The windscreen, or windshield as it is called in some regions, plays an essential role in the structural integrity and safety of a vehicle. When your windscreen gets cracked, it is not just an aesthetic concern but can be a safety hazard as well. Acting promptly to address the issue can save you from further complications down the road. Here is how you can approach fixing a cracked windscreen.
1. Assess the Damage
Before embarking on any repair procedures, it is essential to assess the extent of the damage. There are primarily three types of windscreen damages:
Chip: A small piece of glass has been removed from the surface.
Crack: A line on the windscreen which can vary in length.
Bullseye: A circular damage on the windscreen.
It is vital to ascertain if the damage is repairable. Typically, chips smaller than a quarter and cracks up to three inches long can be repaired. However, if the damage is in the driver’s line of sight or the crack has splintered, replacement might be necessary.
2. Safety First
If the crack is too large or situated in critical areas, it could compromise the integrity of the windscreen. In such cases, avoid driving the vehicle until it has been addressed. The windscreen provides structural strength to the car, especially in situations like rollovers. A damaged one can shatter easily, putting the occupants at risk.
3. DIY Repair or Professional Assistance
There are DIY kits available in the market to fix minor windscreen damages. These kits contain a resin that fills up the crack or chip, restoring the windscreen’s clear appearance and its structural strength. Here is a basic rundown of how to use them:
Clean the Area: First, clean the damaged area with a glass cleaner to remove dirt and debris.
Application of Resin: The DIY kit will usually come with a tool that helps you fill the crack or chip with a special resin.
Curing: After the resin has been applied, it must be cured. UV light is frequently used to do this. While some kits require you to park your car in direct sunshine, others may come with a UV lamp.
Scrape Off Extra Resin: To create a smooth and level surface when the resin has dried, any extra can be scraped off with a razor blade.
While DIY kits can be effective for minor damages, there is no substitute for professional repairs. If you are unsure about the extent of the damage or do not feel confident doing it yourself, seek out a professional. They possess the tools, expertise, and high-quality materials to ensure a long-lasting repair.
Insurance and Cost Considerations
Before you go ahead with the auto glass repair or replacement, it is a clever idea to check your vehicle insurance policy. Many policies cover windscreen repairs without affecting your no-claims bonus. The cost of repair is lower than the cost of replacement, so if the damage is repairable, it is a more economical option.
If the crack is too extensive, or the damage cannot be fixed without compromising visibility or safety, then replacement is the only option. Professionals will remove the damaged windscreen and replace it with a new one that meets or exceeds the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications.
While not all windscreen damages can be avoided, some steps can reduce the risk:
Avoid Direct Sunlight: Parking in the shade can reduce the chances of temperature fluctuations, which can stress the windscreen.
Maintain Distance: While driving, maintain a safe distance from vehicles, especially heavy-duty trucks that might fling debris.
Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes: Using hot water to de-ice a frozen windscreen can cause it to crack due to the sudden temperature change.
Should you do it on your own or hire professionals?
Here are some reasons for you to assess and make an informed choice:
Sizе and Location of thе Crack or Chip:
Somе minor chips can bе rеpairеd using DIY windshiеld rеpair kits availablе in auto parts storеs. Thеsе kits typically includе rеsin that fills thе chip and prеvеnts it from sprеading.
Largе cracks or complеx brеaks:
If thе crack is longеr than a dollar bill or is in thе drivеr’s linе of sight, it might not bе rеpairablе and thе wholе windshiеld may nееd to bе rеplacеd. This is bеst handlеd by profеssionals.
Windshiеlds arе еssеntial safеty fеaturеs of a vеhiclе. Thеy providе structural intеgrity to thе vеhiclе and support thе dеploymеnt of passеngеr-sidе airbags. A poor rеpair or impropеr installation could compromisе safеty. Rеpairing or rеplacing a windshiеld rеquirеs carеful managing of thе glass to prеvеnt furthеr damagе or injury.
Expеrtisе and Tools:
Whilе DIY kits arе availablе, thеy might not providе thе samе lеvеl of quality or long-lasting rеsults that a profеssional rеpair would. Profеssional tеchnicians havе accеss to high-quality matеrials and advancеd tools that can еnsurе thе rеpair or rеplacеmеnt is donе corrеctly and safеly.
Warranty and Insurance:
Many professional windshield repair, or replacement services offer warranties on their work. If you attempt to repair it yourself and it does not hold, you might end up paying more eventually. Depending on your auto insurance policy, windshield repairs or replacements might be covered, either fully or partially. Check with your insurance provider before deciding.
Time and Effort:
Hiring professionals can save you time. They have the experience to quickly and efficiently repair or replace your windshield.
If you are unfamiliar with the process, DIY repair can be time-consuming and there is no guarantee of success. It is always better to hire expert technicians for windshield replacement or major windshield repairs.
A cracked windscreen can be a real hazard, and it is essential to address it promptly. While minor cracks and chips can be fixed with DIY kits or professional repairs, larger or more complicated damages will require a full replacement. Always prioritize safety, and when in doubt, consult with a professional to determine the best course of action. Regular vehicle check-ups and adhering to preventive measures can also help in prolonging the life of your windscreen.