Do you know when you should repair a chipped windshield or when you should replace it. The general rule of thumb is you can repair it if the crack or chip is less than the size of a quarter. If it expands beyond that, you really should look at replacing it because of safety reasons.
Causes of a cracked or chipped windshield
Medina Glass Co. Manager Brian Keltz said he sees more chipped windshields in the winter than during any other time. Part of that is due to the freezing and thawing of the roadways. As rain falls or snow and ice melts, the moisture causes problems in the asphalt, like cracks or potholes. This leads to loose stones that are propelled by fast-spinning tires. While many times the stones just bounce off windshields, sometimes they can lead to cracks and chips.
While loose stones can create problems, so, too, can chunks of road salt. Sometimes a large piece of the salt used to melt ice on the roads can get lodged in the grooves of a tire before it breaks away and goes flying, causing damage to a windshield.
Potholes themselves can contributed to a cracked or chipped windshield, Keltz said. For example, if a car hits a deep pothole, sometimes the severe jarring action can aggravate a chip in the glass and cause it to crack.
But, winter is not the only time for a windshield to crack or chip, Keltz said. There’s a possibility of causing a cracked windshield on a really hot day and someone goes to wash the car. If the glass is hot enough and the water cold enough, it could cause for some serious expansion and contraction that can result in a damaged windshield.
Do you know what the most common explanation is from Medina Glass customers about the cause of the stone chip in their windshield? Driving behind a gravel truck, Keltz said.
So, be careful …
- In the winter because of loose stones, large salt chunks, and potholes;
- In any season when you are driving behind a gravel truck; and
- In the summer on very hot days when you are washing your vehicle.
When to repair a chipped windshield
As mentioned earlier, a chipped or cracked windshield can be repaired if the total area of the damage is smaller than the size of a quarter. “Glass has a mind of its own,” Keltz said. Sometimes a chip will remain a chip forever. Yet, there are some times when the chip will run out into a large crack seemingly overnight. So, you should always check your windshield when it sounds as if it has been pelted by a stone.
One customer brought a car in to be fixed. The initial damage was just a chip. However, it went unseen because it was in what is called the paint band … the black area at the bottom of a windshield … below the wiper blades. The damage went from a relatively small stone chip to a number of cracks extending out several inches. Because the problem was not caught early, the cracked windshield had to be replaced.
Why choose to repair a windshield instead of replacing it?
The main reason is price, Keltz said. A repair can be anywhere from one-fourth to about one-tenth the price of a replacement. Also, at Medina Glass, if they repair the chip and it ends up cracking in the same spot, they will give you credit for the repair when the company replaces the windshield. So, if the repair cost $60 and it ended up cracking in the same spot, the cost of the replacement windshield will be reduced by $60.
Some things to consider before repairing a chipped windshield
The state will not allow for glass businesses, like Medina Glass Co., to repair a windshield if the damage is in the driver’s line of vision. This can cause a safety issue if the driver’s sight is hindered by the crack or chip, Keltz said.
Also, customers should keep in mind, “We can’t eliminate the damage,” Keltz said. To repair a chip, a tool is clamped onto the window to allow a resin to be injected into the chip or crack. Sometimes, the window will look better, but other times it might appear as if nothing has been done, he added. However, the resin is in the damaged area, and it was bonded to the glass through a UV-hardening process.
Another thing customers should know is there exists a slight chance of the window cracking during the repair process. While it doesn’t happen very often, there is still a chance. This is because a machine is hooked up to the glass, and it is clamped down.
If Medina Glass can be of any help, you can contact us via this website or call us at 330-725-4605. We work with all insurance companies, so if this is an insurance claim, let them know you want us to do the work.