Chips and cracks marring your beautiful windshield aren’t just unsightly. Left unrepaired, they can spread and damage the structural integrity of the whole glass. Before you know it, you’ll be struggling to see on the road and trying to schedule the first appointment possible.
But are all windshield damages repairable? Let’s find out!
The Size of the Damage
New technology makes it possible to repair large chips or cracks on your windshield. The National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) limits repairs for chips measuring up to three inches and cracks measuring up to 14 inches.
Keep in mind that large chips require extensive work and can leave behind structural damage even after repairs. A professional technician may recommend a replacement instead. Chips smaller than a quarter and cracks up to three inches long are best suited for repairs.
The Depth of the Damage
The depth refers to how deep the crack or chip penetrates into the glass. A windshield consists of three layers: an outer glass layer, an inner plastic layer, and an inside glass layer. Damage that penetrates through all these layers cannot be repaired.
The Location of the Damage
Damage that covers a wide portion of the glass cannot be repaired because it fundamentally compromises the integrity of the windshield. Also, you cannot repair chips or cracks located in a place that obstructs the driver’s line of view. Other damages that cannot be repaired are those that affect sensors like rain sensors, lane departure warning systems, and automated driver-assist systems.
When Should I Replace my Windshield?
Generally, you want to replace a damaged windshield as soon as possible if:
- The glass is not laminate.
- The glass extends more than three inches.
- The crack or chip penetrates through all layers of your laminate glass.
A damaged windshield is a relatively common problem for most vehicles that are on the road constantly. While some car owners are fortunate enough to only need a windshield repair, others may require complete glass replacement.