It’s one of the worst sounds you can hear behind the wheel. That sharp crack of something solid hitting your windshield at high speeds. Then you see it, that star shape in your glass that marks a broken windshield. What do you do next? You don’t have time to fix it now, you say, planning to get it fixed later. Like on the weekend, maybe next month? Here’s what to do when you have a chipped or cracked windshield and why ignoring the problem or pushing it down the road will only make things worse when you finally do try and fix it.
Lead photo by A_Lesik/Shutterstock.com
It’s easy to ignore that small chip or crack in your auto glass, but once your windshield is broken, things happen quickly. Your car or truck’s windshield sees the full effect of the sun every day, expanding and contracting as the rays blast down on it. Park your vehicle with that small crack or chip on a hot or cold day and you can often watch the crack grow. An afternoon is enough to turn a chip the size of a dime into a crack that runs across your entire windshield.
A small chip or crack can often be repaired. One that crosses your whole windshield can’t be. A cracked windshield can affect your view, making it more difficult to see the road. It can also lead to getting pulled over and receiving a ticket.
Cracked side or rear glass can be even more hazardous. These windows are made of curved tempered glass which is designed to shatter into pea-sized pieces to reduce the chance of injury. If one of these windows is damaged, it is likely to shatter, whether from temperature, more impact, even the jarring of driving over a bump.
An auto glass specialist is as close as a web search, but picking the first one on the list might not be your best bet. Your windshield is a crucial part of your vehicle and is part of its safety system. From rollover strength to airbag deployment, the windshield plays an important role. Choosing the right specialist is important for your safety.
Customer reviews are a great way to find the best place to get your windshield repaired or replaced . High ratings and satisfied testimonials are a good sign that you’re picking a top shop for windshield repair or replacement. Safelite AutoGlass® has a review score of 4.7 out of 5 based on more than 750,000 customer reviews.
Busy day? Look for a specialist that offers mobile windshield repair or replacement. If you don’t have time to leave home or the office, a mobile service technician will come to you and repair or even completely replace your windshield or other auto glass quickly and professionally in your own driveway or parking lot. Safelite offers more than 7,900 MobileGlassShops™ and repair facilities nationwide. You can find one anywhere quickly and easily through their website.
If your auto glass replacement has to be done in-shop, Safelite offers Drop & Go™ service. You leave your vehicle in the Safelite lot the morning of your appointment, using a secure key drop box. A representative will contact you when your vehicle is ready.
Look for a top-quality warranty or guarantee. If your repaired glass cracks further or fails a state inspection, Safelite will credit the cost of the initial repair toward a full windshield replacement. A lifetime glass replacement warranty for as long as you own your vehicle gives you peace of mind over the glass as well as the installation work itself. Safelite offers the only nationwide lifetime warranty against auto glass defects in parts or workmanship, backed by stores in all 50 states.
A small chip or crack in your windshield can often be repaired. A Safelite repair specialist uses a special resin, applied under a vacuum, that is then cured to a rock-hard finish under ultraviolet light, preventing it from spreading.
Not all windshield damage can be repaired, though. Generally, if a chip or a crack is smaller than six inches, it can be repaired. Safelite recommends not repairing chips or cracks larger than six inches in size, as the repair may not be satisfactory. Even smaller cracks and chips can’t always be repaired and may require a full windshield replacement.
More than three chips or cracks on a windshield, even if some of them are older repairs, may require a windshield replacement.
If your vehicle is older or has high miles, you may choose to replace the windshield even if the damage can be repaired. That’s because older vehicle windshields are usually covered with small marks called pits. These marks are normal, but they make your windshield more difficult to see out of over time. Especially on days with rain, or when driving into a low sun.
Modern cars and trucks are loaded advanced safety systems. If you need a windshield replacement, almost all automakers require a recalibration of the forward-facing camera which typically sits behind your rear-view mirror. This ensures that the advanced safety systems like lane-keep assist and forward collision warning continue to work properly.
If damage from a repairable chip or crack is located within the Heads Up Display area, or in front of the forward-facing camera, the windshield must be replaced. A repair to damage in front of the forward-facing camera can block its view of the roadway, which may cause the advanced safety systems to not function properly.
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