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Author’s Note: This post was originally published on the official blog of Protech Auto Glass. The original post can be found here: http://www.weareprotech.com/blog/243-when-should-a-cracked-windshield-be-replaced. This post has been republished here with the permission of the author. For any queries related to reprinting or republishing of this post, kindly contact the author.
There’s nothing worse than waking up to discover that a seemingly innocent rock chip on your car windshield has turned into a large crack. If this happens, it’s time to schedule a windshield repair or replacement as soon as possible. How will you know if you need a complete windshield replacement instead of just a simple repair?
SIZE OF CRACK
One of the main factors that determines if a windshield should be replaced is the size of the crack. Generally speaking, most smaller cracks can be repaired. If the crack is longer than 3 inches, however, most repair shops will recommend replacement.
The windshield is responsible for supporting the roof and frame of your car. This is especially important in the event of an accident or rollover. A windshield that has a large crack is more likely to collapse under pressure. This could lead to severe injury during a collision.
LOCATION OF CRACK
Where the crack is located is also important to note. Many small cracks in the center of the glass may be successfully repaired. However, cracks that reach the outermost edge of the glass should be replaced. This is even true for smaller cracks.
If a small crack is blocking the driver’s line of vision, the repair shop may suggest replacement. Even though this crack may be fixed, it could still cause distorted vision. Keeping your line of vision clear will make sure that you can easily see everything coming at you on the road.
DEPTH OF CRACK
Not all cracks are created equal. Some cracks are very shallow, while others go deeper into the glass. Shallow cracks are much simpler to repair with resin, but deeper ones may have compromised the windshield too much. In this instance, replacement is needed.
Vehicle windshields are actually made up of three different layers. The outermost and innermost layers are glass, while the middle layer is a strong plastic material. This middle layer keeps the glass from shattering during impact. Whenever a crack reaches both layers of the glass, replacement is justified. The glass is too weak to be repaired.
AGE OF GLASS
If your windshield is many years old, it may have too much damage to repair. If the repair shop notices a lot of pitting or other unattended chips, they may feel the glass is too compromised to simply repair it. Repairs on older glass are also more likely to fail.
Your safety is in jeopardy if you are driving around with a cracked windshield. Most insurance companies will require you to pay your deductible to cover the cost of a windshield replacement, especially if you have a lower deductible. That’s why repairing small chips before they turn into cracks is suggested if you want to save money.
If you notice a crack spreading on your windshield, be sure to have it inspected by a glass repair shop as soon as possible. While today’s technology makes it possible to simply repair minor damage, more severe cracks need to be replaced. The size, location, and depth of the crack all play a factor, as does the age of the glass.