How to Handle Windshield Damage before It Spiderwebs out of Control
In the blink of an eye, rocks kicked up by a passing vehicle can hurl toward your windshield, causing a (hopefully) small ding or crack to appear. The crack may look minor at first, but know that it will gradually spread across your windshield in a spiderweb pattern. If you act fast—before the crack spreads—and have it repaired by a professional, you’ll hopefully avoid the need for a full windshield replacement. Here’s how to proceed, quickly.
1. Skip the Quick Fix Products
As a first-time driver, you might be tempted to use quick fixes to repair the windshield crack yourself. Unfortunately, super glue, clear nail polish, epoxy, and other DIY windshield repair methods never work for long. Worse yet, contaminating the crack in the glass may prevent you from acquiring professional repairs, says Joe Koncikowski, Owner of Lucky Dog Auto Glass in Kent, Wash.
“We have to be able to open a path to vacuum out the air and displace it with resin,” Koncikowski said. “If any part of that path is blocked, then the repair will not be successful. Typically, there is only one chance to get a repair done correctly. If it isn’t done properly the first time, there usually isn’t a second chance.”
Skip the hassle by heading straight to the experts once a crack appears. You just have to make it to the auto glass shop, or have a mobile company come to you, before the crack spreads too far for this simple repair. According to Jon Cox, Manager of Patriot Auto Glass, “If you put a quarter over the impact point of the chip, all the damage must fit underneath” to qualify for repairs. The location also plays a role in determining whether a chip or crack is repairable. Your auto glass professional will assess the damage and let you know the best course of action.
2. Treat Your Car Gently
Until you acquire professional auto glass repairs, it is important to treat your car gently to try to deter the crack from growing. Concussive forces, rapid temperature changes, and external pressure can all instantly expand the crack across your entire windshield.
- Close doors slowly and with great care to limit concussive forces.
- Park in the shade and skip heat and/or air conditioning to prevent rapid temperature changes.
- Delay car washes, especially drive-through systems, to avoid external pressure.
Once you have your windshield repaired or replaced by a professional, you can resume your normal activities without worrying about the integrity of your auto glass.
3. Call Auto Glass Shops for Price Quotes
Auto glass professionals can quickly and easily provide price quotes over the phone, so take advantage by calling several local shops for comparison purposes. Toss out the lowest and highest quotes, and then select from the rest to find the best combination of quality and value. Remember to check current reviews to confirm that the auto glass shop has a great reputation with past and current customers. Once you have selected a shop, call ahead to schedule an appointment before bringing your vehicle down.
Go Mobile for Quicker Service
In most states, current laws make it illegal to drive with dings or cracks in your windshield, and for good reason, too. With forward visibility compromised by windshield damage, your risk of collisions with roadway obstacles, pedestrians, and other vehicles greatly increases. Furthermore, if a collision does occur, an undamaged windshield can help your vehicle retain its rigid structure to help protect you and your passengers from injury.
Despite your status as one of many first-time drivers, if you follow the tips above, you can quickly resolve windshield cracks like a true driving veteran. Remember to jump into action as soon as the crack appears to keep your windshield in optimal condition for years to come.