Master Mechanic: Prolonging the Life of Your Cracked Windshield
It’s a scenario many of us know all too well. You’re driving down the highway and the vehicle in front of you kicks a rock into your windshield. It’s a cringe-worthy feeling that leaves you wincing, reluctant to assess the damage. Sometimes nothing happens, other times this results in a chip, larger chip called a ‘bullseye’ or a cracked windshield. Windshield damage can be as small as the tiny pebble that created it or may spread to something much more extensive. Chips and ‘bullseyes’ can sometimes be repaired before further damage occurs.
We caught up with a Master Mechanic to talk about minor windshield repairs.
Many people dismiss windshield chips an unnecessary expense for a mostly aesthetic problem. While a chipi in your windshield is certainly unsightly, it can also compromise the effectiveness of your windshield in more than a few ways.
Visibility is the most obvious issue. Having a chip in the windshield might be distracting while driving and depending on where it is located, can block the full, unobstructed view of the road ahead.
Protection from the elements is another thing to keep in mind. Rain, wind and snow are directly blocked by your vehicle’s windshield. If temperatures are fluctuating, precipitation can also exacerbate the issue. Water can get into the chip, where it can freeze leading to a cracked windshield.
Your windshield is a part of your vehicle’s “forward crumple zone”, the first line of defence in the event of an accident. In the event of an impact, the windshield is designed to direct the force of the impact into the chassis. If the windshield is cracked its integrity can be compromised, and the distribution of the impact might not be effectively absorbed thus compromising your personal safety. Furthermore, if the vehicle is flipped during an accident, a compromised windshield is more likely to cause the roof to cave in.
First, Assess the Damage.
Windshield chips come in all shapes and sizes, so depending on the extent of the damage, it may not be necessary to replace the entire windshield. A good rule of thumb is assessing the size and depth of the chip. If the chip is more than a centimeter, it is likely too large to repair without the help of a professional. The windshield may require replacement, however, if the chip is any smaller than this, keep reading.
Purchase a Windshield Repair Kit
Kits start at around $15 and are relatively easy to use, involving a specialized resin and tools to repair the chip in under an hour. If you have a tiny chip or crack, a windshield repair kit might save you a trip to a professional down the road.
Should you have a crack instead of a small chip
Unfortunately, you are going to need to replace your windshield. As we stated above, cracked windshields compromise the structural integrity of your vehicle and in turn your safety. Here are a couple of tips you can use, to help prevent a cracked windshield from getting worse until you have a chance to have it replaced. Controlling the temperature in your vehicle can help prevent the spread of windshield cracks. Vents pointed directly at the glass can rapidly advance the spreading of a crack because of the polarizing temperatures (e.g. heat blowing on a cold windshield in winter). The same goes for direct sunlight on the glass which can cause the crack to expand. To help prevent the spreading of a crack, park your car in the shade or underground to prevent the elements from impacting the crack. You should also avoid using the window defroster until the crack is repaired.
Depending on the repair method you choose, you can prolong the life your windshield or avoid a professional service visit altogether. Maintaining the integrity of your windshield is essential not only for the look of your car but also for your personal safety. During your routine maintenance, we’re happy to offer our recommendation on any chips or cracks you have. If a professional repair is needed, we can help set that up, too! Contact your local Master Mechanic today!