Stopping a Windshield Crack from Spreading? Is it Possible?

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve been driving down the interstate, and a car changes lanes. From the center of the line, debris in the road is kicked up, and it strikes our windshield. However, what starts out as a small crack can soon become a problem. As pressure is applied to your windshield, or as temperatures change, the crack gets bigger and bigger. Soon, it’s spread across three-quarters of your windshield. This isn’t something that anyone wants to deal with.

Thankfully, windshield cracks can be addressed, even by a do-it-yourselfer. There are several ways to stop a windshield crack from spreading any further than it has. There are even ways to stop a small crack from spreading at all! I’ve dealt with many windshield cracks throughout the years, so If you were unfortunate enough to get one, I might be able to help you.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Crack on Your Windshield

While a cracked windshield seems like just an inconvenience, in reality, it can be a danger to you, as well as other drivers on the road. Windshield cracks often start small, sometimes with a chip or two. There are several different types of windshield cracks, and depending on what you’re dealing with, it may be more detrimental than you think. Here are some ways windshield cracks can present a danger to you or make your life a bit more complicated.

Car Accidents Are More Dangerous

Windshields not only protect you from debris but also they also contribute to the structural integrity of your vehicle. When your windshield is cracked, the glass structure is already compromised. Once weakened, in case of an accident, things might end up quite badly.

When your windshield is cracked, it makes the roof of your vehicle more likely to collapse in the event of a rollover. The windshield is meant to absorb some of that force. If it’s weakened, it can’t do that.

Cracked Windshields Lead to Distracted Driving

A cracked windshield is going to prevent visibility while you’re on the road. This is true whether or not the crack is on the driver’s side or not. Windows, windshields especially, are designed to be clear, allowing you to have your eyes on the road.

Just like if your rear windshield were covered in sticker residue, making it hard to see, a cracked front windshield impairs your vision. This makes it more dangerous to drive and prevents you from driving safely. Some states even issue tickets for having a cracked windshield, precisely because of the danger they present.

They Make Your Vehicle Unpresentable

This is the least important of the issues listed here, but it’s still valid. A cracked windshield is going to make your car look less presentable. It might turn into a big problem if you’re trying to sell your vehicle or if you need to maintain a certain appearance. No one wants to get in a rideshare vehicle if the windshield looks battered.

How to Stop a Windshield Crack From Spreading

When you’ve got a windshield crack that’s started to spread, you want to do what you can to stop it from going any further. Thankfully, there are several ways to do this.

Seal the Crack

Sealing the crack is one of the first things you should do when you notice it’s starting to spread. Windshields are solid pieces of glass that stay in one piece by evenly distributing pressure. Once a chink in the armor has been created, so to speak, the glass is no longer a single piece. It will continue to split since pressure can no longer be evenly distributed.

There are a number of DIY methods to seal a windshield crack. The cheapest way, and by far the easiest, is using clear tape. This is a very temporary solution, and you’ll definitely need to have it replaced soon. If you plan on sealing up your crack with tape, you have to make sure that the crack itself is clean. How? By washing the windshield and drying it. Remember to be gentle, though. Too much pressure might cause further cracking.

You can use something a bit sturdier, like nail polish or super glue, too. Nail polish needs to be acrylic, and it should be clear. The same goes for super glue. However, you shouldn’t expect to stop a crack with expanding glue. Those are better options than the clear tape, but they’re still a temporary solution as they will not hold up forever. You’ll need to schedule repair or replacement sooner rather than later.

Drive Sparingly and Cautiously

We mentioned previously that a cracked windshield no longer distributes pressure evenly. That means that driving will exert pressure unevenly, causing the crack to worsen. This pressure comes from several different sources. Some of the ways that force is exerted on a windshield are listed below:

  • Air pressure when the car is driven – cars push air as they move forward or backward, and that pressure is higher at higher speeds.
  • Driving on uneven surfaces causes vibrations. When the windshield vibrates, it’s continuously jostled and moved, causing issues.
  • Braking exerts pressure on the windshield as the car slows down, and a force opposite the vehicle’s momentum is applied.

