A broken windshield is a common mishap. It happens to all of our vehicles at some point. Your windshield can break in a variety of ways, from rocks flying on the highway to vandalism to falling branches. No matter how your windshield breaks, you will want to be sure to get it fixed right away.
What to Do with a Chipped Windshield
If the windshield is merely chipped (smaller than the size of a quarter) or if the windshield is cracked but the crack is shorter than 14 inches, you may be able to get it repaired without having to get an entirely new windshield. An auto glass professional will know if you can, as it depends on the size, type and location of the crack. Getting your windshield repaired is usually very inexpensive and preserves the factory seal of your windshield if the windshield has never been replaced before. Additionally, windshield repair is good for the environment, as it cuts down on the amount of glass going into the landfills. The disadvantages of windshield repair are that the chip or crack in the windshield will likely still be slightly visible; the repair can’t make it disappear completely. Likewise, it is possible that the crack or chip might still expand and you may still end up having to get the windshield replaced.
What to Do with a Cracked Windshield
In a replacement, the technician will remove the entire piece of glass and replace it with a new one, adhered with a special adhesive that will hold the glass in place. Many people don’t realize that the windshield is an important part of the vehicle’s safety system and helps to support the roof of the vehicle in the event of a crash. It is important to find a technician or shop trained in windshield replacements, and one that follows the AGRSS™ Standard (ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS 003-2015 Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard). The AGRSS Standard addresses procedures, education and product performance related to windshield replacements. The disadvantage of windshield replacement is that you will lose your original factory seal, if your windshield has never been replaced before, but oftentimes there is no choice but to have your windshield completely replaced.
How to Find a Shop
Whether you need a windshield repair or replacement, you can find a shop to do the work on Glass.com using our shop locator service. Be sure to utilize our glass.com auto glass shop locator service and get free quotes for your windshield repair or replacement today.
Does My Insurance Cover That?
First things first, insurance policies vary by provider and the state in which your vehicle is registered. If your windshield has been damaged and needs a repair, always make sure to check your insurance coverage to know what your policy provides. That being said, let’s look into how insurance companies typically handle a deductible for windshield repair.
There are two types of automotive insurance: collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. If your windshield just needs a repair due to minor chips and cracks from road debris, comprehensive coverage will usually cover the cost of the repair.
If your vehicle’s windshield has minor damage and doesn’t need to be replaced, most insurance companies will cover the cost without a deductible to avoid having to pay a larger amount for a replacement if the damage goes unfixed. But, other insurers don’t cover the cost of a repair at all.
Do I Have to Pay a Deductible?
There’s no definite answer to whether or not you’ll have to pay a deductible to have your windshield repaired. That will be determined by your policy and your state’s law. Some states have a zero-deductible policy and others don’t. If you’re unsure, check your state’s DMV website.
How Long Does a Windshield Last?
While the lifetime of glass alone could last a million plus years, it’s quite possible the windshield in your car will need repair or replacement before you’re on to your next vehicle. Cracks and chips happen for many different reasons, such as impact from rocks and debris as well as extreme temperature changes. Another important detail when it comes to windshields is the adhesive used to hold it in place.
In most vehicles, windshields are designed as a structural component. Auto makers often use high-modulus polyurethane adhesives to hold the windshield in place. Unfortunately, adhesion failure can happen if the material pulls loose at the surface from the windshield.
Urethane breakdown, for example, can happen when the urethane is exposed to ultraviolet light. If this happens it will look like chalky black powder on the surface of the hardened adhesive. Extrusion failure may also occur. This happens when a sealant is forced too far out of the joint.
Aside from adhesive issues, there are other failures that can happen to the glass that are not related to cracks and chips. Since a windshield is a laminated glass sandwich—two pieces of glass with a layer of plastic in between–there’s also a chance of delamination. This is a failure of the bond between layers, such as the windshield glass pulling away from the laminate in between.
Finally, there is the issue of glass deterioration over time. Tiny, miniscule pits occur and, though they do not require repair, eventually they can change the refractive index of the glass leading to a distorted view.
While problems and failures can happen, it’s important to keep in mind that both material and the assembly process quality have improved dramatically in recent years. Concerns over potential windshield failures are a much greater factor in older vehicles than those being made today. Many vehicles can go a lifetime without needing a replacement. Some experts, however, say the average expectancy is about eight years.
Getting it Fixed
You’re likely wondering where the best place to get your windshield replaced is. Your insurer may attempt to direct you to an auto glass repair shop to have your windshield fixed. However, you are always free to choose a repair shop or technician of your choice. It’s important to be aware of your options, so when it’s time to choose an auto glass repair shop, be sure to check Glass.com for a complete list of reputable companies and technicians.