Can Your Windshield Be Repaired, or Does it Need Replaced?
When a windshield incurs what appears to be minor damage, it’s normal to ask if a repair would be sufficient. However, what looks like small amounts of damage may require a replacement windshield. Your safety and the integrity of your windshield are our first priorities.
Elements of Inspection
When assessing windshield damage we look at the following to decide if a windshield needs repaired or replaced:
- Size and Severity of Damage, Cracks or Chips: Generally, chips and cracks larger 1/4-3/8” require windshield replacement, but repairs may be successful on cracks that are much longer. The severity and unique variations of these chips and cracks are what lead safety advisors to suggest a replacement windshield.
- Location(s) of Damage, Cracks, and Chips: Location of the damage plays an important role in determining your windshield’s fate. Cracks at the edge of the windshield tend to spread very quickly and can compromise the structural integrity of the glass. If they’re caught in time, they can be repaired, but it’s usually advisable to replace the windshield. Also, be aware that a chip that appears directly in the driver’s line of vision may require a replacement. This is because the repair process leaves minor distortions in the glass, compromising the driver’s vision and ability to see clearly.
- Timespan of Damage: Waiting too long to have your windshield inspected and repaired only allows the damage to spread and increase in size. Dirt can also work its way into the damaged area, affecting the effectiveness and clarity of the repair. Furthermore, if moisture gets into the windshield through the crack, it can damage the vinyl, weaken the windshield, and compromise its safety. A proper repair prevents damage from spreading, but since every chip is unique, some will respond more effectively to a repair than others.
Benefits of Windshield Replacement
- Integrity of Your Vehicle: When your safety and the integrity of your automobile are at stake, it’s important to maintain your vehicle’s safety system. Your windshield is the third most important part of your vehicle’s Self Restraint System (SRS) and accounts for 45% of the structural integrity of the cabin of the vehicle in a head on collision and 60% in a rollover. In a crash or roll-over accident it supports the roof, helps the airbags deploy, prevents you from absorbing the force of the crash, and it prevents you from being thrown from the vehicle. If your windshield is weakened by a chip or a crack, you’re compromising your safety. When we advise a windshield replacement, it’s for your safety. If your windshield’s strength is compromised, your vehicle isn’t as safe as it could be.
- Clarity and Visibility: A repaired windshield will never look as perfectly clear as a brand new one. Even an excellent repair will still be visible. The best of repairs will look like a hair lying on top of the glass. Good repairs greatly reduce the “glinting” that occurs when the sun hits open cracks, but it may still be visible. Also, if you look closely at the tip of the crack you’ll see one or two little holes where resin has been inserted to keep the tip of the crack from spreading.
- Repairs Have Limits: Be aware that even the most advanced glass repair techniques have their limits. If your windshield is severely damaged, new glass may still be in your future. A heavily damaged windshield is not only difficult to look through, it’s also unsafe. The structural integrity of the car may have been compromised and could weaken further if it isn’t replaced quickly. Also, if your windshield took a big enough hit, it may simply be beyond repair. Major impacts, such as those from big objects or accidents, will damage the windows and windshields beyond what any repair facility can fix. In these severe cases, and generally once a crack or chip grows larger than a certain size, replacement is the only option.
Windshield Replacement with Hatchett Glass
When it comes to your vehicle and your safety, it’s better to a little cautious. It’s also important to only replace your windshield with the highest quality glass, sealers, and adhesives. When it comes to replacement, our expert installers only install OEM or OEE quality auto glass, ensuring a perfect fit and superior quality. We also use OEM-recommended sealers and adhesives. Use of inferior quality urethane could result in the windshield leaking or even becoming dislodged in an accident. At Hatchett Glass, our professional installers follow the strictest guidelines of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to ensure occupant safety and the integrity of the vehicle. We also offer mobile auto glass repairs and replacements so that your auto glass needs are met with ease and convenience. Contact us or fill out our free quote form for windshield and auto glass replacements.