Picture this: you’re cruising down the freeway on a bright, sunny day when you hear the familiar sound of a rock hit and bounce off your windshield. You immediately identify a chip in your windshield and wonder if it’s small enough to be repaired or if the whole windshield will need to be replaced. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions:
A star break, chip, pit, or bullseye are typically the kinds of chips you’ll notice on your windshield when any sort of debris damages the glass. You may have questions such as:
Q: Is it repairable?
A: The answer depends on how deep it has penetrated the glass, the size of the blemish, and its location on the glass. Windshields are constructed of three layers of glass; the top and bottom layers are constructed of a heavy-duty laminated glass with the center made of a thin plastic membrane that allows the windshield to crack as opposed to shatter when stricken. Damage beyond the top layer, that is larger than the size of a dime, or that is in the line of sight for the driver, cannot be repaired and instead must be replaced.
Q: Will the chip disappear entirely, making my windshield look new again?
A: No, chip repairs are not for cosmetic purposes. Repairs are performed to prevent the likelihood of the chip spreading to a crack, which would require replacement.
Q: How long does a repair take?
A: Chip repairs are a fairly simple process and can be completed in thirty minutes or less.
A crack stretched across the windshield is an indication that it’s time to replace your windshield. Waiting too long could be dangerous as it could obstruct your view of the road and could get you ticketed. You may have questions such as:
Q: Can I drive away immediately?
A: Not recommended. You should allow for at least three hours for the urethane to “cure” in the sun.
Q: Why does it have to cure?
A: Windshields are a structural part of the vehicle. Because the adhesive is part of the structural integrity of the vehicle, curing allows the glue (urethane) to adhere to the chassis. Not doing so could result in a shift in the windshield while driving. The windshield is an integral part of the vehicle’s safety infrastructure and a crack can impede the air bag’s deployment. The windshield is designed to keep passengers in the vehicle in the event of a collision. If a crack is present, it makes the windshield more vulnerable, preventing it from doing its job.
Q: How much will a new windshield cost?
A: The cost can vary depending on the kind of glass your vehicle requires, whether you prefer dealer, OEM, aftermarket, or performance quality glass. Many newer vehicles today are equipped with options that are embedded in the windshields such as condensation sensors, review mirror auto-dimming, lane departure warnings, anti-collision sensors, and built-in front cameras that could affect the cost of the windshield.
Q: Does quality matter?
A: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) glass is made to the exact specifications of the vehicle and is a great option for glass replacement versus dealer manufactured glass. Because dealer manufactured glass is often more expensive than OEM, you’ll want to check to make sure your insurance will cover the additional expense.
Q: What’s the difference between my windshield and side or rear window glass?
A: Door, side, and rear glasses are made of solid, tempered glass that is made to break apart. This glass material has gone through a thermal curing process making it heat resistant and much stronger than standard glass. Rather than cracking, upon impact, the entire window will shatter into small oval nuggets, with minimal risk of injury for passengers.