The Importance of Fixing Damaged Windshield
A chipped or cracked windshield is not only an unsightly blemish on a car, it can be a major safety issue, auto experts say.
Experts say driving with a damaged windshield risks your life and the lives of drivers around you because you are more susceptible to get into an accident.
A damaged windshield — or one that hasn’t been properly set and glued into place — can pop out during a collision. The windshield also provides structural support for the car, meaning an improperly installed windshield could even cause the roof to collapse.
“The windshield is part of the structural integrity of the vehicle, and protects occupants during an accident, especially a rollover accident,” says Mike Delaney. “The A-pillars [the frame of the car that runs from the side of the windshield to the back of the car] of vehicles are getting thinner, and the windshield is more a safety feature now than 40 years ago. If a windshield is not replaced properly, it won’t adhere to the vehicle properly.”
Driving with a cracked windshield
Many smaller chips are easily fixable by a reputable auto glass expert. But if the chip is too large, or it expands to the length or width of a credit card, it will likely need to be replaced.
Standard windshields are made of two transparent pieces of glass that are glued to a vinyl resin in the center. The vinyl resin helps keep the glass in place during impact or a collision and stops shards of glass from flying, which can cause serious injury or death.
However, experts say once the vinyl resin, or safety layer, has been cracked or chipped, the windshield is unable to withstand much more impact, and cannot protect as well the driver and passengers. A large crack can also negatively impact your vision and reflect sunlight glare, making it difficult to see.
Many cracks and chips can be repaired for less than $100. But if the chip gets too big to repair, or if the original crack was too deep or wide, you may need a qualified professional to replace the windshield.
Although the windshield replacement process often takes less than an hour, you’ll want to find a professional who has the right tools and expertise to do the job. A technician should first replace the rubberized weather stripping that holds the windshield to the frame of the car along the edges of the glass. Typically, after removing any exterior trim and the weather stripping, a coating of adhesive is applied along the edges of the windshield frame, before lifting the glass into place.
“Most late-model vehicles have windshields that are glued in place,” said David Lamontagne. “The old windshield must first be cut out of the vehicle. Then the body and glass are cleaned and prepped. The new windshield and moldings, if required, are reinstalled in the vehicle with a urethane-type glue and are allowed to cure for a short time before the car can be driven.”
Windshield replacement cost
The average price of a new windshield installation ranges from $170 to $300, or more. Many insurance policies will cover windshield replacement, but you’ll need to check the details. If you have a $500 deductable, for example, you’ll likely end up paying for everything.
Experts say if you’re not sure whether the windshield needs repaired or replaced, take it to a professional as soon as possible.
“If a ding or star chip is not repaired quickly, it could spread into a crack, requiring replacement,” Delaney said. “Extreme heat or cold could cause stress on the impact spot and cause it to grow larger. Guidelines are different industry-wide, but mine is the damage should be about the size of a quarter or less.”
Read online reviews to find a reputable auto glass company. Get at least three estimates and ask the technicians what process they use for replacement. To learn more about auto glass repair or replacement, go to an Auto Glass Repair website, a not-for-profit organization that has established industry safety standards.
“Your windshield is a structural component to your vehicle,” Lamontagne said. “It supports the roof and pillar area. With this in mind, it is very important to be sure that no corners are cut during the replacement process. If a windshield is installed improperly, it could fall out of the vehicle during a collision and allow the occupants to be ejected.”
Blog Source: Angieslist | Why Replacing a Cracked Windshield is Important by Tom Moor