Windshield cracks and chips happen to even the most cautious of drivers. You keep the recommended distance from the vehicle in front of you and still it happens, that errant stone smacks into the windshield with a resounding whack. And there it is, a small chip or crack, in your once flawless windshield. So now the question is, what to do next? Wherever you may be located at the time of the incident, the best option is to visit the local repair shop. If you happen to be driving in the Sacramento area, you should visit a Sacramento windshield repair shop as soon as possible to do rock chip repairs. Even the smallest of chips have a tendency to grow into unsightly cracks. Cracked windshields are not only an inconvenience, they are also hazardous, as they can obscure your field of vision. Here are a few suggestions to help prevent chips from becoming cracks.
- Temperature Changes: During the hot summer months avoid washing the vehicle with cold water. Wait until later in the afternoon when the windshield has had an opportunity to cool down. Avoid running the vehicle’s air-conditioning unit full blast, especially on the defrost setting. During the winter months defrost the windows indirectly with the vents pointed away from the windshield.
- Use Caution When Touching the Windshield: Do not allow too much snow to accumulate on the windshield, as the extra weight will encourage cracks to grow. Use caution when scraping ice or snow off the windshield. Applying too much pressure can stress the fracture to the point that the entire windshield breaks.
- Vibrations and Rough Driving: Avoid playing the radio loudly. Especially the bass setting as the added vibration can increase the size of cracks. If at all possible, avoid hitting potholes at high rates of speed. Slamming car doors also puts additional stress on windshields encouraging cracks to widen.
- Taping the Windshield: Covering a crack or chip in a windshield will not prevent a crack from spreading or a chip from becoming a crack. What it will accomplish, is temporarily keeping the crack or chip free of debris and water, until such time that it can be repaired. Use only clear packing tape, as it will not leave an adhesive residue. Do not apply tape if the area is in your direct line of vision.
Many people do not know that nearly all chips and windshield cracks can be repaired if addressed early on. It is entirely possible for a seemingly insignificant starburst chip (one with multiple cracks radiating from the center), to grow into an un-repairable 12-inch crack. A general rule of thumb is that most windshield crack repairs can be successfully done on cracks less than six inches in length. Cracks containing a lot of debris or water often cannot be repaired. Cracks that cannot be repaired and therefore require windshield replacement include stress cracks, cracks more than 14-inches in length, edge cracks that extend to more than one edge, and cracks contaminated with too much debris or water.
The process for windshield crack repairs and chips is pretty straightforward. The auto glass technician will be able to determine immediately if the crack or chip is repairable. Chips such as bull’s eyes, stars, and a combination of these, can be repaired, provided they are less than 1.25 inches in diameter (equivalent to the diameter of a fifty-cent piece). The technician will thoroughly clean and dry the area. The chip or crack is then filled with a special resin and allowed to cure under an ultraviolet light. The area will dry clear and hard. After a light buffing, the damaged area is practically unnoticeable and you are back on the road again.