Don't let the small crack or chip in your car's windshield become a bigger problem
No matter how attentive and careful you are when driving, there's no way to fully avoid stones or other debris occasionally hitting your windshield. This means that small chips or cracks in the windshield are inevitable - whether it's from small stones flicked up by vehicles ahead of you or as a result of some other hazard next to the road, even a small chip in the glass can become a larger crack that you need to deal with.
Not only will knowing how to repair a cracked or chipped windshield save you time and money but having the damage sorted out as quickly as possible is important to your safety, too. Here's why it's important and how to determine whether or not you can fix your car's cracked or chipped windshield or if you should rather opt for a front windshield replacement.
Before we deal with whether you can fix a cracked windshield or should just replace it, you should take note of why a windshield that is undamaged is important. The role of a windshield is to firstly protect the occupants of the car from wind, debris, dust, bugs, and the elements as you drive. It also helps to ensure you have a clear vision of the road ahead. But there is another important function: safety.
Did you know that your car's windshield provides up to 40% of the structural strength for your car's roof? The support your windshield provides to prevent the roof caving or collapsing in a rollover is very important to overall safety - for this reason, it's important to have a high-quality windshield that is structurally sound and undamaged.
The types of windscreen damage you may see also dictate how you should deal with it, so let's take a closer look at the various ways your windshield can be cracked or chipped.
The problem with small chips and damage is that they rarely stay small. As you drive your car, the body will flex in small increments, which puts stress on the windshield; if there are any weak points in the glass, this alone is enough to cause a chip to become a crack - even more so during spirited driving. The same thing happens when your car is exposed to the elements and is subject to changes in temperature. Cold, icy air outside and you cranking up the heat from the inside in an attempt to clear the fog from the windshield will cause expansion and contraction, easily turning a chip into a larger crack over time.
The definitive answer here is simple - yes, you should fix even small chips or cracks as soon as possible to avoid them becoming bigger.
Now that we know why it's important to repair even small chips as soon as possible, we can look at some ways to repair a cracked or chipped windshield, and decide whether to repair or replace the windshield entirely. The recommendation is always to make use of a professional service that can guarantee a repair and do a proper job. But, if you've determined that you can repair the cracked windshield and want to do so at home, then these are the steps you should follow.
Naturally, if the damage is so extensive that the windshield is more broken than just damaged, you can't repair it and need to replace it. Here is a quick guide to knowing when you should replace instead of trying to repair or fix the glass:
There are several factors that determine whether a windshield crack can be repaired or not but the usual rule of thumb suggests that if the crack is no bigger than three inches, located in the center of the windshield, and isn't too deep, then it should be repairable. You can fix a chip in your windshield if it is smaller than a quarter.
Yes, repairing a tinted windshield can be done in exactly the same manner as repairing a regular windshield. The only drawback of repairing a crack or chip in a tinted windshield is the repaired area won't contain the tint. Read more about window tinting here.
The cost of replacing your car's windshield will depend on the type of car you drive - a windshield on a Honda Civic is much cheaper than that of a Maserati Levante, for example. On average, however, replacing a windshield can cost between $800 and $2500 in the USA, depending on whether your vehicle is a luxury or supercar, or a mid-range vehicle.