It has happened to most drivers at some point during their years of driving – you’re driving down the road and suddenly you hear a loud noise that startles you. Something hit your windshield. Sometimes you see the object; usually a rock or pebble, while other times you have no idea what hit it. Sometimes the loud “thunk,” is all that comes from the incident while other incidents cause damage to some degree. Depending on the incident, your windshield could become scratched, chipped, cracked or even shattered.
Why is your windshield so important?
Your windshield is one of the largest parts of the structural integrity of your car. Not only does it play a role in holding up the roof of your car, but it acts as a barrier from the outside elements, debris and objects that kick up around your automobile as you drive down the road.
The windshield also serves as a means of protection in accidents, particularly rollovers, by helping to prevent being ejected from the car. With so much responsibility riding on your windshield, it is critical that you not ignore any damage it incurs and get it replaced right away, not only for your car’s integrity, but for your safety and the safety of others.
Types of windshield damage and the importance of windshield replacement
Scratch – A scratch may not seem significant in the terms of real damage to your windshield or give you the sense of urgency to replace it. But the truth is that a scratch is more than just an ugly eyesore that takes away from the appearance of your car. Although a scratch won’t hinder the integrity of your car, it poses its own safety issues. A scratch can obscure your visibility and increase your risk of an accident which is why you should not ignore a scratched windshield and have it replaced as soon as possible.
Chip – A little chip in the windshield is another incident that seems insignificant, especially if it doesn’t seem to be in your direct line of vision. Chips in the windshield can give-way and crack at any given time. Without warning they can take off and spider and across the glass which may not only cause visual obscurities but can weaken the windshield and cause an increased risk of shattering.
Crack – Cracks can be one of the most dangerous damages to a windshield. The stress induced on the windshield where the impact occurred can spread out over the entire windshield quickly and cause a dangerous driving situation. A cracked windshield should always be replaced as soon as it happens.
Shattered windshield – A shattered windshield basically speaks for itself. A shattered windshield should be replaced immediately – the very day it happens. You are putting you and others at a high risk of injury due to blocked visibility and the risk of an accident. Shattered windshields also diminish the integrity of your car. It will no longer provide the proper support to your roof; it weakens and the risk of a roof collapse increases, especially in an accident. Replacing your shattered windshield should only he done by a professional to avoid mistakes and complications that can affect the safety of your vehicle.
Cold weather areas are an even bigger concern when it comes to crack, chips and any windshield damage. If you live in a colder region, it is even more important that you get your windshield replaced immediately to prevent further damage to your windshield and reduce the risk of an accident or injury to yourself or others. Research shows that a chips in the windshield are more likely to spread, at least 80% of the time, at 14 degrees. At 30 degrees, a chip is more likely to go ahead and crack about 60% of the time.
Warm weather also has its definite effects on your windshield. Heat can distort the shape of your windshield which alone, can cause cracking. It is recommended to cool the car gradually to prevent a sudden, shock to the windshield temperature and cause stress to its integrity.
Don’t attempt to repair the damage – replace!
Many people will either ignore a chip or scratch on their windshield, or try to do a quick windshield fix on their own. Neither option is recommended. Ignoring windshield damage can lead to bigger and more severe damage while trying to fix a crack or chip on your own has its own set of risks. You should always have your windshield replaced by a professional in order to make sure it’s done correctly. Incorrect installation of any kind, creates all kinds of safety hazards that can put you, your passengers and other drivers at risk of harm.
Common risks you’ll face if you try to replace your own windshield include:
- Pop out – If windshields are not installed correctly you risk having your windshield popping out. Your windshield can pop out from simply driving over rough terrain or speed bumps. You don’t need anything as traumatic as being in an accident for it to happen if it’s installed incorrectly.
- Roof collapse – If your windshield pops out you no longer have the support for your roof to keep it above your head. Without a windshield your roof will begin to collapse which is a very dangerous and serious risk. You should never drive your automobile without a windshield for any reason and should always hire a professional to do the replacement.
- Leakage– Windshields need to be sealed completely and correctly in order to avoid a leakage problem. Even small leaks are detrimental to the functionality and safety of your automobile. Over time, small leaks can do damage to the seal of the windshield and weaken it as well as cause damage to the interior of your car. Mold growth is a common problem from a leaky windshield.
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