If you’re a vehicle owner, you generally try to keep up with regular maintenance – regular oil changes, new coolant, and the occasional transmission service. When a more serious problem arises, usually it will make it much higher up on the priority list in order to avoid more serious issues. However, there is one particular component that is neglected by many drivers – the windshield.
Although the windshield seems to serve only a superficial role, its importance for safety should never be underestimated. Just like any serious engine problem, a chipped, cracked or damaged windshield should be repaired or replaced immediately. Although a chipped windshield may not prevent you from driving, the potential crack racing across the glass could prevent you from driving safely.
Many people may have doubts about the value of chip repair. To some, paying to repair a chip barely the size of a small coin could seem unreasonable, however the windshield is very susceptible to stress, and a small chip can easily progress into a crack that can reach end to end. It may appear solid enough, even with a small chip, but the windshield’s condition can deteriorate rather quickly, and in an accident even the smallest area of weakness can result in structural failure.
What is so special about windshield glass?
Windshields are made of a type of laminated glass, consisting of two layers of special composite glass with a laminate film in between, separating the layers. The laminate usually is made from a form of vinyl plastic, and acts as a sticking board for the inner and outer layer of glass, which holds both layers together and provides a surface in the event of shattering for glass fragments to adhere to. A black frame around 2 to 3 inches in width, called the ‘frit’, lines the outer edges of the windshield. The frit protects the urethane molding (the substance that bonds the windshield to the vehicle) from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Without the frit, the urethane molding would melt with exposure to heat and become ineffective in securing the windshield to the frame.
The safety of all vehicle occupants is in jeopardy if the windshield is damaged, particularly the driver and passenger. In an accident, a chip or crack serves as a catalyst for increased damage. Compression stress from a collision will extend the crack across the windshield, where it will normally break. A windshield that has been weakened by a chip or crack can also reduce the effectiveness of the driver and passenger airbags. When these airbags are deployed, the windshield prevents them from expanding upward, and directs them toward the occupants. Should the windshield break or collapse in an accident, the airbag may not deploy correctly, increases the risk of more severe injuries.
What do I do if my windshield is chipped?
The good news is that in most cases a replacement windshield is not necessary. Depending on the size and location of the chip, many can be repaired without replacing the glass entirely, while large cracks and chips require replacement of the windshield. The obvious alternative is to get chips fixed before they lead to a more severe problem. In many cases, a crack is the end result of a small chip left untreated. Each time you stop for fuel, or periodically when you exit your vehicle at home, make sure to examine your windshield for any signs of damage. The edges of the windshield, along the frit, are most effected by driving stress, so if you notice a chip along the edge, even if only it is very small, it is important to have it immediately repaired before it expands into a crack that totally ruins the windshield.
Whether your vehicle is parked or moving down the highway, the windshield is under some form of strain. A chip may not seem like a big deal and in the short term it isn’t, however chips often lead to cracks, which in turn lead to a hazard for you and anyone riding with you. For more information on our affordable windshield repair services, call (336) 851-1380, or request a quote through our website.
We also offer mobile replacement service. If your windshield is severely damages while out on the road, our mobile technicians can come directly to you with a replacement windshield and have you back on the road safely.