We know it may be tempting to drive with a cracked windshield, but there are some critical things you should consider before you do. The biggest mistake, however, is thinking that a small crack isn’t going to be a big deal. In our experience, this is only true for so long. Once it gives, it becomes far more problematic and typically a more expensive repair. Here are some factors to think about when it comes to whether or not you should drive with windshield damage.
Cracks Get Worse Due to Debris and Moisture
While it doesn’t happen all the time, debris and water make a crack worse with time. This is because the debris keeps agitating the glass, which is why many times, you’ll see that crack getting bigger and longer. If rain or snow get into the crack, the temperature and conditions make the glass less stable. This, inevitably, leads to worsening damage. So, while having a chip or small crack might not seem like a big deal, chances are it’s just a ticking clock as to when it gets worse. Many chips, and even some cracks, can be repaired before a full windshield replacement. Now is the time to have your windshield checked out before you end up spending money you didn’t need to.
Temperature Shifts Shatter Glass
Glass, like most other materials, will expand and contract according to temperature. You might recall this detail from your high school science classes. In the winter, the glass will contract and pull in from all sides of a crack. This contraction will lead to the windshield cracking at the broken point or other areas of the window. With heat, you get an expansion, and this creates other issues. Cracks push open, inviting more water and debris into the glass, making it prone to more cracking. Also, the swing in temperatures can lead to more damages. A windshield can sit in the sun all day and then crack in the cooler night air.
Pressure Causes Chips and Cracks to Get Worse
Pressure changes in your car from closing doors or moving in environment elevation can cause additional cracking and damage. In fact, this pressure can shatter a seemingly small blemish. Some people find that the shatter gets worse by just cleaning the window from one side or the other. Just think, if the windshield is that sensitive to your hand, what will happen to it in an accident or car wash.
Cracked Windshields Lead to Injury from Accidents
Your auto glass has a function beyond looking out of it. In fact, it’s part of a bigger performance feature of your vehicle and is designed to work with the rest of the structure of your car, truck, or SUV. All of your auto glass, but most importantly, your windshield, is designed to protect you in the case of an auto accident. First, it’s directly tied to your airbag system. When your windshield is broken or damaged, the sensor for your airbags might not deploy when they need to. Second, this glass is made of laminated glass. Two plies of glass that sandwich plastic that keeps the glass intact when it’s damaged. This prevents you from getting life-threatening injuries in an accident. When your windshield cracks, the plastic between the glass might have already cracked or wore down. This leaves you far more vulnerable to injury.
A small crack might not be a significant visual impediment, but it has the chance to become one quickly. A larger shatter will leave you bobbing and weaving to see around while driving on the road. You might be completely confident with playing that game while driving, but it does make it less safe for other drivers on the road. Cracks invite sunlight to hit your eyes the wrong way or leave a blinding line of light in your visual path. Keep in mind that cracks can block you from seeing people using a crosswalk or animals that are aimlessly trying to cross the road. Driving is a “shared” responsibility, and all drivers really must do all they can to keep one another safe on the roadways.
Devalues Your Vehicle
While it might not seem like an obvious factor because you can have it repaired driving your vehicle with a broken windshield devalues your car. Each of us works hard to have a vehicle that gets us from one point to another. Don’t let your hard-earned efforts go to waste by leaving an aesthetic blemish that keeps you from having a nice ride or pleasant driving experience.
Windshield Repair and Replacement
When you first notice a chip in your windshield, don’t let that go too long before having it checked out. Windshield chips can be repaired easily for the most part. If it gets worse or leads the glass to break linearly, you’re looking at a full replacement.
When it comes to cracks, most of them are not a good candidate for repair. This isn’t always the case, but it’s certainly the norm. A crack tends to always get worse as you hit bumps, swing through temperatures, or slam a door too hard. Let a qualified team replace your windshield before it gets worse or costs you more than it should when you least expect.
When you have your windshield repaired or replaced you may need a follow-up service called recalibration. This service is determined by your vehicle make and model requirements. Newer cars, trucks, and SUVs suggest a recalibration to ensure smart car features work correctly. This has to do with your onboard cameras and sensors. When your windshield isn’t recalibrated, it will give you errors in features like your lane assist, blind-spot detection, pedestrian alerts, front end collision alerts, and more. You have spent a lot of money on a car that can do a lot of fancy things; make sure those features work by having a windshield recalibration done.