03 Jan When to Repair or Replace Your Windshield
One minute you’re peacefully driving along 410 and all of a sudden, a rogue rock hits your windshield. Just like that, the windshield on your vehicle has an unsightly chip – or worse, a crack. Even if it’s just a small chip, there’s a good chance that it will spread throughout the entire windshield over time.
For many car owners, a cracked or chipped windshield is a tricky thing to address. Let’s face it, nobody is ever excited when they need to go to the auto glass shop. Auto glass repair is not a sexy pastime for most people, and many put the process off as long as they possibly can (which you actually shouldn’t do, but that’s a topic for another time). For some, the real struggle is between deciding on a quick, resin repair or ponying up for a full-windshield replacement.
For this post, we cover what you need to know after a damaged windshield, and we’re going to assume you’ve already realized that you need to do something – either a repair or replacement. Typically speaking, there are four main factors to consider when deciding between replacing or repairing your windshield.
As a general rule, if the size of the chip is smaller than a quarter or the crack is under 3 inches long, it can be repaired. Windshield repair technology is has come a long way in recent years, to the point where small damages can be easily repaired. The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) guide is a good reference for knowing which type of windshield damage can be repaired, and which types are simply too large to handle with a resin filler.
While it’s a good rule-of-thumb, the size guideline varies depending on the location of the glass damage. If a chip or crack is in area that is likely to “run” or splinter, you’re probably better off getting a replacement right off the bat.
Depth is closely related to the size of the windshield damage. This factor refers to how deep the damage has penetrated the glass. You may be surprised to learn that your car’s windshield is composed of three layers of glass – the other glass layer, a plastic interlayer, and an internal glass layer.
If the damage extends through the outer and inner layers, your best course is windshield replacement because it’s too deep for repair. While a repair might visually fix the problem, the integrity of your glass would still be compromised, and driving with this type of damage could actually be dangerous.
The location of the damage greatly impacts whether you need a windshield replacement or repair. For instance, if the damage is located to the outer edge of the glass, the structural integrity of the glass likely has been compromised. If this is the case, a windshield replacement is your best bet.
Another critical location is the driver’s line of sight. Windshield repairs usually cause at least some degree of visual distortion, which can compromise the driver’s view. Again, in this case, it’s best to outright replace the damaged auto glass. You wouldn’t want to drive around town with a visual impediment in your way. It’s just not the safest option.
Speaking of safety, the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers on the roads is the most important factor to consider. Although it’s considered relatively safe to drive a car with a damaged windshield for short distances, the damage should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Your windshield is a key component of the structural integrity of your car. Plus, the windshield also protects the driver and passengers. With a weakened glass, a broken windshield can’t provide the intended level of protection to the occupants. On top of that, a visual handicap (like a crack that distorts the driver’s line of sight) can also make you less safe for others on the roadway. Something you would normally have seen and reacted to instantly can be delayed just enough to make a difference.
So What’s the Verdict Between Repairing or Replacing Your Auto Glass?
Generally speaking, smaller chips and cracks can be repaired by auto glass professionals like our team here at RNR for a reasonable fee. However, if the damage is bigger and can affect your ability to safely drive the car, windshield replacement is a must.
Whether it’s a small crack or a serious one, make sure that you address the problem as soon as you can. Lucky for you, our team offers the best rates in town, and we have several coupons and specials to help make the costs even more manageable. Call our team today to schedule your visit, or set up a mobile repair. Let us show you why we’ve been San Antonio’s go-to auto glass shop for nearly two decades!