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Types of Car Glass Cracks and How to Fix Them

February 13, 2020
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There are seldom things more annoying in life than having your bright and optimistic day ruined by something as simple as a scratch on your car windshield. Most car owners have been in a situation where they have found their car glass to be damaged. Finding a chip or crack on your car glass can ruin your entire day, not to mention the huge safety hazard that they are.

Before we get into car glass damage and the ways to fix them, let us first get to know a little about car glass –

Importance of Car Glass

A car has many glass components – windshields, sidecar window glass, and rear glass. You might think that car glass is merely an ornamental addition, but in reality, it serves a vital functional role. The car glass is designed with your safety in mind.  The primary function of car glass is to protect you and the car interior from rain, wind, dust, debris, and other external elements. Your car glass allows you to have a 360-degree vision of your surroundings. It gives you a clear view of the road ahead and the traffic around you. To drive your car safely, having a proper view and being aware of your surroundings are crucial.

Even though these are vital functions, a car glass’ job is not limited to this. The windshield also offers aerodynamics and aesthetic appeal to your car. It provides structural integrity and acts as a supportive beam. It upholds your car frame and prevents the car roof from caving in and crushing you and your fellow passengers in a rollover. In the event of a collision, your windshield’s multi-layered laminated glass also protects the occupants in the car from any harsh impact. The windshield also helps in the proper deployment of the front airbags. If you get caught in an accident; and you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, the windshield stops you from being thrown out of the car.

Types of Car Glass Damage

Every car owner knows that there is always a sound possibility of the car glass getting damaged while traveling on the roads. Given below are some common damages that your car glass can incur –

Minor Chips

A chip’s size, location, and severity decide whether it can be repaired or not. Minor chips on your car glass about 40 mm in size or smaller, can easily be repaired by a trained technician. If the chip damage is restricted to the outer layer of the glass, the damage can be fixed by a simple repair job. Star break, bull’s eye, half-moon, cloverleaf, bee’s wing, and combination break are some chips that can be fixed. But, the crucial thing to remember is that minor chips, at the most two, can only be repaired. Anything more than that warrants a car glass replacement.

Chips can be fixed easily, but if they are left unrepaired, they can escalate into bigger damage, wherein replacing the windshield becomes the only viable option.

Chips That Can’t be Repaired

If the chip damage exceeds 40mm in diameter, a repair job can’t fix the problem, and a replacement will be needed. If the damage penetrates both the layer of the car glass, then also repairing the damage is not feasible. Moreover, chip repair is also not an option if the damage is in the line of sight of the driver. In these cases, a simple repair job will leave you with a weak windshield. Hence, it is best to get your car glass replaced. Moreover, If your car glass is littered with numerous chips, it is recommended to get a replacement done.

Cracks

Repairing the windshield is not the right option if the crack ends or begins at the edge of the windshield. This can compromise the integrity of the glass. A crack repair is also not feasible if the polyvinyl butyral layer of the windshield has been damaged. Simply put, no matter how small the crack might appear, getting it repaired is not a wise decision because the structural loss a crack causes can be extremely risky. Therefore, it is best to opt for a windshield replacement.

Although repairing different windshield chips is not an easy task, after carefully examining the situation, you need a different plan of action for the best outcomes. To land upon the perfect solution for a windshield crack, the technician needs to thoroughly analyze the damaged area, and then they can label the crack and suggest a fix accordingly. Below are four types of cracks that can incur considerable damage to the windshield in a car.

Bull’s Eye Crack

When the object creating the impact is significantly large (maybe debris, pebbles, or gravel), the crack sustained by the windshield is a bull’s eye crack.

This damage is practically circular in shape. The name of the crack makes the shape of its impact apparent – the centre of the target. Apart from sitting at irking positions on the windshield in a car, a bull’s eye crack also impairs the driver’s vision on the road by disrupting the line of sight.

When a bull’s eye crack is not dealt with in due time, excessive dirt, oil, and other debris can accumulate in the damaged area. This makes the damage more extensive, and repairing the crack becomes notably difficult. Although if repaired timely and by expert technicians, no trace of crack will be left, and your windshield in the car will go back to looking smooth as new.

Half-Moon Crack

A half-moon crack is somewhat similar to the bull’s eye type. The differentiation can be done based on the fact that the damage caused is not fairly circular, unlike bull’s eye damage. Such cracks are caused by the impact of rather blunt objects.

What to do in such cases? Consult reliable and skilled auto glass repair and replacement technicians. Repairing the half-moon crack is fairly simpler owing to its shape. As the damage is not entirely in a circular pattern, trained technicians have better maneuverability while cleaning and repairing the windshield in a car, and thus, half-moon has an edge over other types of cracks.

Star Break Crack

The damage of a star break comes off as a series of short yet radical cracks from the impact point. This is how the crack got its name. The damage incurred by the impact resembles a star to a great extent. So, even when a layman looks at a star crack, they can instantly distinguish it from other types.

