Many chips and cracks can be safely repaired by trained professionals, but it’s important to know when you should consider simply replacing the damaged windshield.
Typically, small chips and cracks don’t pose an issue and professionals can inexpensively restore your windshield. The rule of thumb is that most shops can repair rock chips up to the size of a quarter and cracks up to three inches long. Some can fix longer cracks, but not all. However, even the most advanced glass repair techniques have limits.
For instance, if the chip is in your line of vision a repair may not be sufficient. You will still see a mark and this can distract you from the road. Repairs only restore 75 – 95 percent of the optical clarity you have with a new windshield.
You may also want to replace the windshield if it has more than three chips or cracks, because the damage can start to impact the integrity of the glass.
Other reasons to choose replacement over repair include damage near the edge of the windshield, where it is most vulnerable, and damage to an old windshield that is already pitted from years of use.
Windshields are made of two layers of glass with a layer of resin in between. Repairs either involve injecting a special resin into chipped areas, or drilling through the outer layer to stop a crack from spreading. Many vehicle owners attempt to do repairs themselves. The problem is they often do not have quality tools and materials, or the training and expertise to administer the repair.
Regardless of whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, you should handle it quickly. Cracks do spread and dirt can work itself into the damaged areas and impede repairs.
If repairs are impossible, look at replacement sooner rather than later. You have several options if you need a new windshield. You can use a general glass company, an automotive glass specialist, or your local car dealership. Some glass specialists offer a mobile service and will come to you.
A general glass company handles everything from windows to windshields, and may not be your best choice. An automotive glass specialist certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council ensures trained installers who use proper techniques, primers, sealers and adhesives to avoid leaks and pop outs. Their glass may not be an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) replacement, but they cost less and meet their standards.
If you have a newer vehicle, you may also take it to the dealership. They will use an OEM windshield, but you’ll likely need to pay a bit more.
Costs vary widely depending on where you live and your make and model of vehicle. Of course, you’ll want to know whether your insurance covers these costs. Check with your insurance agent before you commit to windshield repair or replacement.
Many policies do cover windshield replacement, but the question is whether it is worth it to claim. If your policy includes a high deductible, you may choose to pay for it out-of-pocket. On the other hand, some insurance companies provide glass coverage without any deductible at all.
If you’re not sure what your policy covers, or if you’d like a quote on a new Rhode Island auto insurance policy, give us a call.