Spring is in the air… This means freshly washed cars, windows down, music up and cracked windshields??? Noo no no, we can’t let that ruin this pretty picture. Although a damaged windshield can be the rain on our springtime parade, it is more than just a common yet unseeming eye sore. A small crack or fracture in your windshield is the beginning of something that can become more that just a small flaw. This tiny miniscule chip can grow to five times its size in one unexpected bump in the road. So today, let’s talk about a few signs to look for when your windshield may be in need of repair or even a replacement.
Tiny scratch? No big deal right? WRONG. While a surface scratch does not greatly affect the structural integrity of your windshield it can still be quite a large factor when it comes to safety. As thin and as faint as a scratch on your windshield might be, it can actually be very dangerous. A scratch in your windshield can obscure a driver’s view especially when in his or her direct line of sight. Scratches can make it hard to read street signs or can even cause light to reflect into the driver’s eyes in a distracting manner. Ever tried to read through a pair of dirty or scratched glasses? Yeah, that bad.
Lays, Ruffles, Fritos, Doritos, all good chips. Chips in your windshield? No, not so good. Chips can commonly be caused by road debris from construction, hail, rocks on the road and acorns falling from a tree. Even though they are like our good friend “Scratches” and are not a large factor when it comes to the structural integrity, chips are a lot easier to repair as long as they are not in the direct line of sight of the driver. A little chip towards the outside edge of the glass can take as little as twenty minutes to repair. When a chip is in the direct line of sight from the driver’s seat, replacing the windshield is a more appropriate option rather than just repairing it since they have the possibility of coming back.
Though cracks are more common in the winter months, we still see our fair share of them during the Spring and Summer. Depending on the size of the crack it could possibly be repaired without having to replace the entire windshield. Though this is a cheaper option we like to stress the fact that as good as the best repair job is, the crack never fully goes away. Repairing them is a great way to keep the cracks from spreading but it is merely a bandaid. Eventually the windshield will need to be replaced entirely in order to provide maximum safety for the vehicle’s passengers.
If the “Chip” had an angry older brother, this would be it. A Bull’s Eye is an indentation in the glass typically with a cone in the outer layer of the glass. This is commonly created by an object that is round or circular. This indentation in the glass penetrates several layers of the glass and doesn’t just rest on the surface. This type of damage directly impacts the integrity of the glass resulting in a far less structurally sound piece. To keep passengers safe, this almost always requires a total replacement.
These are not the lines in your forehead. Good guess though. Stress cracks are created not by trauma to the windshield like the ones we have mentioned prior. These are cracks that appear in your windshield without the loss of glass on the surface. Stress cracks are caused by a large and relatively quick variation in temperature. The most common example of this is on a cold snowy morning you go out to your car to turn it on and warm it up and all of a sudden… CRRRRAACK. Stress crack. Sound Familiar? I thought so, however, what some of you may not know though is that it can also happen in reverse! Picture this… it is a hot, sunny, dry summer day and you decide you want to wash your car. Grab the soap, the microfiber cloths, turn on the hose and then… CRRRRAACK. Stress crack. AGAIN. There are a few ways to identify this, the first is that there is no obvious point of impact. The crack is even for the most part and the point of origin is not clear. Another way to test for this is to simply roll a ball point pen over the crack. If the pen does not dip into the crack and it shows no resistance when passing over it, it means that there is no glass missing from the surface.
Oh man you thought you heard the worse when we mentioned the Bull’s Eye right? Well here is the STAR of the show (see what we did there?). Stars are like the Bull’s Eye but instead of ending with the the outer layer of the cone, we ADD cracks that spread outward in more than one direction from the outside of the cone. This means that instead of stopping at that outer layer there is a potential for the crack to continue on and even break off into smaller outward cracks. This could start from the driver’s side of your windshield and make it all the way over to the passenger’s in no time at all.
Now that you are a little bit more familiar with the different types windshield cracks and blemishes it will be easier for you to spot the signs and know when the time is right to give us a call. Please let us know at the first sign of any windshield issue, we would be happy to provide you with a free quote. As always your safety is always top of mind for us here at RC Autoglass and we look forward to working with you!