In the past, chips and cracks of the windshield could not be repaired, and windshields needed to be replaced. However, the technology today has made windshield repair easier and convenient, depending on the size, location, and severity of the crack or chip. Still, there is a tug of war between auto windshield repair vs replacement.
The windshield glass is also known as safety glass because it is not made of a single piece. But actually, there are two pieces with a laminated plastic layer in between. This design prevents the glass from shattering into larger dangerous pieces and causes the glass to break into small pieces.
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There are a variety of sources of windshield damage, but not all the damage is the same. First, call the qualified auto glass repair technician and evaluate the degree of damage, then decide whether the windshield needs to be repaired or replaced.
Size and Depth
Almost any auto repair company can repair about one-inch in diameter chip or a crack of about three inches long. But some auto repair companies with the advanced technology, are now able to repair even longer cracks up to 18 inches long.
The damage location is quite a crucial factor in determining whether the windshield needs to be repaired or replaced. Suppose the windshield is damaged in the driver’s line of sight. In that case, even an expert repairer may leave some unevenness and discoloration behind, which results in reduced visibility and decreased clarity for the driver.
If a crack is near the edge of the windshield or the chip is near the edge, it can cause the windshield to start cracking. Such type of damage affects the integrity and strength of the windshield and its bonding to the surrounding metal frame; all this puts the life of the driver in danger. The following are the damages that are usually non-repairable:
- If the crack or chip is on the edge
- If there are multiple complex cracks
- Damage over internal radio antenna, rain sensor
- Contaminated cracks
- Serious damage on both layers of glass
- If the crack is over 18 inches long
- The damage that reaches into the driver’s critical viewing area
There are different types of cracks; some can be repaired easily while some are impossible to repair. Multiple cracks are difficult to repair, so if your auto windshield has multiple cracks, you need to consult the technician first, whether it is repairable or not.
Difference between Chips and Cracks
The chip is a small blemish on the windshield. It happens when there is an impact on the glass that breaks away a portion of the windshield. A chip is typically repairable if it is small enough. But if the chip is deep and it penetrates into the inner layer of the plastic, then you need to go for the replacement. A small chip in the windshield might not seem a huge concern for you, but they are the basic root of the cracks. So, you need to give proper attention to the chip, no matter how small it is.
Crack is different from chip in the manner that it is a line where a single piece of the windshield glass begins to separate fully. Cracks start small, but they can grow over time if you don’t handle them properly.
When you drive through the frigid air, or in heat, the hot rays of the sun can expand or contract the windshield. If there is a crack in your windshield, the temperature changes cause it to spread gradually. Small particles of the dirt can also make their way to the cracks, making them worse. If your windshield is cracked and you want to prevent further damage, you can use a small piece of tape on it as a temporary solution.
When Should I Repair My Windshield?
Repairing a damaged windshield is always cheaper and affordable as compared to replacing it. If the damage is in the middle of the windshield, away from the driver’s side, technicians can repair it. If your windshield is repairable, it is best to do it as soon as possible. Because even a small crack or chip can spread with time, and then there will be no solution rather than replacing it.
When Should I Replace My Windshield?
There are some instances where it becomes critical to replace the windshield. For example, if an item strikes your windshield and makes a hole in it, then it needs to be replaced. But, there are occasions when you need to replace your windshield because of some smaller chips and cracks.
If there are multiple cracks on the windshield, you need to replace it. Similarly, damage on the driver’s side of the windshield also requires a full replacement. If the inner layer of plastic gets discoloured because of exposure to elements, repairing is not the option, and only windshield replacement is the solution.
If you want to repair your auto windshield by yourself and have confidence in your abilities, there are some windshield repair kits available in the market that can help you. Many of these kits have the same type of materials as used by the professionals. The main advantage of using a professional to replace the windshield is the expertise they bring to the table.
A windshield that is repaired by some inexperienced person, or even by a professional when it was needed to be replaced, can lead to dangerous consequences.