You noticed a few chips and cracks in your windshield and had decided that the integrity of the windshield has surely been compromised. Is it finally time to replace it before one more rock hits it and it shatters while driving? Obviously, being able to see out of your windshield is extremely important to your safety.
People sometimes think that replacing the windshield is a big hassle and tend to put it off for as long as they can. They do this because they might not be fully aware of everything that goes into replacing the glass and how long it takes.
I will be going through the process and hopefully can ease your mind. I help you to decide that now is the right time to replace and it isn’t as big a deal as you might have made it out to be in your head.
Safety Concerns of Broken Windshields
There are several ways your windshield may have become cracked or broken, but it was most likely caused by flying rocks or other airborne debris. Chips and cracks in your windshield can weaken the overall structural integrity of the glass and can pose an array of different safety concerns including, but not limited to:
1. Ejection from the Vehicle
The windshield is the last line of defense you have after your seat belt if you are involved in a collision. If the windshield is cracked or broken, you have lost this crucial barrier.
2. Airbag Deployment Problems
When an airbag deploys, it uses the windshield to push it toward the passenger. If the windshield is broken, then it cannot properly deploy toward the passenger in a collision. Instead, it could go the opposite direction and deploy itself outside of the car through the window, instead of in where it is needed.
3. Impaired View
A crack can cause the driver’s view to become severely impaired which poses a variety of safety concerns for everyone. The crack makes it harder to see any obstacles there might be, as well as other cars and even pedestrians. It can also prove to be an unwanted distraction for the driver overall.
The Law Concerning Windshields
Your windshield is considered a safety feature of your vehicle and the law states that all safety devices need to be fully operational. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) requires that the glass is strong enough to hold the windshield together during a collision. They also require that the adhesive is six times stronger for cars that include passenger side airbags. (For state-by-state information about what insurance covers, whether insurance can use aftermarket parts, and more, check out our State-by-State Page.)
How Long Does Replacement Take?
Most windshield replacements, when done by a reputable company, can be done between 30 and 60 minutes. It takes no time at all to do, but it is also recommended that you do not drive the vehicle for an additional 60 minutes after the glass has been replaced; this means you are looking at about two hours in total from start to finish.
If you have a vehicle with passenger side airbags, then the time could be extended. Because the adhesive needs to be stronger and may take longer to cure. To comply with the laws and safety standards, you should strive to find a trained and certified technician. That only uses products that meet FMVSS standards. They should also be able to provide you with a written warranty and a record of the work that they have completed.
Before installation, the technician will go over exactly how long the work is estimated to take. And will discuss any concerns you may have. They will inform you of the type of glass and adhesive that must be used. And will ensure that your car will once again be safe to drive in different weather conditions.
Is the Windshield Repairable?
Most smaller chips and cracks can just be repaired and may not require the entire windshield to be replaced. Repairs come down to four different factors such as the size, type, depth, and location of the damage.
Most repair companies can repair cracks and chips that are one inch in diameter or up to three inches long.
There are several different types of cracks:
• Star Breaks are short radial cracks that come from the point of impact
• Circular objects usually cause Bulls Eye cracks
• Half Moon cracks are also caused by circular objects, but the damage is not entirely circular in appearance
• Crack chips are single cracks that are usually only the size of a quarter; they are also referred to as dings
• Pits are just small areas of missing glass
Repairs are discussed on an individual basis. You should keep in mind that it might be best just completely to replace the entire windshield. It is best to replace a windshield where there is a shelter. Adverse weather conditions can cause complications, and it may take longer for the glue to dry and cure.