A crack or even a minor chip on the windshield of your car can dampen your driving experience. Besides being unattractive, windshield cracks and chips are safety hazards. Fortunately, not all is lost since minor chips and dings can be repaired. And for cracks that cannot be repaired, easy windshield replacement is an option. Before you consider getting your windscreen repaired or replaced, here are a few basics you must know.
Types of Windshield Damages
If a foreign object strikes the windshield and leaves the top glass layer damaged, a chip pit develops. It appears like a pothole on your windscreen and usually does not impact the driver’s line of vision severely. Unless the impact of the object is deep enough to penetrate the second layer of the glass, this type of windshield damage can be fixed very easily.
Similar to the Chip pit, a bull’s-eye chip forms when an object like a rock impacts the windshield, leaving a chip that is circular and has a point in the middle.
With the same fundamental features to that of a bull’s-eye chip, the half-moon chip has a semi-circular shape.
As the name suggests, this type of windshield damage consists of both a chip and a crack. The chip is usually like the bull’s-eye chip with the crack extending like an arm a few inches away from the chip. Since it is not possible or advisable to repair windshield crack, a combination break often calls for windshield replacement.
Why Should Chipped Windshields Be Fixed Immediately?
A chipped windshield needs immediate attention for several reasons.
If your car’s windshield already has a chip, the chances of it worsening get extremely high every time you drive. Something as natural as uneven terrain or a sudden break can cause a small chip to escalate into a crack. Similarly, playing loud music inside your car while driving can also extend the diameter of a relatively simple chip. Temperature fluctuations, weather conditions like hailstorms, and further impacts can also make your windshield chip worsen and be a safety hazard.
For every car driver, visibility is an essential factor. Any form of compromise with a driver’s visibility can result in serious accidents. If a windshield chip or crack is left unattended, it will impact your ability to drive carefully and affect your safety.
A windshield is responsible for the structural integrity of your car. In case of a rollover accident, it prevents the passengers from being flung out of the vehicle. The functioning of most airbags is also dependent on the car’s windshield. A cracked windshield fails to perform these functions. If you do not get your windshield repaired or replaced on priority, you will put your life in grave danger.
Decreased Market Value of the Car
If you ever decide to sell your car, a cracked windshield will present a hurdle in finding customers. No one likes to buy a vehicle with a defective windshield only to spend thousands on getting it repaired. Even if you find a willing buyer, you will have to agree to a much lower price than what you could have received originally. It is always a good idea to get windshield chips repaired, and if needs be, the windshield replaced to keep the market value of your car intact.
Conditions for Windshield Repair
Most windshields develop cracks that can be fixed with little effort. However, some types of damages warrant windshield replacement instead of repair. To be reparable, the damage must meet the following criteria –
Windshield chips can be repaired provided they are minor and are at the most two. Moreover, their diameter should not go beyond an inch. If such criteria are not met, the only option left will be windshield replacement.
Any windshield chip that falls directly in the driver’s line of vision cannot be repaired. Since windshield repairs can leave the damaged area slightly unclear, restoring such a break can cause visibility discomfort to the driver.
Chips that penetrate beyond the outer layer of the windshield cannot be fixed since they usually damage the middle poly-vinyl butyryl layer. Chips on the inner pane of the glass cannot be repaired.
If windshield professionals deem the damage reparable, they clean your windscreen of any debris. Later, a vacuum pump is used to rid the chip of air. Simultaneously, clear adhesive resin is used to fix the chip. The resin cures under ultraviolet light for a while. A adequately fixed windshield retains 90-95% of its original functionality.
The Basics of Windshield Replacement
If your vehicle’s windshield develops an entirely irreparable chip, professionals will suggest a windshield replacement. Windshield replacement usually requires less than an hour if done in-workshop. Expert windscreen replacement technicians follow the following necessary steps.
- The windshield is covered tightly to avoid falling out of broken glass pieces.
- All adhesive in place near the perimeter of the windshield is removed using appropriate tools and chemicals. If there are points in the frame where the windshield is welded to the vehicle, the welding is cut off.
- A second technician is employed who pushes the windshield from inside; the damaged windscreen is removed. Professionals often use some vacuum holder to lift the windshield off of your car.
- All adhesive previously in place on the frame is adequately cleaned. A few more priming steps ensure that the structure is ready for the new windscreen.
- The new windshield is installed using a brand new adhesive and specialised tool, after which the glass is left to sit for a few hours within the frame before being completely ready.
Many windshield replacement companies also follow other advanced steps to ensure the perfect installation of your car’s windshield. The faults in installation often arise when the replacement technicians fail to wear gloves, thereby transferring their skin oils into the adhesive. This leads to the weakening of the adhesion. Sometimes, newly installed windshields do not cure sufficiently because of the driver’s failure to observe safety drive away times – a time duration during which the car cannot be driven. Also, if you use ammonia-based cleaners on the windscreen a short while after its installed, you will risk not getting the adhesive adequately curated.
In case of improper windshield replacement, you will notice the following signs –
Gaps in the Frame
If you hear a whooshing sound while driving your car even if you have the windows closed, there is probably a gap between the windshield and the car frame. On careful observation, you might also notice the discrepancies.
If you hear rattling sounds while driving on a bumpy road, your windshield is installed incorrectly.
Wavy patterns, Light distortion, decreased clarity, and blemished on the windscreen are all indicative of an incorrect windshield replacement procedure.
If you notice such signs, contact your windshield replacement company immediately.
How to Choose the Right Windshield Repair/Replacement Company?
Windshield replacement and repair, when handled by amateurs, are both hazardous and costly in the long run. Choosing a company that provides you with the best repair and replacement service is necessary to avoid the hassle. Whether you want an in-workshop or doorstep replacement service, there are several features you should look for in your windshield replacement company –
Many companies are dishonest with their customers, and they can trick you into getting a windshield replacement done. Since replacements cost you more than repairs, such companies profit unjustifiably. Before saying yes to windshield replacements, always ask your chosen repair facility to give you a brief description of the type of chip or crack and the reason it cannot be fixed. Remember, companies that adopt a Repair-First Policy will always prioritise your needs over such profits.
Moreover, it is essential to remember that it is not recommended or possible to repair windshield crack. So, do not get swayed by companies that assure you otherwise, as this could lead to more significant damage in the future.
Quality of Products
You might be tempted to opt for a quick and cheap windshield replacement service. However, to quicken the process of replacement, many companies use sealants like silicone instead of adhesives like polyurethane to fix windshields. This process is outdated and often not useful. Moreover, many repair facilities do not recalibrate the driver assistance features of your car after installing the windshield. You must always opt for replacement services that offer the best quality products and services.
Windshield repairs and replacements can sometimes be expensive. Having car insurance that covers the cost of a windshield replacement is useful only if your replacement company has a tie-up with your insurance provider. Opt for replacement companies that have tie-ups with all the major insurance providers across the country so that you do not have to run from one office to another to secure your insurance money.
At AIS Windshield Experts, we offer both windshield replacement and repair services. Our experts use efficient technology to repair all kinds of automotive glass. They will only replace your windshield if there is a dire need to do so. We observe internationally accredited safety standards and provide you with quick and hassle-free services. To avail of our services, you can either visit our 80+ service centres located across 45+ cities nationwide or call for a doorstep windshield replacement service.