There's no worse feeling than the one you get when a rock bounces off your windshield, especially if it leaves a crack or chip as a parting gift. While a quick repair can help keep your windshield intact in most cases, there are times when a complete replacement is necessary. To figure out if that's true for your windshield, you might want to ask yourself the following questions.
Where's the Damage?
The difference between a quick repair and a complete windshield replacement often hinges on where the damage occurred. If a debris strike leaves behind a crack or chip near the edge of the windshield, said damage could prove exceptionally difficult, if not impossible, to repair properly. If a rock lands near any type of embedded feature within the glass, such as a rain sensor or an internal antenna, you may be looking at a complete windshield replacement instead of a very difficult and expensive repair.
Cracks and chips that are directly in your field of vision may be repairable, but there are lingering effects to consider. The repaired area won't have the same clarity as the surrounding, pristine area, resulting in visual artifacts that could prove distracting when you're on the road. Instead of dealing with these issues, you may be better off having your windshield replaced.
How Big Is It?
Size also counts when figuring out whether to replace or repair your windshield. To keep things simple, use a dollar bill and a quarter as references when measuring cracks and chips, respectively. If a crack turns out to be longer than a dollar bill or if a chip is larger in diameter than a quarter, then chances are you'll have to invest in a new windshield. After all, some cracks and chips are simply too big for a repair kit to successfully fix.
A crack that manages to penetrate all the way to the safety laminate layer of your windshield will dash any hopes of a repair. A shallow chip, on the other hand, can easily be taken care of. Cracks that reach the laminate can be dangerous in their own right, as the glass can separate inward and send large shards flying during an accident.
Are There Multiple Impacted Areas?
Dealing with just one crack or chip can be a pain, but imagine dealing with multiple cracks. Again, a successful repair depends on the size and location of the damage in question. However, having several cracks in one spot can easily complicate repairs. Instead of having your windshield repair expert chase down several cracked or chipped spots, you should save yourself the trouble by having the entire windshield swapped out.
Will It Affect Your Vehicle Inspection?
Another thing that most people don't think about when it comes to windshield damage is how it will affect vehicle inspections. Some states require annual vehicle safety inspections as a prerequisite of renewing vehicle registration. In these states, a cracked or chipped windshield can easily bring the inspection process to a halt, resulting not just in failure, but also fines and other penalties. Sloppy windshield repairs can also trigger an inspection failure.
If you want to be certain that you'll pass your state's safety inspection, then you may need to have your entire windshield replaced prior to the inspection.
Is Your Current Windshield Really Salvageable?
Even after everything you've done to repair your windshield, it still may not be enough to keep it safely intact. If your windshield is riddled with the remnants of broken and previously repaired glass, then you should probably consider doing away with the entire windshield.
To learn more about which option is best for your specific situation, contact a company like Valley Glass Utility.