Do You Really Need a Windshield Replacement?

Really there a lot of different ways to tell if can have your windshield repaired or if you really need a replacement.  To start you don’t want to repair anything in the driver’s line of vision.  So you can sit in the car and look straight ahead and mark that point with your finger, if the crack or chip is within six inches of that point then it shouldn’t be repaired.  Repair does not make the chip or crack disappear – just prevents it from spreading and restores structural integrity as well as appearance.

Some repair shops will tell you they can fix a crack up to twelve inches long.  I just don’t believe there is any way it can be done safely, maintaining the structural integrity of the car.  The windshield plays a big role in supporting the roof of the car, I wouldn’t be comfortable repairing anything larger than a quarter.  If the damage to the windshield can be completely covered with a quarter it can most likely be repaired safely, without compromising any roof support.

Also any damage usually needs to be at least three inches from the edge of the windshield to accommodate the equipment needed for the repair.  Technicians usually use a vacuum, or pressure or a combination of the two to remove any air from the crack before it can be repaired.  Sometimes we even need to use a little heat to get out the air and help the polymer resin get all the way into the crack, then the resin is cured with a UV light.  The whole process requires some space to work so anything too close to the edge really can’t be fixed safely.

But sitting at home debating whether you can get the windshield repaired or if you need a replacement is not a good idea.  If the damage can be repaired it has to be done as soon as possible – small chips and cracks can get a lot worse, fast.  This is especially true in cold weather,  when you turn on your defroster.  Then you have a hot layer of glass on the inside and a cold layer of glass on the outside.  As a result thermal expansion puts pressure on the outside layer of glass, turning a small chip into a big crack and a repair into a replacement.

Even in warm weather the windshield can incur more damage, while you’re waiting to repair it.  If any dirt or moisture gets into the inner plastic layer of the windshield it will stain, then even after the repair the stain is permanent.  So don’t wait and debate about getting a repair, because the longer you wait the more likely it is that you will need a replacement.

Find out more about OEM windshield replacement in Charlotte, NC

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2 Responses

  1. I’m looking for some professional advise. My windshield was cracked about a month ago, so I called my insurance agent and they sent out a local (Connecticut) windshield replacement company. They replaced the windshield, but I felt that the glass had distortion and was distracting to look through. I called the replacement company and they had no problem to replace the windshield again, but I’m seeing the same distortion. Is some level of distortion common with replacement (or OEM) windshields? What would you recommend? Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

  2. Some distortion is normal, but of course if it’s in the driver’s line of vision that’s unacceptable. Since glass is not perfect there is often distortion somewhere on the windshield, near the bottom or around the edges

    Some other factors come into play here though:
    1.) A replacement windshield is not necessarily an OEM windshield, and there can be a big difference between the two.

    2.) The make, model and year of the vehicle can also make a big difference in what type of glass is available for that vehicle.

    3.) It also helps to know who manufactured the glass. You can check for their logo stamped on the glass along the bottom, and the three digit DOT number can tell us a little more about the windshield.

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