Because force can be applied to a windshield in many ways, it’s better to stop driving altogether when you notice a crack forming in your windshield. If you have to drive before the windshield can be repaired, though, take it easy, and don’t drive too quickly. The faster you go, the more force is being exerted on the vehicle and the windshield.

Use a Windshield Repair Kit

Windshield repair kits are a specialized set of tools and adhesives that just about anyone can use to stop their windshield crack from spreading. Think about them as the industrial version of super glue or clear acrylic nail polish. While just about anyone can use them, it’s best if you’re already comfortable with tools. That being said, it’s not too hard for a novice to handle this task.

A standard windshield repair kit will come with a specialized drill bit for glass, as well as a specialized resin. A 1/16 of an inch hole is drilled into the top layer of glass. The resin is then mixed and added to the hole you’ve just drilled. When forced into the hole, the resin mends the glass and reduces the stress on the windshield. With minor cracks, this is often the only repair that you need.

Avoid Drastic Temperature Changes

For the most part, Glass is pretty resilient when it comes to temperature. However, temperature changes will certainly worsen a crack. This comes as a result of expansion and contraction. In hot weather, windshields expand, and in cold weather they contract.

So, if you travel to a different area with a cracked windshield, expect the temperature change to worsen the crack. Much of the time, it happens abruptly, and it may catch you off guard.

How to Prevent a Windshield Crack From Spreading

You won’t have to worry about a crack that’s spreading if you know how to prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you notice a chip or deep scratch in your windshield, or even the beginning of a small crack, there are a few ways to prevent spreading whatsoever.

Be Proactive

When you see the initial crack or chip, immediately seek a repair. Purchase a windshield crack repair kit, or seek a professional. Either way, you’re going to be preventing yourself from a much larger headache in the long run.

Control the Environment

Okay, this one sounds a little grand, but it’s easier than you think. With temperature extremes being a significant contributor to cracking windshields, controlling your car’s environment is key in preserving the windshield. There are a few things to take into consideration:

  • Park your car with purpose. Try to park where there’s shade. If you don’t have a garage at your home, find a parking lot with shade sales. Keeping a car shielded from the sun prevents temperatures from heating up and cooling down too quickly.
  • Don’t blast the A/C if it’s too hot outside. The same thing applies to heaters – if it’s too cold outside, just wear an extra layer of clothes.

The best solution is to keep your car parked in the garage most of the time. The garage is a space that gradually heats up or cools down which means drastic changes won’t happen throughout the day, saving your windshield from cracking as much as it could.

Stop Driving

If your windshield is cracked, you should avoid driving. If you absolutely have to travel somewhere, use a different mode of transportation till you fix your windshield. The more you drive your car, the higher the chances are of the windshield crack continuing to spread. We know this isn’t the most realistic approach for most people. However, it is the best method, by far. If you don’t drive, the windshield won’t be subjected to the stresses that are sure to cause it to crack further.

Schedule a Repair or a Replacement

To stop your windshield from cracking, get it professionally repaired or remove it and replace it with a new one. In reality, a cracked windshield is a compromised windshield. The likelihood of the crack not expanding is low. To prevent further damage, as well as the possible danger a cracked windshield can present, plan on getting it repaired or replaced.

Some windshields can be repaired, thankfully. Even if it can’t be repaired, windshield replacement is pretty easy and can be done in a single day. Most professional repair services send the mechanic to you, too, making it easier than ever to get this service done.

Conclusion

Most people will have to deal with a cracked windshield at one point or another, and the worst part about a cracked windshield is that it only gets worse, though.

As a crack spreads throughout a windshield, it becomes more dangerous. It compromises the structural integrity of your vehicle, and it obstructs your vision while driving. There are several ways to keep cracks from spreading, thankfully. You can opt for a DIY repair kit, or you can use some of the materials you have in your own home. You can also prevent cracks from getting worse when you drive smart and pay attention to the environment you put your car in.

No matter how you handle it, it’s important to remember that a cracked windshield will need to be replaced. You have to think about safety first. Do everything you can to prevent cracks from spreading, but be sure to schedule professional services to get it repaired or replaced, too. As always, safe driving!

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Last update on 2022-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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