Cracks and chips on your windshield aren’t just eyesores that decrease the value of your vehicle. Windshields on newer cars are designed to protect you and your passengers in case of an accident. The windshield is an important part of the structural integrity of your car. There are many different types of windshield cracks, but most are caused by a direct impact. Although you cannot predict when you could get hit, there are ways to avoid some situations which could crack or chip your windshield.
Common Types of Windshield Damage
- Crack – This looks like a line in the windshield. Typically, if the crack is less than 1 inch long and doesn’t have other lines extending from it, it can be repaired.
- Chip – In this type of damage, a small piece of glass is missing from the windshield. Usually, it occurs when a piece of rock hits the glass. Chips less than 1 inch in diameter without any cracks extending from it can usually be repaired or filled.
- Bulls-Eye – Your windshield will have what looks like a target on it. You will see the point of impact. There will be circular damage around it. Generally, this type of damage requires a full windshield replacement.
- Stars – A star is a small chip with cracks extending from it. Depending on its size, a star might be able to be repaired. However, once it is filled in, the damage will be visible.
How To Avoid Windshield Cracks
Although you cannot prevent all windshield cracks, you can take care of your car to avoid damage to the windshield and prevent small dings from getting worse:
- Avoid extreme temperatures.
When it’s very cold, turn the defroster up gradually to prevent the windshield from cracking. If possible, park your car out of the sun. Heat causes the glass to expand, which can make a crack or chip worse. Direct sunlight isn’t good for cars. The casing and the seal around the windshield absorb heat, which is transferred to the glass. On its own, the heat probably won’t crack the windshield, but it does make it less stable. A small impact could cause a cracked windshield.
- Keep your windshield clean.
If you have a crack or chip that hasn’t been repaired yet, you should guard it against dirt and moisture, which can make repairs more complicated. Windshield wiper fluid contains dyes, which can discolor the area. When the chip is filled and repaired, the result won’t be smooth and clean.
- Drive carefully.
Commonly, the rocks and debris that hit your car come from the vehicles in front of you. When you’re traveling on a gravel road, stay a safe distance behind other vehicles. You can even get gravel damage from well-maintained roads. If you are spinning gravel into the air, slow down. Don’t follow construction vehicles too close. Dirt, rocks, and other materials can fall off and damage your car.Hail may not be a common occurrence in Phoenix, but you may one day find yourself driving in it. Slowing down during a hail storm can lessen the force of impact on your windshield and prevent other accidents. If the weather forecast calls for hail, park your car in the garage, under a carport, or somewhere shaded to keep your car from taking a direct hit. Don’t drive in a dust storm.
- Check your windshield.
Tiny cracks or chips might be hard to notice when you’re driving. It’s a good idea to inspect your windshield periodically. Repairing smaller issues quickly will prevent them from turning into major problems requiring a full windshield replacement. The time your car is in the shop will be reduced, too. Most cracks and chips can be repaired in 60 minutes or less.
An Ounce of Prevention
Avoiding windshield chips might seem like an impossible task. When you see a chip or crack, it’s best to get it repaired quickly. Many comprehensive auto insurance plans cover the cost of fixing small chips and cracks. Even without insurance, windshield chip repair is much less expensive than it is to replace the entire windshield.