How to Prevent a Windshield Crack from Spreading
Stopping a Windshield Crack in its Tracks
A windshield crack can happen anytime, anywhere. They’re frustrating because they’re well known to start out as a tiny chip and then blossom into a full-blown spider across the glass — seemingly overnight. They can cause major visual impairments, and weaken the integrity of the windshield should you be in a more serious accident. Your safety and the safety of other drivers should always be the most important thing on the road, so windshield cracks should not be dismissed as mere cosmetic problems. Read on to find out more about how windshields work, who’s at fault for them, and what to do if you get one.
How Your Glass Works
If someone decides they want to break into your car, they can shatter the glass in your windows to get in. It doesn’t work that way with your windshield though because it has a rubber lamination layer between two solid pieces of glass. The layer inside keeps the glass stable, and is thick enough to hold both pieces together even under incredibly high force. Of course, it should be noted that your windshield is not invincible, but it can withstand a lot. If windshields were weak, they would produce glass shards every time they were hit with enough pressure.
When it comes to cracks, most of the time whatever hits your car is affecting the top layer of the glass. It is possible, though not as common, that the object will pierce through the lamination layer to the second piece of glass.
Regardless, water can still find its way into the crack, which can then delaminate the glass. It can also fog up, freeze or draw dirt into the crack, which translates into even less visibility. It all boils down to the fact that you really shouldn’t wait when it comes to getting your glass fixed.
Repairing the Chip
There are ways to fix the chip enough that you’ll delay replacement (possibly indefinitely.) Tiny chips may take a long time to spread, so if it’s on the passenger side and the damage is small, you can likely use an epoxy or filler on the chip to repair it.
The best thing to do is to see an expert who really understands the damage, and the quirks of your particular windshield. The glass reacts differently to pressure depending on where it is and how much it receives. If the crack is on the perimeter of the glass rather than in the center, it generally requires a more involved repair.
However, even larger cracks may benefit from expert help if they’re on the surface. Since these repairs tend to be both inexpensive and important safety measures, they may even be covered by insurance (with your deductible waived.)
Products to Stop the Spread
There are products on the market to fix cracks, but the reviews are exceedingly mixed — and they’re not exactly cheap enough to ‘just see how it goes.’ Despite these products’ promises, the evidence and technology behind them is just not solid enough to recommend. If you’re involved in a rollover, you need your glass to be as strong as it can be, so the car won’t crumple. In fact, the glass accounts for 70% of the car’s stability in the event of a rollover. While these products may delay the crack (and even this is not a given), they’re simply not good enough if you’re looking for the best protection for you and your family.
Windshield Cracks and Fault
If your windshield is cracked, you may wonder whose fault it is, and if you can file for damage. The way it works is that anything that lies on the ground (e.g., gravel, rocks, or debris) falls under the category of ‘natural road hazard.’ This means if it’s kicked up by another car, it’s just a natural consequence of driving on the road. The material only needs to touch the ground for a second too.
So, if a truck is carrying gravel, and it spills from the truck onto the road and then bounces to your windshield, then that’s not the trucks fault. However, if it falls directly from the truck onto your windshield, then it is technically their fault. But, it would be hard to prove that to your insurance, or to get the truck to pull over to admit fault.
Your insurance company will be able to tell you more about their policy for replacement and repairs. Replacement is generally covered by insurance, but because the repair is usually less than the deductible, it likely won’t help you. If you did file this as a repair under insurance, it’s normally considered ‘no fault’, meaning you shouldn’t expect your premium to rise.
Normally large, deep cracks mean that you’ll need to get your windshield replaced, though it’s best to consult with someone who can assess the extent of the damage first. Anthony Volk Glass can help if you need another opinion. With more than two decades of experience on every kind of make and model, it’s our privilege to keep you safe on the road by fixing your windshield.
Each windshield repair and replacement is done with meticulous care. By inspecting and re-inspecting our work, we ensure excellent visibility and stability when it comes to your glass. Call us today at (610) 436-9727 to find out more!