A cracked windshield can be one of the most frustrating auto repairs. When you’re driving down the highway and you hear the sound of a rock hitting your windshield, you cringe.
It’s one of those things that you can’t prevent. And it can be a costly fix.
If a rock leaves a chip in your windshield, you might be able to have it repaired without replacing the glass. But if you watch a crack slowly grow across your windshield, it’s time for a repair.
While some car repairs are DIY, a cracked windshield is not a repair you should do yourself.
Here is the ultimate guide for what to do with a windshield crack.
Why Fix a Crack?
A cracked windshield is a safety hazard.
Not only does a large windshield crack impair how well you can see while you drive, but the crack in the glass also weakens the strength of your windshield.
A car’s windshield protects you from wind, rain, and objects that hit your car. It’s frustrating when that rock hits your windshield and causes damage.
But it would be much worse for that rock to break through a cracked windshield and hurt you or a loved one inside the car.
You might think a small crack is not a big deal. It can wait.
But with most cracks in a windshield, they grow over time. Heat and other weather conditions cause a crack to spread across the windshield.
When you first see a crack, call someone to repair it right away. If it’s a small crack, there’s a good possibility a fill will do the job.
But as the crack grows, repair is no longer an option. You’ll need a full windshield replacement.
Small Fixes Save Money
If you’re dealing with a chip or a small crack, you’ll save money on a quick repair. Waiting and allowing the crack to grow gets expensive.
In general, a crack smaller than three inches or a chip smaller than a quarter is the industry standard for repair. Hold a dollar bill up to a crack in the windshield. If the crack fits underneath the bill, there’s a good chance a repair will work.
Check your insurance policy. If it covers windshield repair, contact your insurance agency and file a claim.
They might require you to use a specific repair company. But if they pay for it, you’ll save money that way.
But if windshield repair falls under your deductible or your insurance doesn’t cover it, shop around for the best price with a repair service you trust.
Many times, repairing a small chip or crack is not an expensive repair. You’ll find it’s less money out of pocket than paying your full deductible.
That’s why it’s important to act fast. Don’t put off a repair.
What Is Crack Repair vs. Windshield Replacement?
If you’re able to repair a chip or crack in your windshield, you won’t need a new windshield. A good repair job saves you from a full replacement.
Crack or Chip Repair
A repair technician injects a special resin into the damaged area of your windshield. Windshields are a thin layer of plastic between two layers of glass. Pressure and heat fuse the three layers together to form a windshield.
Injecting resin into the hole or a small crack helps strengthen the layers of the windshield.
The repair job includes buffing the chip or crack after it’s filled. The damaged area won’t be perfect. But it will blend into your windshield.
With a good repair, the crack no longer blocks your sight through the windshield. And the structure of your windshield will safely hold.
If the crack is too large or the chip is too big, you’ll need a full windshield repair.
When a crack is too large, filling it with resin is not a good solution. The windshield is too weak for a safe repair at that point.
When a technician replaces your cracked windshield, they replace it with the size and shape that fits your car.
The technician removes the damaged windshield. They’ll also clear out any sealant and debris from where the windshield sits in your car.
While a new windshield won’t be exactly the same as your factory windshield, the new one should fit snugly and seal properly. A top-notch windshield repair technician will also salvage any registration stickers from your old windshield, if possible.
Finding a Repair Shop
Shop around to find the best windshield repair or replacement service.
It’s tempting to go for a cheap repair. But don’t trust the lowest price to save a few dollars.
Look online or ask a friend for a good windshield repair or replacement recommendation. Get a few estimates, then compare.
Make sure the shop uses factory-quality auto glass. Replacement glass should be the same or better than the original windshield.
Avoid cheap auto glass. With a cheap replacement, your windshield becomes more susceptible to another crack or chip the next time a rock hits it.
Mobile Repair Comes to You
It’s a hassle to find time in your day to take your car in for a windshield repair.
But there are good options for mobile repair. A repair service like this company orders your new glass. Then they schedule a time and send a technician to work on your car while you’re at work or home with the kids.
Take Quick Action for a Windshield Crack
In 2018, the auto glass repair industry was a $5 billion industry. But there’s no need for you to pay more toward that growing industry than you should.
Save money by acting quickly when you see a windshield crack. Stop a small crack or chip from growing into a more expensive repair. Schedule a repair as soon as you see damage to your windshield.
Remember, owning a car means you are legally liable to keep it in safe working condition. Read here about the importance of maintaining a safe vehicle for yourself and others on the road.