A crack in your windshield can happen in an instant, being largely unavoidable and a consequence of chance. It's common sense that any obstruction to your line of vision can be very dangerous while driving, so a windshield replacement is called for most of the time. A small crack can increase in size over time as well, so it's a time-sensitive necessity.
Since some insurance policies don't cover chipped glass, while some states will cover it if a natural disaster is the cause, there's a strong likelihood you will have to pay out of pocket for the replacement. However, before you fear a big hit to your wallet, it's worth keeping the tips below in mind to find the most effective and cost-friendly replacement:
Try Filling the Chip
The first thing to do when seeing your cracked windshield is to drive home and investigate. Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the new chip. Even if it's not in the driver's direct line of sight, repair is always recommended. Future moisture will find its way into the chip otherwise, causing the glass to delaminate from the center membrane, causing a bigger blemish.
As a result, it's best to repair the chip ASAP. It's possible to fill some chips yourself, with damage repair kits being recommended for chips resembling stars, flowers, a bull's eye or B.B. impacts. However, if the damage is a long crack, spider crack or other lengthy surface damage, it's likely too late to repair the crack, and a new windshield is in order.
Windshield crack repair kits are found in the auto parts section of many major stores, with a cost of around $10 to $20. Small cracks that haven't spread can possibly be treated with this remedy. While repairing with the kit, make sure the window is entirely dry, as any moisture during the repair process can cause even more damage.
Get a Professional Replacement
While some small cracks can be treated at home with a kit, it’s often better safe than sorry to have a professional replace or repair your windshield instead. Auto glass repair services are available throughout the county, with extra care being taken because the trained professionals follow the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard, developed by the Auto Glass Safety Council.
Replacement times vary between vehicles, though auto glass professionals are able to provide a timeframe upon starting, including how long the driver has to wait for the adhesives to set. This time is referred to as "Safe Drive Away Time" (SDAT).
Some older vehicles will benefit from the installation of laminated safety glass, which may be different from their current glass if their car is older. With this glass, both outer glass layers are independent of each other, preventing shards of glass from potentially sticking to the membrane and causing glass-damage havoc. Getting your windshield repaired can be a headache, though seeking out improved material if you do get an entire replacement is a great idea to prevent future issues.
While it’s entirely possible to repair a smaller windshield crack on your own using over-the-counter repair kits, many cases are better left to professionals, who abide by mandated safety standards and are able to personalize their services to your vehicle and needs specifically.