Windshield repair is a much talked about subject these days, especially with all the news stories about companies miss-selling windshield replacement jobs when a simple repair would have been much quicker and cheaper. Let’s discuss broken windscreen repair in more detail.
Should you replace or repair?
This question can be hard to answer, especially if you have no experience in the matter. For instance, some insurance companies will only provide cover for certain types of jobs, plus there’s all the State regulations to deal with, too! So, how do you figure out whether you should get your damaged windshield repaired or replaced? The very first thing that you have to find out is whether the damage is repairable. The most important factors to be taken into consideration are the size, type, and location of the damage. Here are just a few guidelines:
- Is the crack, chip or scratch is small – it can probably be repaired.
- Cracks and other damage around the edges of the glass are harder to treat and may require replacement.
- Damage directly in the driver’s line of sight may not qualify for repair, especially if the crack has already filled up with dust or is relatively large in size. That’s because most repair jobs leave some distortion on the glass, which can affect the driver’s vision.
- Some States have special inspection laws that prohibit certain types of damage from being repaired.
- If a significant amount of time has passed since damage occurred, repairing the windshield might not be an option due to dust/dirt accumulation as well as the damage spreading to surrounding areas.
In general, all repair/replacement jobs are assessed on a case by case basis – see a competent technician for help!
Types of windshield damage
Next let’s talk about various types of car windscreen damage and how it is usually repaired. Glass scratches: a scratch in the glass is a bit similar to a crack, except it does not go all the way through the glass. Most scratches can be repaired without problems, as long as you take action immediately in order to prevent dust and dirt from clogging up the area. In many cases, tiny scratches that are not deep can be polished away using a glass repair DYI kit (see our review of top windshield repair kits here). All deeper scratches should be fixed by experienced technicians. Cracked windshield glass: windshield cracks come in many types, forms and shapes. This is what you need to know about windshield crack repair:
- Cracks towards the center of the glass are generally easier to repair.
- Cracks that reach the edges of the glass are usually impossible to patch up.
- Cracks spread fast – often starting as a small chip – which makes it very important that you get them fixed ASAP.
- There’s a special type of glass cracks called stress cracks. These types of cracks are very dangerous and normally appear due to various external factors such as extreme temperature fluctuations, very strong wind, shockwaves, etc. Most stress related windshield cracks are not repairable.
Windshield chips: chips are the most common type of windshield damage. They occur when small objects (tiny rocks and other debris) hit the windshield leaving a tiny, “chipped” area on the surface. Now, while most people see this type of damage as minor, it is actually a major cause for concern and should be repaired as quickly as possible. Here’s why:
- Even the tiniest chips can develop into cracks! This happens due to temperature changes in the environment, extremely strong wind, use of various windshield-care products, etc.
- If left untreated, windshield chips often become non-repairable. That’s because they fill up with dirt very fast, changing the coloration of the area for good.
As you can see, windshield glass repair is a pretty complicated process with a myriad of possible options. If you find yourself unsure about the best way to handle a damaged windshield, the best thing to do is to seek help from a professional auto glass repair specialist.