If a piece of debris hits your car while you’re driving and leaves a crack, do you need to take your car into the shop? Although you might be tempted to ignore that tiny imperfection, damage to your windshield can endanger you while driving. Your car’s windshield is a safety feature that protects you against the elements and performs life-saving functions, such as reducing crash injuries, preventing foreign objects from penetrating the interior of your vehicle, and supporting your car’s roof. Some vehicles are even equipped with windshields that aid in deploying the airbags. If you don’t attend to the blemish in your windshield, it can eventually impede your vision or affect the above safety features. While there are DIY windshield repair kits available, it’s best to take your windshield to a professional.
Should I Try DIY Windshield Repair?
DIY windshield repair is possible, but some damaged windshields are beyond repair and should be replaced by a pro. Keep the following in mind before attempting to repair your own windshield.
Different Types of Damage
There are different ways your windshield can be cracked, and certain types of cracks are too serious to repair. If your car’s windshield has one of the following damage types, it might need to be replaced:
- Crack: a cracked line in the glass over 14 inches.
- Multiple cracks: multiple cracks in your windshield that originate from the same point of impact, even if they’re under 14 inches.
- Surface Pit: a nick in the glass that looks like a small pit larger than 1/8 of an inch in diameter.
- Star Break: a series of small cracks emanating from the same point and over 3 inches.
- Bullseye: a circle or half circle in the outer glass with a dark circle in the middle larger than one inch in diameter.
- Combination break: a combination of different types of breaks, with a damaged area over 2 inches.
Where Is the Damage Located?
The location of the damage is an important factor in determining if your windshield can be repaired. If the crack in your windshield reaches the outer edge of the glass, your windshield probably needs to be replaced. Cracks that reach the outer edge of the windshield threaten its integrity.
Any damage to your windshield that obstructs your view of the road is considered unsafe and requires a replacement. Cracks around your vehicle’s features, including the rain sensors, lane departure warning, and automatic driver assistance, can cause those features to stop working or malfunction. If this is the case, replacing the windshield is your best option and could save you money.
How Deep Is the Damage?
Most vehicles use laminated windshields—windshields with two layers of glass on the outside and a plastic layer on the outside. The plastic is there to minimize the amount of glass pieces your windshield creates if shattered. If the damage to your windshield penetrates the plastic layer, it’s too deep to repair.
Are Windshield Repair Kits Safe?
If your window needs repairing, not replacing, it’s still best to let the professionals handle it. According to the National Windshield Repair Division, DIY repair kits only repair 10% of all damaged windshields. Many windshield cracks are very small, making it difficult for the untrained eye to see if they’ve been filled correctly with resin. A lot of damage also requires drilling and flexing which can only be done by professionals. Overall, it’s best to have a mechanic fix your window, as it plays an integral role in keeping you and your passengers safe. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, then safety glass is probably covered under your policy.
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