Windshield damage is an often-unavoidable fact of life. It can be sustained from weather changes, rocks being kicked up by the car in front of you, or acorns falling from trees, among other causes. How you go about handling glass damage can affect the type of repair you need.
The first thing you should do when examining a windshield crack is make sure that it does not block your view of the road. Many cracks start out small, but pressure from varying weather conditions and other objects hitting the glass could lead to the crack expanding. While small cracks and dings can generally be repaired, cracks longer than six inches require window replacement and increase the cost and urgency of the service. Measure the crack as soon as possible after it happens, and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not expand. You should also take a picture of the damage for your insurance company, who will want a full description of the damage and, if possible, how it was sustained. If the damage begins at the edge of the window, it will need to be replaced quickly because glass will be more prone to shatter and the vehicle will not be safe to drive.
Protecting Against the Elements
After filing a claim with your insurance company, there are several measures you can take to prevent the crack from growing before the repair. If the crack does not block your view of the road, you can put a piece of clear masking tape over the damage to keep the area clean and sealed, much like a band aid. Avoid parking directly in the sun, as heat can further warp the damage and make it more difficult to repair. Park in the shade or in a garage when possible. During warmer months, refrain from blasting your air conditioner as soon as you get in the car. Temperature change is the most likely thing to contribute to windshield damage. Open your windows and doors to cool your car before driving, or run your air conditioner on the lower settings. To avoid jostling the glass further, avoid potholes, drive carefully over speed-bumps, and close your doors gently.
If the damage to your windshield is more extensive, you will need to get a replacement. If the glass has shattered, use a vacuum to remove small shards of glass and your gloved hands to pick up larger pieces. Wipe down the edge of the window frame with a damp cloth to catch anything that could get caught in the crack. Use the clear masking tape in strips to cover the window in a grid, both in and out of the car. Please note that this is not recommended for driving as the tape will be in your line of vision if you are fixing your windshield.
While some of these measures can help you put off a repair or replacement for a bit, the crack is ultimately in glass and will need to be worked on. Windshield Centers is a leading auto glass repair shop in the greater Rochester and Buffalo, NY areas. You can come to our repair shop or we will bring the repair to you at home, work or school. Contact us online or at (800) 900-1505 to schedule windshield repair or replacement services today.