Your vehicle's windshield serves as a barrier between you and airborne debris, so it's inevitable the glass will get damaged during the course of your ownership. However, it can be challenging to determine whether you should repair your windshield or replace it altogether. Here are four signs you're better off getting a new windshield rather than try to save your old one.
Multiple Dings or Cracks
Dings and cracks in the windshield weaken it structural integrity, making it more likely to break or cave in when hit with rocks and other debris. While one or two small dings may not negatively affect the glass too much, having three or more of them could be asking for trouble, especially if the dings are close together. Environmental stressors—such as extreme cold and heat—could cause the dings to become cracks that run together to create a big vulnerable spot on your windshield.
Damage to the Windshield Edges
Another indicator that you should replace your windshield rather than repair it is if the glass is damaged around the perimeter. Cars and trucks are made using lighter materials these days, and the windshield has taken on the important job of supporting the vehicle's frame. The windshield can help prevent the top of the vehicle from buckling in a rollover accident.
However, the windshield may be more likely to break or even pop off in this type of collision if the edges of the glass have been compromised by cracks and dings. The bigger the damage. the more dangerous it becomes to leave the windshield on the vehicle. Therefore, it's best to replace the whole thing if the glass is broken along the edges, as a simple repair may not be enough to completely restore its full strength.
The Damage Is in a Critical Area
Damage in critical areas on the windshield (besides the edges) also indicates the glass should be completely replaced. Cracks or dings that are in your line of sight can hurt your ability to drive safely (e.g., distort distances or create a blind spot) while damage in areas where there are sensors, signals, and cameras can cause these items to malfunction or cease working altogether. For instance, the rain sensor may not detect moisture because of a nearby crack, and your wipers may not work right as a result.
Damage in your line of vision is generally easy to detect. However, it may not be immediately obvious that dings and cracks are interfering with sensors and other electronics embedded in the glass. So it may be a good idea to have the windshield inspected by an expert to get a clearer picture of the problem so you can make the best decision possible.
The Damage Is Big and/or Deep
The size and depth of chips, cracks, or dings also influences whether or not it can be easily repaired. Shallow damage or dings that are smaller than the dimensions specified by the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (e.g., 1 inch for bullseye dings, 14 inches for cracks) typically don't pose a major problem to the windshield's integrity and can easily be fixed by an experienced repair company.
On the other hand, damage that's bigger than what ROLAGS recommends, completely penetrates the glass (e.g., a hole), or is contaminated with debris cannot be adequately fixed. In these cases, the windshield should be replaced.
Damage to a windshield rarely remains in one place because the glass is constantly subjected to environmental elements, and it is also being hit with debris whenever you drive. Therefore, as soon as you notice even a small chip or crack, have your windshield looked at and repaired if possible to avoid developing and even bigger problem.
To learn more about these issues or schedule an appointment to have your windshield fixed, contact a local windshield repair shop.