A star crack usually starts as a minor crack when the windshield in a car is struck by debris or another object. But it may soon end up branching off to the entire windshield glass. On such occasions, replacement is the only option left with the car owner. Thus, it becomes exceedingly necessary to get the damage attended to at the earliest.

Combination Crack

When a windshield in a car sustains a crack, that is a blend of both a star break and a bull’s eye, then it is termed as a combination crack. These sorts of cracks are incredibly difficult to tend to.

What causes a combination crack? Rock chips or stone chips are the primary footings of any damage to the windshield in a car, and combination cracks are no exceptions.

Given that it is a combination crack, the level of damage contracted by the windshield in a car is severe. A highly skilled technician is required to repair a combination crack. Superior craftsmanship is essential for repairing a combination crack; anything less than that can cause further damage to the windshield.

Why Do Cracks and Chips Need Immediate Attention?

Your car glass is vital to your safety, which is why, if there is a chip or a crack on your windshield, you must immediately get it repaired or replaced, as the need may be. The small chip or crack can easily endanger your life as well as the lives of your fellow passengers. Therefore, the best way to deal with this is to get the severity of the damage evaluated by a trained expert. An experienced expert can assess the damage and give you a correct evaluation as to whether a simple repair can fix it or a replacement is needed.

If left unattended, expect a tiny chip on the windshield in a car to exaggerate into a long and uncomfortably large crack. As windshields are fragile and play a crucial role in supporting your car’s overall structure, they require your singular attention when damaged. Consequently, it is imperative to get the windshield crack addressed at the earliest.

Immediate Actionable steps for car owners with a cracked windshield 

So, if you’ve been in an unfortunate accident that has left you with a broken or cracked windshield, here are some things which you can do for the repairs in the aftermath.

Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company

You’ll surely want to let your insurance company right away that you’ve been in a road accident. Doing this will allow you to make a faster claim intimation. Also, make sure to take pictures of your car from different angles as part of your evidence.

If there are huge chunks of glass missing from your windshield, cover those cavities with a tarpaulin sheet to prohibit any foreign materials from entering your car. Lastly, be very careful while handling glass during this process, as you can easily cut or hurt yourself.

Also, check whether your insurance includes comprehensive coverage that covers replacement for your broken or cracked windshield. If it doesn’t, you might need to pay the expenses out of your pocket.

Evaluate the Extent of the Damage

Always make sure to assess the severity of damage dealt with in your car due to a road accident.

When you’re done, you may be faced with the question- ‘Should I replace or repair the cracked windshield? Though the answer to the question may seem simple, it isn’t, even to the most seasoned car drivers.

Minor scratches, chips, and other small blemishes can be fixed with a quick repair job by technicians. Some of you may not even pay heed to them. However, even though they look insignificant to your eye, they can quickly snowball into a much bigger problem if not dealt with. This negligence will cost you in the long run and can seriously hamper your road safety. That’s why it is recommended to get it repaired at the earliest.

Another critical thing to take note of is that only a maximum of two minor chips can be repaired without affecting the structural integrity of your windshield. Anything beyond it, be it a chip or crack, cannot be fixed without causing structuring fallacies. Hence, in such cases, replacement remains your only option.

Moreover, if the damage has somehow seeped to the interior of the glass up to the tempered glass layer, you must get your windshield repaired at the earliest. The key takeaway here is to understand that any damage to your windscreen, no matter how minimal it may seem, should not be ignored, lest it compromises your safety in the long run.

Other Signs of Damage

Unfortunately, every accident doesn’t leave discernible signs of damage to your windshield. One of the lesser-known signs is the formation of a white haze that appears around the windshield edges. Manufacturers use a unique plastic material, called polyvinyl butyral to strengthen windscreen glasses and prevent the glass from shattering inwards.

So, following an accident, the edges of your windshield may be broken or cracked without you realizing it. Such damage can be recognized by the white haze, which is caused by the polyvinyl butyral pulling away.

Also, if you can hear your windshield rattling while you drive, the sealant which sticks the glass to the frame might be damaged. This kind of damage also warrants a repair.

 Finally, Seek Professional Assistance

Once you have concluded as to what your windshield requires – a repair or a replacement – you can visit a trusted and reliable windshield repair vendor to get your broken or cracked windshield fixed.

However, rather than making an erroneous decision, always approach a windshield repair professional to know whether a complete replacement of the windshield glass is required, or a minor repair job can fix the problem.

A skilled technician who is an expert in windshields would be better at evaluating the situation, and therefore he will recommend the right course of action.

If you are looking for experts that can provide you all windshield and car window solutions, then look no further than AIS Windshield Experts. We provide ‘faster, safer, and better’ windshield repair and replacement services. Our experts follow all international safety norms and are equipped with world-class equipment to undertake windshield repair and replacement. You can check car glass repair and car glass replacement to know more about our offerings. We use 100% genuine car glass sourced from our parent brand – Asahi India Glass Limited – a leading automotive glass manufacturer in India. We offer a one-year warranty on our workmanship and materials used. Our 90+ conveniently located service centres and several mobile vans can provide you car glass solutions for all your car woes. Get in touch today!

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