Imagine driving down the road trying to hurry up and get to that 8 AM meeting when suddenly, a truck speeds by and kicks a rock up on to the windshield, cracking it on impact. Ugh, better hurry and fix that before it lengthens.

Windshields are meant to stand up to the wear and tear of traveling on highways but damage does happen eventually. They are made of sturdy stuff, that’s why they don’t cave in on the driver immediately but windshield damage can cause problems down the road if not fixed soon.

Here are some ways to tell if windshield crack repair is possible, or if it would be better just to replace the whole thing.

1. Repair or Replace

The good news is most chips and cracks can be repaired. The possibility of windshield crack repair boils down to the size, depth, type, and location of the damage. The results will depend on the age of the crack, the amount of contamination, the location, and the severity of the damage.

A good auto glass repair technician will have to evaluate all these factors before deciding if they can repair it. Their answer will be based on their skill with equipment, their customer’s expectations, and the probability of a high-quality repair.

2. Size and Depth

Most any shop can repair chips that are about one-inch in diameter and cracks that are 3 inches long. Originally, before upgrades in technology, if the crack was the length of a dollar bill there was no repairing it.

It is now possible to fix wider cracks and chips. These days, auto repair shops can easily repair cracks up to 18 inches long. Got to love technology!

3. What Kind of Damage is it

Time to flip over to the technical side of things. There are many different types of windshield damage though the common term for them are chips and cracks. Here are the different types of them that a driver may run into.

Bullseye

A bullseye is damage that is marked by a separated cone in the outer layer of glass. It results in a dark circle with an impact point.

It can usually be fixed as long as the diameter is one inch or smaller and there is no dirt in the head. It also needs to be out of the driver’s line of vision.

Combination Break

A combination break is a break with some personality. It will have multiple characteristics like a star within a bullseye or short and long cracks that stem from the damage.

It can typically be fixed as long as the diameter of the body (excluding legs and subsurface breaks) doesn’t extend longer than 2 inches.

Half Moon

In simple terms, a Half Moon is a partial bullseye. It can be fixed as long as the diameter of the damage is an inch or smaller.

Star Break

A star break will have a series of legs extending from the break. It can sometimes be fixed but only if the legs don’t extend past 3 inches and it’s not in the driver’s field of vision.

Surface Pit

A surface pit is a nick in the glass that comes from usual wear and tear. It doesn’t penetrate the plastic interlayer.

It can be fixed if it doesn’t exceed more than 1/8 of an inch in diameter. Be cautious about this. Many surface pits cannot be repaired if the damage is too extensive.

4. Location

Even the best repairs usually leave behind some sort of discoloration or unevenness. If the damage is in the driver’s line of sight then it can decrease visibility and be quite dangerous. The technician will have to consider all potential drivers before repairs are done because visibility will vary depending on the height of the driver.

Any crack that is at the edge of the windshield threatens to reduce the strength of its hold to the metal frame. This can put passengers in danger.

5. Repairs

Repairing a single chip or crack will usually take 30 to 40 minutes. If the damage is deep or dirty, more steps will be needed in order to fix it.

The repair involves a clear resin into the outer layer of glass. This will restore its strength and fix its appearance. Once the resin is injected it is then cured and polished, leaving the area nice and smooth.

6. Replacement

Any chip that is larger than 2 inches across or a crack that’s one foot or longer won’t be able to be repaired. This means there is no hope for it and a replacement is inevitable.

The process usually takes an hour with an additional hour to weight for the adhesive to dry. So grab a book because it might take a while.

7. Cracks that Cannot be Repaired

There is a small list of cracks and chips that cannot be repaired. If a single look at the damage indicates any of the following, bring something to do to the repair shop because it’s going to need replacing.

  • Damage on the inside of the windshield
  • Deep damage on both layers of glass
  • Damage over rain sensor or internal radio antenna
  • Damages that bleed into the driver’s line of vision
  • Complex, multiple cracks
  • Very long cracks
  • Contaminated cracks
  • Edge cracks and chips

These are all indicators that your windshield isn’t fixable and must be replaced as soon as possible. If you put it off you run the risk of the crack getting worse, or other dangers on the road.

Windshield Crack Repair: Fix it up Quickly

There is a fine line between windshield crack repair and windshield crack replacement. It all depends on how deep the damage is, the kind of damage, the location of the damage, and if the spot is contaminated or not. A replacement isn’t wanted, but necessary if a repair just won’t do it.

If it’s time for a windshield crack repair, click here to request a quote and discuss the damage.

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