Sorry! Not All Rock Chip Repairs Created Equal
The biggest misconception regarding rock chips is that auto glass companies are able to magically make them disappear once they’re done with the repair.
Maybe if we were in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter we could point our wands at your window as say “Chip Reparum,” and your glass would be good as new.
But alas, we’re only muggles.
The reality is that we can only stop the chip from spreading to the rest of the windshield. We fill the small chip with a special resin and then harden it with a special heat lamp. If successfully, you won’t have to buy a whole new window in the future. Anything else, aesthetically speaking, is just considered a bonus.
There are different types of rock chips and environmental aspects that affect the results of a repair. Contingent upon the type of damage that has occurred, a chip may actually get worse during the repair process.
In most cases, the damaged area will be barely noticeable once the repair is made but it’s rare when the chip totally disappears. Most likely, a scar or water mark will still be visible on the windshield. This is 100% normal.
Again, the objective with any chip repair is to stop the small chip from becoming a large crack that significantly compromises the structural integrity of the windshield and/or impairs the vision of the driver. So if you got chip repair, and 6 months down the road it hasn’t grown, the technician did his job.
Note: if the chip happens in your line of vision, your insurance company may instruct you to get your windshield totally replaced because, even if the chip is successfully repaired, it could obstruct your vision.
Some auto glass companies say you need to replace your windshield if the chip is larger than a dime and others say to use a quarter.
Note: we say dime, because once a chip is even as big as a quarter, it’s going to be very difficult to keep it from spreading. It’s a subjective judgement call that every auto glass company makes, but our official position is a dime.
Regardless of whether you go by the dime or quarter standard, if your chip can be entirely covered by the coin of choice, it can be repaired. On the flip side, if the chip is larger than a dime (or quarter), you will need to get the whole windshield replaced.
Additionally, if we see any of the conditions listed below, we would recommend a complete replacement:
- The inside layer of the windshield glass is cracked or chipped, including more than one layer of the laminated glass
- There are several chips on one windshield
- The chip is directly in the driver’s direct line of vision
We encourage our customers to communicate with us as to what they’re looking for, including their expectations of the repairs to be performed.
For instance, a chip might be between that thin line of being able to be repaired or needing to be replaced. Our formal recommendation would be to get the windshield replaced; however, the customer might not want or be able to pay for a full replacement at this time.
This is fine, as long as he/she understands that the chip might grow later down the road. Maybe, the customer knows it will grow but the current repair will bide him some time to get the money needed for a full replacement (his insurance company may not cover window replacements or maybe he only has liability and not full comprehensive insurance).
In other cases, it’s not the money at. Some people are very frugal by nature and would rather see get if the chip can be fixed, and stay fixed, rather than pay for a full replacement. We also see this in cases where the customer plans on selling his car in the near future.
Regardless of the situation, as long as the auto glass technician and customer are on the same page, and clear expectations are set forth, there are generally no problems.
As always, feel free to call us with any questions you have. We just started our 24 hour after-hours glass replacement service in March of 2016. There is a technician on-call, who is able to make service calls in the Houston area for customers who need assistance after hours, at any time of the night. This not only includes auto glass but commercial and residential glass replacements as well.