A Great Reason To Get That Chip Filled: The Automatic Car Wash

When you get a small chip on your windshield, your instinct might be to leave it until you get another one. That way, you can get both fixed at the same time. While that's understandable, it's not the best tactic for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the chip can suddenly get bigger if there's enough vibration in the windshield glass. For example, when you hit a huge pothole, the resulting shock to your car can send enough vibration to the windshield that the chip suddenly expands. But even if you know you won't have issues with that, there's another reason to get the chip repaired: automatic car washes.

Modern Car Washes Use High Pressure

Modern automatic car washes — not the ones at gas stations where your car doesn't move, but the long ones that carry your car on a track — use high pressure whether they're touchless or if they use brushes. The brushes and rollers run right up and over your car, scrubbing off dirt, and touchless sprays have to be high-pressure enough to get old, dry dirt off your paint. An unfixed chip in the windshield can succumb to the pressure and suddenly spread. There's no guarantee this will or won't happen, but it's a real risk.

Chips and Cracks Weaken the Glass

Chips and cracks weaken the strength of the windshield. They make what should be a thick piece of glass much thinner where the chip is as it has breached the top portion of the glass. Applying high pressure to that spot could cause the glass to split even further. Windshield glass is tempered, so it takes a lot to make the glass and laminated layer actually break apart and crumble. But further splits and cracks radiating out from the original chip are not out of the realm of possibility.

Sealing Can Help, but Be Careful

Once you get the chip filled, it's essentially sealed, even if you can still see a blemish. That does help to an extent as the resin adheres to the parts that were split by the chip or crack. However, you'd be better off going to a touchless wash, and even then, you'd want to be careful. Taking the car to a self-service car wash may be better even after filling the chip, although even then you'd want to stand back when aiming the high-pressure hose at the windshield. That extra distance will lessen the pressure.

Keep in mind, though, that this is still better than leaving the chip unfilled. When you have damage to your windshield, you want to get it fixed right away.

For more information about auto glass repair, contact a local company.