieces instead of breaking into large shards. This helps prevent injury. But if you’re driving at high speeds, the safety glass may crack. That’s why you need to replace your windshield when it cracks.
A chip can be a tiny piece of glass that gets broken off during manufacturing. If it is large enough, it will break through the outer layer of plastic and cause damage to the internal circuitry. Chips can also be a sign of wear and tear. Small chips can be easily fixed, but larger ones may require replacement.
Windshield cracks are lines where a single piece of window glass has started to break apart. Cracks can start out small, but if left untreated, they will often get bigger over time. Whether the windshield is exposed directly to the heat of the sun or driven through cold air, changes in temperature can cause it to stretch and shrink. If you have a cracked windshield, this process can lead to it getting larger. Dirt particles can also find their way inside the cracks, making them even worse. Driving over speedbumps, potholes, or uneven roads can all contribute to the damage spreading. Finally, the everyday stresses your car takes can make the damage spread further. As you drive over rough surfaces, your car’s suspension system will take the brunt of the impact. This constant pressure can cause damage to spread throughout the whole vehicle.
Windshield repairs can be done quickly and cheaply at many auto shops. Smaller chips and cracks can be fixed within an hour or two, while larger ones require longer times. Some shops will charge around $100 for a small chip, while others might charge upwards of $300 for a larger one. A windshield replacement costs around $150-$200, depending on the size of the glass.
A windshield is made up of two layers of glass sandwiched together by a thin plastic interlayer. If the damage is not through both layers of glass, then it is not too deep. However, if the damage is through the inner layer of glass, then it may be too deep to perform a repair.
The location and severity of the damage greatly affect the ability to perform a repair. If the damage crosses multiple edges of the glass, there’s a higher chance that the structural integrity has been compromised. Because windshields are responsible for up to 60 percent of structural strength in the case of a vehicle rollover, it’s important that it’s replaced correctly with a new windshield.
Another place where windshield repairs shouldn’t be done is within the driver’s line of sight (the area covered by the driver’s windshield wipers). Repairing the windshield here could distort the driver’s view, causing them to lose track of the road ahead.
Lastly, damage in the view for sensors like rain sensors, lane departure warnings, automatic braking systems, and other ADAS-related components may not be fixable. These sensors require perfect clarity, and even a near-perfect repair could cause malfunctions.
When to Repair a Chipped or Cracked Windshield
As you might expect, repairing a cracked windshield isn’t always cheap. A windshield specialist’s ability to repair a damaged windshield depends on several factors, including the type of chip or break, the size, the location, and whether there are multiple breaks.
Generally speaking, cracks that are less than two inches long and less than three-eighths of an inch deep can be fixed. Smaller chips can usually be repaired, while larger ones require a full replacement. Deep cracks can sometimes be repaired, depending on the type and size of the chip.
If there is any kind of breakage, it should be fixed immediately. A broken windshield can lead to serious problems if not taken care of right away. You may need to get a replacement window installed, depending on what happened. Some cracks might not be fixable at all.
Most windshields are a type of layered glass with a plastic layer in the middle called “laminated glass.” Rather than shattering or breaking apart into fragments, laminated glass tends to hold together when broken. However, side and back windows are often tempered glass. Tempered glass is made through a different process that causes the glass to break into small, granular pieces when broken. Because it breaks like this, replacement is the only real option.
A windshield should always be replaced when cracks appear. If the crack only goes through the outer layer, then it will not affect the visibility of the driver. However, if the crack reaches the inner layer, then it could cause the glass to break. This could result in serious injury to the driver.
If you have three or more cracks anywhere on the windshield, you will likely need to replace it. These cracks can cause the glass to crack and break, making them dangerous to drive. If you have cracks that go all the way across the windshield, you may need to get a replacement. Repairing cracks can leave marks behind, which could affect the safety of the vehicle.