Oh no! You have a damaged windshield. If you’re like most people, it’s because you’ve just been involved in a collision with another vehicle. Of course, you could have fallen victim to another common cause, like weather damage or some fatally emboldened wildlife.
Whatever the cause was, you need to make sure that you take the time to examine your windshield before you head off of any major trips. Why? Because that’s how you can avoid personal danger to yourself and your passengers, and minimize the staggering costs of a small windshield problem that just keeps getting worse.
Make Sure the Windshield Hasn’t Become Detached
The first thing you should do after noticing that your windshield has been damaged is to make sure that it hasn’t become detached from its frame. The windshield is held by strong glues and sealants to the car, but that connection is weakened by the fact that the windshield is also designed to detach from the vehicle during a serious collision so that it doesn’t end up crashing into the driver.
It’s uncommon for a windshield to detach partly, instead of all the way, but it still can happen and needs to be checked. It’s a very easy procedure to do on your own. Simply go around the frame of the window and test the pressure with your fingers. Press down as hard as you can at each point to see if there is movement.
If you feel that the window is in any way moving under your finger, you need to take it in for repairs as soon as possible. An improperly attached windshield can break loose in a strong wind.
Special Note: Don’t dare to turn on the wiper blades in this situation.
Check to Find Out if You Need the Crack Sealed or the Window Replaced
Certain windshield cracks that are small enough that they can be treated with a special crystal-clear epoxy. This is normally recommended for rock chips and small cracks. Even though the crack is sealed by epoxy, it’s not something that can be applied at home without special tools. In order to make it work, a pressure-creating suction device is used to force the epoxy into the deepest ridges of the rock chip and hold it there until it dries.
You may not be lucky enough to have damage that can be fixed with a quick repair. In almost all cases where the crack is longer than a few inches, or spider webs out many directions, a complete windshield replacement may be the only option.
Confirm that the Crack is not Growing in Response to Running the Engine
If you have a chip small enough for repair, or if you are putting off your repair for a few days, you should carefully verify that the crack in the windshield isn’t growing larger. Any kind of stress to the window, such as the running of a car engine, can cause the crack to grow in size.
As the crack gets larger, the danger to you and to passengers in your car increases dramatically. Windshields are incredibly sturdy against stresses when they’re complete, but even a crack of a few inches can create failure points that were never planned or tested for. Cracks can grow larger very suddenly, even to the point where they obscure your vision while you’re on the road.
Verify that it’s Legal for You to Drive the Vehicle on the Streets
Before you consider whether you should put off the repairs or not, make sure that it’s even legal for you to drive on the streets. Understand that in many countries, it isn’t legal to drive with a defect that obscures the vision of the driver.
If this seems open-ended, it’s because the law was written that way. The difference between having to pay a ticket and not having to pay a ticket is entirely at the discretion of the officer. That means any crack, anywhere on the windshield, could be considered enough to ticket you. You’re better off just having a repaired windshield in the first place.
Schedule Repairs if Needed
If you have noticed that the crack is just too large to be sealed, that your windshield is coming loose, or that the crack is growing, it’s time to schedule a repair. Most auto shops can help, and you may also be able to find specialty glass shops in your area that can handle the work.
No matter what you do, make sure you handle the problem as soon as possible. A crack is, unfortunately, the kind of problem that only gets worse when ignored.
About the Author:
Diana Steele is the owner of Van Isle Glass, a Victoria glass shop celebrating 20 years in the glass business this year! With her combined background in teaching, sales & marketing she fully understands the significance of exceptional customer service & quality workmanship. While Diana is focused on her business, she is also a proud community-minded supporter. She attributes her success to her passion for being part of local business, her love of working with people and to her exceptionally talented and hardworking team!