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When Do You Have to Do Something About Damage to Auto Glass?

We have all seen cars with tiny imperfections in their windshields and windows. Maybe a tiny piece of rock rocketed off a gravel truck. Or the owner tried to melt ice off the windshield and windows by pouring hot water on them. Or a kid’s baseball collided with your car.

There are federal road safety standards that state that you have to get your windshield repaired or (preferably) replaced when:

  • You have a crack 3/4 inch in diameter in your windshield or window.
  • You have two cracks in your windshield or windows that intersect.
  • There is a crack directly in the driver’s view.

Driving around with that kind of damage can get you a ticket anywhere in the United States. In Maryland, the laws are a little more vague.

Maryland law does not permit you to drive your car if the driver’s view is obstructed. What constitutes an obstruction to driver-side vision is left up to the patrol officer’s opinion. Still, you can be sure that any damage greater than that listed above can get you a ticket.

More importantly, little cracks in auto glass can become big cracks.


Small Cracks Get Bigger

Whenever something hits the auto glass, it weakens the glass.

An object thrown against auto glass can create a chip, a small crack, or a large crack. In all three cases, further damage is inevitable.

Chips can splinter. Small cracks can spread. Water can get into tiny crevices in the glass, freeze, and expand. Summer heat can cause the glass to expand, so cracks widen, and the glass weakens. Cracks in the windshield or rear-view window can grow while you are on the road when you can’t pull over.


Location Makes a Difference

The standard advice on getting windshield repair is if the crack is on the passenger side of your car, you can drive around with it a little longer.

But do you really want to put your passenger at risk of getting hit with flying glass should your windshield give way?

When the chip or crack is on the driver’s side, there is no doubt you need to get windshield replacement right away.

Replacement is also urgent when the crack or chip is on the edge of the glass. When glass is weak on one edge, moisture can get between the layers of the glass. Exposure to heat or cold can cause the whole layer of glass to break away.

Sometimes Windshield Replacement Becomes Urgent

A crack that is getting longer signals that you need a glass replacement soon. A crack that is getting wider is a sign that you need glass replacement without delay. Damage to your windshield generally only gets worse.

But Can’t I Just Get My Windshield Repaired?

Auto glass repair involves “gluing” broken edges of glass together.

A technician cleans your windshield or window with a window cleaner. Sometimes, this simple step breaks the glass.

The technician removes any broken glass or debris. The tech positions a resin injector over the crack or chip and fills in any gap in the glass. Next, a piece of plastic goes over the resin to press out any air bubbles. The technician uses a razor blade to even up the repair with the curve of the original glass. Then the resin is cured with UV light or by leaving your car in the sun for about an hour.

Sure, you can do windshield repair yourself. But there is a pretty long list of reasons you don’t want to:

  • Most do-it-yourselfers don’t realize that you need certain pieces of equipment to get a good result when you repair the glass. You need sandpaper. You need a primer, a sealant, and a squeegee. You need an injector for the repair resin. Painting it over the crack won’t work. You need to be able to keep the resin at the right temperature.
  • Soap and water are not enough to clean your windshield before doing repair work. You need a professional auto glass cleaner to remove any debris left in the crack or chip before you apply the resin, or it will not stick.
  • The low-quality resin will make your windshield weaker, not stronger. After a few months, it may darken into a visible streak on the glass.
  • Summer repair jobs often lead to failure of the glass later. Without a UV light source, you can’t get the resin to cure properly at high temperatures.
  • You must always drive your car carefully for about 24 hours after any windshield or window glass repair. That’s because you don’t know whether the repair job worked until the resin is cured. You don’t have to wait to drive your car if you have your windshield or windows replaced.

Whether it is a crack, a chip, a star, a bullseye, or damage to the laminate in your windshield, replacement is always better than repair. Replacement gives you the peace of mind that you and your passengers are fully protected. Your comprehensive coverage on your auto policy pays for it. Often you can get your damaged windshield replaced for a $0 deductible after you file your claim.

Safe Auto Glass can come to your home or business to replace your windshield today. Get a free quote online or call us at (877) 215-7735 for more information now!

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