How To Tell If Your Windshield Needs To Be Replaced Or Repaired

Your windshield is one of the most critical parts on your automobile, SUV or truck. After all, if you can't see where you're going, it doesn't matter how great your engine and transmission are. Windshields can be damaged in a number of ways. One of the most common is for a pebble or stone to nick the glass, forming a divot that will eventually spread into a crack across the length of your windshield. Fortunately, replacing your windshield is a quick and relatively inexpensive process, and in many cases you can save even more by having the glass repaired. However, how do you know whether your windshield can be repaired or has to be completely replaced?

When can a windshield be repaired?

Windshield repairs are quick, usually taking not more than 30 to 40 minutes. This process involves the technician cleaning the crack thoroughly and then injecting a clear, curable resin into the void and waiting for it to cure. The spot is then polished until it is smooth. If you don't look too carefully when the technician is finished, you won't be able to see where the damage used to be.

1. When the crack or chip is small. Your windshield can generally be repaired when the crack is no longer than 14 inches or a chip is no bigger than three inches in diameter.

2. When there are three or fewer cracks. Too many repairs will compromise the integrity of the windshield glass.

3. When the crack is not in a critical place. Technicians will generally not repair a windshield when the crack is at the driver's eye level or is situated in front of one of your car's sensors. Although a repair will leave your glass clear, there may be some difference in the way light reflects in this area Your windshield will also need to be replaced if the crack or chip involves the outer edge of the glass, as this part of the glass is essential to the windshield's overall integrity.

4. When the crack only cuts through the top layer of glass. Modern windshields are made of three layers of glass. Your windshield is damaged beyond repair if the crack cuts through more than one layer of glass.

Getting your damaged windshield to the repair technician quickly often means that you can save money and time by having the glass repaired rather than replaced. The decision whether to repair or replace a windshield depends on the location, size and depth of the damage.