Repair or Replace My Windshield?
A loud popping sound suddenly permeates the entire vehicle. You are stunned for a moment, shaken up by the sudden event that just happened.
One minute you were going down the road, listing to your favorite radio station and the next minute it seems as if a firecracker just went off in your car. Isn’t life the strangest thing?
After a couple seconds the initial shock wears off and you are faced with the reality of what the loud sound actually was: a rock hitting your windshield. This is easily apparent by the small chip in your windshield.
“Just great, this is just what I needed,” you think to yourself.
There are many problems in life that we can foresee and avoid but getting your rock chips is not one of them. It is an unforeseen occurrence that will happen to everyone several times in their life (flying rocks will happen more in colder areas of the country where roads are made from asphalt).
You Can Get The Chip Repaired If You Act Fast
Small chips that are the size of a quarter or less can easily and inexpensively be repaired under most circumstances. Your insurance will even pay for your chip repairs even you have full comprehensive coverage.
The chip is repaired by inserting a clear resin that is manufactured specifically for windshields into the crack. When properly applied it should bond with the rest of the glass. A UV lamp is usually put on the resin for several minutes to harden it faster.
If an individual gets his windshield repaired in an expedient manner then he not have to get it replaced. You will always see a very tiny line in your front window but it will be almost unnoticeable and more importantly, it will not spread.
Most People Put It Off Because They Do Not Realize How Fast Chips Spread
A small crack in the middle of your windshield can turn into a four legged monster within three weeks. Its hard to believe that such a small issue can spread like a cancerous virus but that is exactly what happens when you do not immediately take car of the problem.
Slamming your car door, changes in temperature, the baking sun and car washes will make your crack spread even more rapidly.
Sudden rock chips happen to many people who are traveling on vacation outside the city limits to another destination. Interstate highway roads have more loose gravel on them so the likelihood of rocks flying up is much higher.
When you get back from vacation you will have to get back to work and everyday life. You will rationalize that you can “just get it done next week.” Then next weeks comes along and you say the same thing to yourself.
Cracked Windshield Are A Safety Hazard
Your windshield is not just made of pure glass and does not shatter into tiny little pieces when it is hit. It is made of laminated construction. Car windshields are actually a combinated of two layers of glass with a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) layer in between them.
They are made like this for four important reasons:
- The PVB protects the inside from the elements, namely the intense rays of the sun. Without this, the inside of your car would get very dull within a year due to the intense heat during the summer months.
- The plastic stops your window from shattering into a million pieces should something hit it. The last thing you would want as a driver is to have shards of glass coming into your eyes should a rock or external object hit it (see example here).
- In the unfortunate event you get into a car crash, an undamaged windshield is supposed to keep you from flying out of the car. Your airbag is also supposed to do this but they do not always deploy nor are they always enough if the force is really strong.
- If your car rolls over a standard windshield should provide structural rigidity so that you do not fall out as the car is flipping around.
Windshields have huge safely mechanisms built into them and have saved the lives of thousands of people. A windshield with cracks going in every different also obscures the view of the driver and pose an extreme safely risk to not only the driver but everyone else around him.
According to the TxDPS, you will not fail your vehicle inspection because of a cracked windshield.
The windshield is NOT an item of inspection. However, the windshield wipers are. Be sure that the crack does not cause the wipers to tear and that the crack has not caused the windshield to become concave or convex so the wipers loose contact with the windshield.
There are no state or city laws (at least in Houston area) that specifically ban people from having cracked windshields. That does not however mean that police officers will not write you a ticket and put it under something else. Police offenders who work for Bellaire, Southside Place and West University are known for writing these kinds of tickets. If you go to court then you can easily get the ticket thrown out, however, if you are like me, you have better things to do with an entire day.
My point is that regardless of any laws enacted you should want to make sure you have a functioning front windshield for your own safety. A cracked window is dangerous because it will not function as it is made to in case of an accident.
If You Have Procrastinated Then Its Time To Replace It
You have have let that tiny crack turn into a bunch of squiggly lines all across your windshield then its time to replace it. You will have the option of three types of replacement glass to choose from. If your car is leased or brand new then you will have to go with dealer or OEM glass. Call a professional out as soon as you can.
The great thing is that you do not have to bring your vehicle to any glass shop any longer. The trend was started in the late 90s/early 2000 but now at least half of the auto glass replacement shops, like mine, offer a mobile service.
This means that you can have your windshield replaced while you are at home or at work. The most these companies will need is three parking spaces worth of room. When they are done you write them the check and the service is done.