When your windshield has sustained a chip or crack, obviously the best course of action is to have it repaired immediately. However, due to time constraints or financial issues, this may not be possible right away. If you have to wait a few days or weeks before consulting a windshield repair technician, there are a few things you can do in the meantime to protect your car.
First of all, the most important thing is to never drive if the chip or crack obstructs your view. This can be more dangerous than you would think, and you may end up with a completely wrecked car instead of just a windshield crack. Also, never drive if a chip is larger than a quarter or a crack is longer than 12 inches, even if you think you can see just fine. With larger areas of damage such as these, the integrity of the windshield is most likely compromised. If you experience a collision in a car with a badly damaged windshield, the risk of injury or death is much higher. This is because the windshield provides important structural support to the roof of the car, as well as support for airbag deployment.
If you can drive the car safely, there are plenty of things you can do for a short time to prevent the crack or chip from growing larger. Here are some do’s and don’ts.
- Placing clear masking tape over the area of damage will help keep dirt out of the crack, which will make the eventual repair more effective. Only do this, however, if the tape will not be in your direct line of sight and obstruct your vision. Don’t wash your car either, or you can force water into the crack.
- Extreme variations in temperature can cause a crack to grow, so don’t pour warm water on an icy windshield or blast it with your defroster on the high setting. Since sunlight can heat a car very quickly to high degrees, park only in the shade or inside a garage if possible. During the summer, don’t cool a very hot car by blasting the air conditioner. Allow it to air out by opening doors and windows, and run the cold air on low or medium. This will prevent quick changes in temperature that can cause glass to crack.
- Jolting the windshield can also cause damage to spread. Don’t slam car doors, and be aware that a stereo with very powerful bass can rattle the glass and enlarge any existing cracks or chips. Hitting speed bumps or potholes at high speeds can also cause further damage to the windshield.
One of the most important things you should do is to call your insurance company and ask about glass repair. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that the repair is covered under your policy, and you won’t have to wait until payday to get it fixed. This is really the best course of action, because this type of repair should not be postponed any longer than absolutely necessary.