We’ve all been there, driving peacefully down the highway when WHAM, a giant rock or shrapnel from another car slams into the windshield and chips or cracks it. It seems that insurance companies always price windshield repairs to just meet the deductible limit, which means you are paying for the fix from your own pocket. The truth is that some windshield damage is easy to repair and can be a simple DIY project, while other damage requires a professional touch. Here is a look at the various types of windshield damage and some advice on how to address each.
According to Lloyd’s Auto Glass, the simplest type of damage occurs when debris removes a small splinter of glass, called a chip, from your windshield. Chips are generally small, though they don’t have to be, and often don’t require immediate attention. You can identify a chip by the fact that it looks like a divot in the glass and has no cracks or runners coming off of it.
In the world of windshield repair, chips are often identified as simple, bull’s eye, or half-moon based on their appearance. You can almost always repair a damaged windshield unless the chip occurs at the very edge of the glass. Chips at the edges of a windshield are difficult to fill and, because of the stress forces, tend to spread. Center chips are easy DIY jobs while edge chips should be addressed by a professional.
Cracks are linear breaks that run through the glass. They may be anchored by a chip or simply exist on their own. Cracks usually occur as a result of impact damage, but can occasionally occur as a result of stress on the glass or due to extreme changes in temperature. Most cracks can be repaired, if they addressed immediately, except for stress cracks.
Safety experts say that you can generally repair cracks near the center of the windshield yourself. If the crack is large (larger than a nickel), then a self-repair job may not hold for long though it may be enough to prevent the damage from spreading if you have limited time or are low on cash. Large cracks and those near the edge of the glass should be assessed by a professional. In general, cracks that extend to the edge of the glass cannot be repaired.
Stars and Rays
Cracks that look like stars or spiders or that have more than two lines extending from them usually cannot be repaired. They are also dangerous because they compromise the integrity of the windshield to the point that it could shatter. Have a professional examine any star-shaped damage as there is a small chance that it can be repaired. For the most part, damage of this nature will lead to a windshield replacement.
Windshields are subject to a lot of abuse including road grit, UV exposure, massive changes in temperature, and constant vibration from the road. They do their job well, but only when maintained in top shape. If you have damage to your windshield, don’t wait to have it addressed. Changes in temperature or normal road use can result in a small crack turning into a big problem. Have your windshield damage repaired immediately or do it yourself as soon as possible to avoid injury and increased cost down the road.