Small cracks and chips in your car’s windshield are something everyone experiences, so you may be wondering: Is it safe for me to keep driving with a cracked windshield?
If your windshield is cracked or chipped and the damage blocks your line of sight, contact us immediately at 336-851-1380 – we can come to you!
It’s never safe to drive if your vision is blocked, whether it’s from a windshield crack, heavy rain, or bird droppings. But what if the damage doesn’t block your ability to keep your eyes on the road? A crack or chip in your windshield compromises the integrity of the auto glass, making it more vulnerable to shattering in the future.
It’s important to first understand how a windshield is made. Your windshield isn’t just a layer of glass! It’s actually three layers which form laminated glass.
The two outer layers of your windshield are made of plate glass which is curved and then cooled quickly to strengthen it–a process called tempering. In between these two pieces of glass is a layer of plastic bonded to the frame. The inner plastic layer is what keeps your windshield from shattering on impact.
You may have heard the term safety glass in reference to a windshield’s auto glass. This is because the construction of the windshield allows it to crack and break without shattering into dangerous glass shards. Even if a windshield shatters, the shards are designed to stay in place against the plastic inner layer.
Will a damaged windshield get worse if I ignore it?
The short answer is yes, a chipped or cracked windshield can get worse if it isn’t repaired. Any cracks have the potential to grow due to a number of scenarios:
- Your windshield glass contracts and expands during extreme temperature fluctuations, especially in the winter, causing cracks to grow.
- Rocks and other debris striking the glass can make a small chip or crack worse.
- Hitting potholes in the road or other sudden movements which shake your car can compromise an already damaged windshield.
- If the damage is close to the outer border of your windshield, vibrations around the frame caused by driving can weaken the integrity of the auto glass.
Can my windshield be repaired?
Repairing your windshield is more affordable than a complete replacement. The process usually takes less than an hour and is likely covered by your auto insurance.
To determine whether your windshield can be repaired, ask yourself these questions:
- Can I cover the damage completely with a quarter? We can usually repair small chips and cracks, saving you money on a replacement.
- Does the damage only penetrate the outermost layer of glass on my windshield? If you can feel the crack from the inside of your car, it’s time for a replacement.
- Is the damage located toward the center and away from the edges of the windshield? Cracks located too close to the edge can compromise the integrity of your auto glass.