Perhaps a small stone flew up from the vehicle in front of you and chipped your windshield. Alternatively, a large branch in a storm crashed down on it. Whatever caused the damage, you are facing the need for a windshield repair or replacement. A chip or crack of any size should be taken care of and not ignored. Even if it is a small problem, over time it will become an important one. Windshield repairs are less costly than full replacement, but how can you tell which your vehicle glass needs? An understanding of the difference between repairs and replacement is helpful. There are also some considerations that can help you determine the extent of your windshield damage.

Repair or Replacement: What’s The Difference?

The majority of chips and cracks can be repaired if it is done soon after the damage occurs. Factors such as temperature changes, moisture, and others will cause a small chip or crack to grow, so time is of the essence. In general, there are four different factors that will determine if resins and polishing can repair the glass, or if full replacement is needed. It is always best to allow a professional glass technician to advise you on which is needed. However, you can have a relatively good idea when you make an auto glass appointment by examining the damage yourself.

Four Factors

The size, type, depth, and location are the four factors used to determine whether repair or full replacement is needed. Each instance of damage is evaluated on a case by case basis, so there is no exact science ensuring your estimation will be entirely accurate. However, examining these four factors can help you better understand what you may need. The general rule of thumb for size and depth is that if a crack is larger than a dollar bill, your glass will need to be replaced. Chips up to one inch in diameter should repairable; chips greater than this will likely lead to replacement.

There are several types of cracks and the ability to repair them vary. If the crack is single, repair is more likely to be an option. When there are multiple cracks, it becomes more unlikely. Chips that look like a star or a bullseye do not require replacement when they are small. However, if the chip is larger than a quarter, it may not be repairable. Finally, the location of the damage must also be considered. Any damage that would affect line of sight for the driver will typically require replacement. Even repaired glass may leave a noticeable defect, and if that repair has the potential to decrease clarity and reduce visibility, it can be considered a safety issue. Cracks that are very close to the edge of the windshield, or are hidden by the windshield frame or molding may also require replacement. A crack that cannot be seen is harder to repair.

Most Common Unrepairable Issues

As a quick rule of thumb, if the damage to your auto glass has any of the following attributes, you are most likely going to need a complete windshield replacement. The characteristics include damage on the inside of the windshield or deep damage on both the outer and inner layer of glass. Also, complex cracks with multiple lines, long cracks, or cracks that have allowed contamination in, whether water or chemical, a repair will not be possible. Again, an experienced and professional auto glass technician is the best way to determine what is needed. Also, any damage should be examined and repaired or replaced by a technician as soon as possible. This will eliminate the possibility of the repairable damage becoming worse, and will restore the safety system of your vehicle’s integrity.

Why GlassWerks?

GlassWerks is your locally owned glass company providing a level of service and attention that’s difficult to find. Our mission is to combine our highly experienced auto glass professionals with our dedication to earning our customers’ trust through our focus on honesty and integrity. With GlassWerks, we treat your vehicle as if it were our own and always go the extra mile. Want to learn more? Visit our services to learn all the ways we can help with your glass needs, or contact us at one of our three locations today!

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