You are driving along, enjoying the scenery when a small rock flies out of nowhere and hits your windshield with a sharp crack. You flinch, look for damage, then continue on your way. A small chip is not a serious problem for your windshield…or is it? |
Don’t underestimate the importance of a secure windshield. If you get into an accident with an already damaged windshield, it could pop out of place and potentially cause the roof of your car to collapse. Windshields do not only live up to their name by shielding you from the wind; they also add support to the entire structure of your vehicle. A shattered windshield could result in serious injuries to you and your passengers. You might be able to repair it to prolong its life, but when should you completely replace your car’s windshield?
Inspect Your Windshield for Chips and Cracks
Make it a point to regularly inspect your windshield. Depending on the type of driving you normally do, it takes a daily battering. High speeds and more time spent on the road increase your risk of windshield damage.
The following are common causes of chips and cracks:
• Rocks and road debris • Drastic temperature changes • High pressure • Manufacturer defects • Stress fractures
As soon as you notice a chip, pay attention. Microscopic windshield chips can quickly turn into cracks, and cracks can ruin the entire windshield in short order.
Repair or Replacement?
Experienced auto glass repair companies can typically repair chips that are smaller than a quarter. Once the crack extends beyond a few inches, an entire replacement might be necessary. Most repair companies use this rule of thumb: if the crack is larger than a dollar bill, replacement is a safer, more realistic choice.
Windshields are comprised of two separate layers of glass with a vinyl film between them. Once the crack lengthens, moisture is able to permeate through to the vinyl layer, creating an inherent weakness and compromising the security of the vehicle.
When dealing with windshields, safety should be the overriding factor as you choose between repair or replacement. However, windshield replacement costs run higher than repair fees. Before deciding to replace the whole windshield, prepare for the final bill. Luxury vehicle models will require high end materials, causing the total price of replacement to rise. Additionally, the larger the vehicle, the more time and manpower will be required.
Use High-Quality Materials
Your windshield is not an area where you should cut corners. There are two options for glass replacement: original equipment manufacturer glass (commonly referred to as OEM glass), or aftermarket glass. OEM glass is created for specific manufacturers, so the product is tested to comply with standards set by the industry and specific auto manufacturing companies.
Aftermarket glass does not have to abide by the same standards. While you might not notice a difference in an OEM windshield versus an aftermarket windshield, you will definitely see the difference in the price point. Aftermarket glass is cheaper, but like many other products, you get what you pay for. For maximum safety, use OEM glass backed by the manufacturer when you replace your car’s windshield.
For an expert opinion on whether or not you should replace your car’s windshield, have your vehicle inspected by a trusted auto glass repair shop in your area.
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