A damaged windshield is like a damaged tire. Both demand immediate attention.
Your windshield is one of your car’s most important safety restraints. In a collision, it can help keep you inside the vehicle. At the same time, it can help keep glass shards and other harmful debris outside. As a major structural component, it also provides protective support for your vehicle’s passenger cabin in the event of a collision or rollover.
Safety is built right in
Modern windshields are made out of laminated, shatterproof safety glass. The windshield’s three-layer construction include two outer layers of tempered glass and a middle layer of polyvinyl butyral, a strong resin. If it breaks, the resin protects you by holding the pieces of glass together. Safety glass also prevents small chips and cracks from penetrating beyond the outside layer of your windshield.1
Repair or replace?
The answer depends on the extent of the damage and how long it’s been since it occurred. Let’s look at both:Windshield repair
Small cracks and chips can sometimes be repaired but if the crack is longer than a dollar bill or the chip larger than a quarter, you may have to replace the entire windshield.2
To repair a crack or chip, a technician fills the damaged area with clear polymer and then vacuums the damaged area to ensure there are no air bubbles or debris left inside. The repair will not be completely invisible but a repair can stop the damage from expanding.3
One thing to remember about scheduling a repair: it should be done right away, as the damage can worsen over time.
Tip: Until you can get it repaired, it’s a good idea to put clear tape over the crack or chip to keep dirt from washing in.
If your windshield must be replaced, don’t buy on price alone. Insist on either original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or original equipment equivalent (OEE) auto glass. In addition, look for a Department of Transportation (DOT) stamp on the glass to ensure it meets federal standards for safety glass.4
Next, make sure the shop and technician you choose are certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) or the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS). To find a certified shop in your area, visit Safewindshields.org and enter your zip code.
Installers recommend letting your vehicle sit for at least an hour after replacement before driving it. This gives the adhesive used to hold the replacement in place time to cure.5
Home or office?
Replacing your windshield isn’t as inconvenient as it sounds. Many shops offer mobile replacement, where the technician comes to you.
Windshield replacement prices can be expensive but if your insurance doesn’t cover the replacement, with the Synchrony Car CareTM credit card special financing for automotive repairs, including windshield replacement are available. No interest if paid in full within 6 months on purchases of $199 or more.*
*No interest will be charged on the promo purchase if you pay the promo purchase amount in full within 6 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the promo purchase from the purchase date. Depending on purchase amount, promotion length and payment allocation, the required minimum monthly payments may or may not pay off purchase by end of promotional period. Minimum monthly payments required. Regular account terms apply to non-promotional purchases and, after promotion ends, to promotional balance. For new accounts: Purchase APR is 29.99%; Minimum Interest Charge is $2. Existing cardholders should see their credit card agreement for their applicable terms. Subject to credit approval.
Tip: Grease from the technician’s hands can prevent the adhesive from curing properly. Make sure the technician wears gloves.
A stich in time
While you have no control over the rock that chipped your windshield, you do have control over your windshield repair. If you act fast, you can minimize the damage. If you hear something hit your windshield, pull over when it is safe to do so and examine the glass carefully. A small crack may go undetected and if left unrepaired, will get larger, making replacement necessary. You should repair any windshield damage as soon as possible. Besides the fact that it can obscure your vision, it’s also a safety hazard.6 In some states, it’s against the law to drive with a cracked windshield.
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