You’re traveling down the road when bam. A rock hits your windshield and the next thing you know there’s a crack streaking across your windshield. What do you do?
It’s easy to pass off what starts out as a tiny crack in your windshield, because it’s just that—tiny. But that small crack can spread quickly to a major issue—literally. Driving with a damaged windshield can be a life safety issue for both you and the passengers in your car. The sooner you can take care of it, either with repair or replacement, the safer you’ll be and less costly the damage will be to correct.
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One of the biggest issues with a cracked windshield is that it can interfere with your line of sight while driving. This can make it difficult for the driver to have a clear view. In fact, in many states it’s actually illegal to drive with a cracked windshield. As an example, if the windshield crack is too long, a vehicle will not pass inspection. To ensure a safe driving experience, the sooner you can take care of the crack the better.
Many times, the damage can be repaired, rather than requiring the time or money necessary to replace the entire windshield. Repair is far less costly than a full replacement. Small chips usually are easy to fix, but larger ones will most likely need a replacement.Get an Estimate
The National Windshield Repair Association is a not-for-profit organization that has established The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS™), which details when glass can be repaired rather than replaced. While it isn’t written in laymen’s terms, this Standard is something to consider reviewing. It outlines the repair process and what damage is repairable.
The two words may seem synonymous, but when it comes to your windshield, they are two different problems. In short, a chip is a nick on your glass. Without treatment, it can spread into a crack, which may require replacement.
Once you’ve established the type of damage that’s been done, it’ll be easier to determine what type of fix is needed.
We recommend having a chip or crack professionally evaluated by a qualified technician to ensure it can be repaired safely, and there are many auto glass companies that offer mobile repair services.
Repair kits are available, though we believe it best to have your damage assessed by a trained professional who follows the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) for repair and the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS) for replacement.
When a technician is called to repair a damaged windshield, they’re essentially filling the chip or crack with repair resin. It may sound simple, but there’s much more to the process that an untrained person might not be able to perform.
If it can be repaired, the technician will usually use a repair bridge, resin and a drill. The drill allows him to access the chip or crack to ensure he can fill all the damage with a specially designed resin. Once he has drilled the area, he will insert the resin into the chip or crack, ensuring that is fills all of the damage.
To ensure the resin hardens, the technician will often apply a UV light. While the sun may also work, the UV light is designed specially to encourage the resin to cure, or harden, as quickly as possible. Once the job is complete, your windshield’s structural integrity has been restored.
However, some technicians will assess the damage and encourage you to replace the windshield rather than get it repaired. More often than not, automotive glass companies offer both repair and replacement services and so the same company can take care of your replacement. But ultimately, when your windshield is damaged, it’s best to leave it up to the professionals to decide the best option for you based on the damage.
While the cost of a new windshield is more expensive than repair, replacement is necessary to ensure a safe—and legal—driving experience. Remember, many insurance policies will cover windshield replacement, but be sure to contact your provider for the details.
Your driving experience should be safe for you, your passengers and other drivers. If you have a cracked windshield in need of repair or replacement, Glass.com is here to help and can connect you with trusted vendors in your area.
Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted. You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.
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