Should You Replace or Repair Your Damaged Windshield?

Has a rock or small object impacted your windshield as you were driving? Did it leave a chip or crack in your glass?

Getting windshield damages is all too common. But for some car owners, trying to find a solution for a cracked windshield can be a little complex. From figuring out the most cost-effective solutions and what type of repair is required for specific damages, some people just wonder whether it’s necessary to even take action after receiving a cracked windshield, despite some states having some cracked windshield laws.

For those not in the know, here are some pointers to think about when considering the options you have for your damaged windshield.

1. Location

If the location of the crack obstructs the driver’s view, then the windshield should certainly be replaced. Even if the crack is small enough to be repaired, repairs to a windshield cause some distortion, which may be an issue for the driver’s line of sight in some cases.

Another location factor that should determine a damaged windshield repair or replacement is if the crack(s) is located along the edge of the windshield versus the middle. Windshields are built with structural strength to withstand severe case accidents, such as rollovers. Any damages to the outer edge weaken the structural integrity of the glass, which makes the vehicle a potential hazard. If you find that a crack extends to the outer edge of your windshield, you should definitely look into replacing it.

2. Dimensions

Small chips and thin cracks can be repaired with modern tools used for windshield repair; however, there are still some limitations. According to the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) guide, cracks that are smaller than an inch in diameter and shorter than 12-14 inches are easily repairable. Anything windshields with damage beyond these dimensions should be replaced.

3. Depth

To maintain their strength, windshields are made of two layers of glass with a sheet of plastic in between. If the depth of damage extends from the exterior layer of the windshield to the plastic or inner layer of glass, then the windshield needs to be replaced. Any damage that remains in the outer layer, depending on its size, should be easy to repair. However, if there’s damage in the interior layer, even if the outer layer is not compromised, a replacement is recommended to ensure the windshield’s structural integrity.

4. Safety

Most importantly, you have to consider the safety of driving with a damaged windshield.  Although driving with a cracked windshield in short distances may not pose a severe hazard, it’s best to get your windshield repaired or replaced as early as possible. We mentioned that the windshield possesses a large amount of your vehicle’s structural integrity. With damages, the glass weakens more over time and in the event of a severe accident, your windshield may not have the capacity to withstand pressures and protect you and your passengers. Thus, it’s important to get your damaged windshield checked by a professional to make the necessary repairs.

When to Repair or Replace Auto Glass

A good rule of thumb is knowing that smaller chips and cracks that are non-obstructive can be repaired while, on the other hand, bigger damages that affect the driver’s safety and ability should be replaced. In either instance, you should take the measures of getting the damages looked at as soon as possible.