“It’s just a little chip,” you may be thinking. A slight chip in your windshield seems harmless enough, since it may hardly be noticeable at quick glance and doesn’t really affect your driving visibility. However, when neglected, even the smallest windshield chip can turn into a crack and spread—jeopardizing your safety, putting you at risk for a ticket and creating a much more expensive problem than you had before. With a windshield chip, it’s better to nip this one in the bud.
When your windshield is broken or shattered, as opposed to merely damaged, you should look to replace it immediately. It’s unsafe (and illegal in many states) to operate a vehicle with a broken windshield.
If your windshield isn’t shattered but has a sizable crack in it, you’ll still want to get it evaluated by a professional as soon as possible. Keep in mind that cracks more than 14 inches should never be repaired. While it might appear safe, the structural integrity of the windshield has probably been severely compromised. That means it could shatter at any time, injuring occupants of the vehicle or causing the driver to crash.
The Standard says windshield replacement is required in cases of damage:
Repair technicians should consult and follow any vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before performing a repair on any value-added feature.
The following are situations where the windshield should be repaired:
Replacement is also required if the damage occurs in the Driver’s Primary Viewing Area (DPVA) if:
Beyond safety considerations, driving with a cracked windshield could violate laws in your state.
In New York, you won’t be able to pass inspection if you have a crack more than 11 inches long, or a star-shaped crack that’s more than three inches in diameter. In Virginia, you’ll fail inspection if there is a pit, chip or star break larger than 1-inches in diameter at any location in the windshield three inches above the bottom, or if a crack weakens the windshield so that one piece can move in relation to the other. So be sure to check the laws in your state.
Using a professional is always recommended. A qualified technician who follows the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) will ensure it is repaired safely and effectively.
A do-it-yourself fix is intriguing. However, most of the “affordable” DIY kits on the market can be comparable in cost to a professional repair when factoring in the time… not to mention the experience of a trained and seasoned technician. Keep in mind, they’re also using tools that cost thousands of dollars.
The technician will use repair techniques such as drilling and flexing and will fill the chip or small crack with resin, using proper methods of contaminate prevention and curing.
To learn more about when a windshield can be repaired versus replaced, visit the website of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the safe repair of windshields. It established the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS™). That standard describes when repair of a windshield can be made.
Qualified professional companies on Glass.com can handle chip repairs large and small, simple or complicated. Most technicians offer in-shop or mobile services for your convenience, so find a professional near you at Glass.com. When it comes to a chip, always nip.
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