Broken Windshield – What To Do With Chipped or Cracked Windshield

For anyone who drives, there comes a time when we experience a chipped, cracked or broken windshield. While it’s not the end of the world, it surely can feel like it when it happens to you, especially as you know that it could end up costing you a lot of money to replace. Even the smallest of chips in the glass can quickly spread into a large crack and will need replacing.

Fortunately, if the chip is small, there are a number of ways to prolong the life of a chipped windshield by limiting the damage, and you can even perform any necessary repairs yourself, keeping costs to a minimum. For those who would rather avoid the DIY route, there are plenty of options for obtaining professional repair help.

If you’re worried about a damaged windshield falling out while driving over a large pothole, just know that it is highly unlikely. Windshields are made up of a high-strength mix of tempered safety glass and clear plastic. The plastic is sandwiched between two layers of glass, meaning that the chip or crack would have to break through three strong layers in order fail completely and cause the windshield to fall out.

Take a look at the tips below to avoid causing further Damage to Your Broken Windshield:

#1 Beware of Drastic Temperature Changes

We know you can’t control the weather, but you can control the temperature in your vehicle. By using air conditioning or heat in your car, you create extreme changes in your vehicle as compared to outside your vehicle. And it is those harsh changes that can weaken an already damaged windshield.

The cold weather will quickly cool the windshield’s surface temperature. Then, when you switch on the defroster to clear the windshield before you drive to work or you park the car in the sunlight, the uneven heating of the window adds stress to the weak spot which can rapidly turn into that dreaded crack.

By the same token, a chip that occurs in summer can lead to a crack in the winter. Most people like to drive in the warmer months and more driving results in more vibration. This can cause even the smallest chip to rapidly expand into a cracked windshield if gone unchecked, which will eventually need replacing.

The best way to avoid further damage is to leave your defroster, heater, and air conditioner off, and don’t park in direct sunlight until you get your broken windshield repaired.

This is considered to be a short-term solution. Another short-term solution would be to avoid machine car washes until the crack is fixed. This may add extra pressure and cause further breakage. Even hand washing with soap and water may contaminate the area and make repairs harder to perform.

#2 Perform Regular Inspections

Less than 20% of drivers scan the entire windshield for cracks each time they get behind the wheel.

Checking for small cracks regularly is the best way to catch a crack early and prevent long-term damage to your windshield. It is especially important to inspect your windshield after hail storms, long journeys, or when following large construction equipment, from which debris and small rocks often fall.

If your windshield has been repaired in the past, you should check more frequently, as the repair puts your windshield at greater risk for future cracks.

#3 The DIY Windshield Repair Route

Auto Glass Crack Repair Kits are very easy to come by. However, it is important to note that the work they do is not equal to the job done by a professional auto glass repair expert. Many people have no problems with these kits, but performing the repair on your own in unstable conditions can actually make the problem worse.

That is why if you do use a kit at home, do the repair in a garage within a normal temperature range–not too cold, not too hot. Then, make sure the crack is free of any dust or residue before beginning the process.

If you do it right, you could save money, time, and a lot of hassle. If you do it wrong, you may need a professional help to fix your attempted repair job so no further damage is done.

#4 When to Visit a Professional

Once the crack begins to expand, you will need to take the vehicle into an auto glass professional. Fixing large cracks without the resources that a professional has is highly discouraged.

Of course, if the broken windshield is beyond repair and a replacement is needed, professional help will be necessary to install the new windshield.

A Few More Repair Tips:

  • Take a close look at the chip in your windshield. Should it look a little like a small star or a circle deep in the glass (cone shaped), take your car in to get the windshield repaired as soon as you can. These types of chips can rapidly transform into a heavily cracked windshield and will need replacing.
  • Driving on almost any road causes a certain degree of vibration throughout the vehicle. Should your windshield suffer from a chip, this vibration can intensify around the weak spot and cause it to spread into a large crack in no time at all.
  • If you have any clear tape to hand, such as sticky tape, place it over the chip as a temporary measure. This won’t stop the chip from increasing, but will slow down the process and will help prevent contamination.
  • Though it may seem obvious, try closing your car door softly and with the windows partially open. In this way, it reduces the risk of a build-up of air pressure in the vehicle and reduces vibration which can cause the chip to spread rapidly.

Definitely DO NOT:

  • Rely on the tape as a long-term fix;
  • Use super glue as a “permanent” solution;
  • Think clear nail polish will work on your broken windshield;
  • Fall for the “special” band-aid for windshields scam.

#5 The Easiest Solution of All

Easier than repairing or replacing any broken windshield is maintaining its condition in the first place. Of course, you sometimes can’t avoid getting a crack, but it’s always best to try to avoid it anyway. Don’t wait until you have a damaged windshield to start really caring for auto glass. Maintain the windshield year round and prevent the glass from needing repairs using these tips:

  • Be sure to wash the glass regularly using a microfiber cloth and a high-quality windshield cleaner.
  • Avoid washing your windshield under bright sunlight; instead, wash when the sun isn’t as bright.
  • Avoid using household products and detergents to wash your windshield.
  • Keep ammonia away from your windshield. One such product that contains ammonia is Windex.
  • Use WD-40 if you need to remove a sticker or a decal off your windshield.
  • Never scratch the windshield with car keys to remove stickers.
  • Wash windshield wipers often.
  • Replace old windshield wipers before they damage the glass.

Should you see a chip in your windshield, take immediate action. By doing this, you’ll have a smile on your face when don’t have to pay for a new windshield and you see that money staying in your pocket.