What to Do About a Cracked Windshield

  • By Eric Evenstad
  • 01 Jul, 2017
Chipped and cracked windshields are an all too common hazard for vehicles today. From gravel falling off construction trucks to salt from city vehicles preparing for a storm, and even chunks of debris kicked up by passing vehicles, the roads are filled with potential dangers to your windshield. The question is, what should you do when it happens?
Broken car windshield. Accident of car.

Windshield Repair
For chips and smaller cracks, windshield repair is generally the best option. A good rule of thumb is to hold a dollar bill over the crack. If the bill covers the crack completely, it is generally a candidate for repair. Some insurance policies cover windshield repairs with no deductible, so it is worth asking your insurer. Even if it is not covered, this type of repair is usually fairly inexpensive. Attend to it immediately, as small chips and cracks tend to worsen over time.

Note that the repaired area of a windshield will never be quite as clear as the surrounding undamaged glass. In most cases, repair will restore approximately 75 to 95 percent of optical clarity.

Windshield Replacement
If the crack is bigger than a dollar bill, the windshield will likely need to be replaced. Replacement is also recommended if the crack is directly in the driver’s line of sight or at one edge of the windshield, as well as if the windshield has more than three chips or cracks. An old, pitted windshield should also be replaced, even if there are no defined cracks.

If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance company may also cover a windshield replacement. Call your insurer for information. Even if you are on the hook for the bill, a needed windshield replacement should not be postponed. In many vehicles, the windshield actually serves as part of the structural strength and integrity of the car. A badly damaged windshield could get much worse very quickly if you hit a poorly maintained road or large pothole, or could even compromise the vehicle in the event of a collision.

Can I Fix It Myself?
DIY types may be interested in repairing their own chipped or cracked windshield. There are numerous DIY kits available at any local auto parts store, which attempt to replicate the resin injection process used by professional technicians. However, these kits vary widely in quality, and their success or failure is highly dependent on the skill of the user. Therefore, the DIY route may be acceptable for tiny chips in inconspicuous spots, but should never be attempted on any part of the windshield that is critical for driving safety.

In addition, a large part of the goal of windshield repair is to stabilize the glass and prevent the chip or crack from expanding. This can be very difficult for amateurs to achieve. Do not attempt a DIY windshield repair unless you are positive that you know exactly what you are doing.

If you are tired of getting the runaround and being treated like you haven’t got a clue, we invite you to try Colchin Automotive  instead. Give us a call at 303-431-5421 for all of your automotive needs!

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