Windshield Repair Versus Replacement: Which Do You Need?

Damaged auto glass can create serious problems for drivers and passengers alike. Chipped, cracked, pitted, or shattered glass can make a windshield impossible to see through adequately, increasing the risk of accidents. A windshield weakened by damage may also lack the structural safety to protect occupants in collisions or roll over accidents. Other auto glass breakage whether it’s a side window, vent window, back window or quarter glass, typically need replacement immediately to restore your vehicle and protect your property.

When you sustain damage to your vehicle’s windshield, sunroof or other auto glass piece, some damage is repairable and some damage is not. Here are some considerations that will help guide you toward the right choice for your situation.

Chips and Cracks
Auto glass and windshields routinely suffer from the occasional chip or crack. Flying gravel, hail, or other debris that strikes a windshield or side window can take out a small piece of the surface glass, leaving a rounded or asymmetrical deformity. Cracks may occur in association with chips, or they may appear independently.

Auto glass repair technicians can fix most windshield chips the size of a coin or smaller. A rock chip repair involves injecting resin into the affected area of the windshield or laminated glass piece and a cure process to restore the auto glass back to it’s structural soundness. It has a 99% success rate and usually takes 30 minutes. You will still see a blemish after the repair is done, but it will add life to your windshield or auto glass and saves you hundreds of dollars by not having to replace.

Crack repairs on your windshield larger than that are also repairable if certain criteria has been met. We are certified with the NWRA (National Windshield Repair Association) and follow those guidelines. Typically windshield cracks should extend no more than a few inches in length and should not be within the driver’s viewing area. More extensive damage calls for a full windshield replacement to avoid any continuing risk of structural weakness or obstructed viewing. We’d be happy to look at the damage with you to determine if it’s outside of these parameters. Just stop by any of our locations.

If you opt to repair a windshield chip or crack in your auto glass, do it as soon as possible. Untreated chips or cracks may continue to grow until they have become too large for normal repair procedures to mend. You will then have no choice but to replace the glass.

Pitting and Hazing
Even if you do not see any obvious chips in your auto glass, you may still have developed a number of tiny pits in it through repeated impacts from sand or other tiny particles. Sunlight or car headlights can then cause these pits to produce a distracting glare that makes safe driving a challenge.

Auto glass repair shops can sometimes remove pitting, although a restoration to the glass’s earlier pristine condition may prove impossible. Technicians apply a commercial polishing compound with a mechanical brush or buffer to smooth the outer surface of the glass. Sometimes buffing is not as cost effective as just replacing the windshield.
Hazing, another cause of dangerous glare and visibility problems, may occur either on the interior or the exterior of your auto glass. Interior hazing usually stems from sources as cigarette smoke, off-gassing of cabin plastics, and exterior environmental pollutants through the cabin vents.

Interior hazing usually requires nothing more than some careful cleanup. Auto glass technicians can use a variety of products and techniques, from simple detergents to commercial auto glass cleaning products, to restore your glass’s clarity and transparency. Many do-it-yourself customers have these products in their own garage.

Exterior hazing may occur as environmental pollutants, rust, lime, or calcium accumulate on a windshield’s surface. This kind of hazing can prove tricky to remove. If products designed to remove minerals and other substances cannot do the job, technicians must perform a lengthy, extensive polishing procedure. Auto glass replacement will most likely need to be recommended.

In some cases, exterior hazing may merit a total windshield replacement depending on the comparative cost. Find out how much your insurance provider will cover for each kind of service. You may find that replacing the windshield will not cost you much more out of pocket than a laborious exterior polish.

Shattered Glass
Shattered auto glass, typically all other glass besides the windshield, always requires replacement. Tempered safety glass for side, back windows and sunroofs shatter into tiny pieces, a safety measure meant to protect occupants from large, jagged knives of glass. Unfortunately, this kind of glass also tends to disintegrate completely when shattered.

Shattered windshields do not fall into countless tiny pieces thanks to their laminated design, with a sheet of vinyl laminate that prevents the glass shards from flying into the cabin. Even if you could see through the resulting mess, however, a shattered windshield has lost its structural integrity, rendering it unable to protect you from additional harm.

Now that you know how to proceed with your auto glass problem, get the professional help you need at Horizon Auto Glass & Tint. Get a quote from us today.