The windshield plays a crucial role in ensuring your safety while driving. However, it is susceptible to damage due to various factors such as debris on the road, extreme weather conditions, and poor installation. Studies reveal that nearly 15 million windshields are replaced annually in the United States alone. Understanding the different types of windshield damages can help you take necessary precautions and appropriate actions when needed.
A chip occurs when a small piece of glass is removed from your windshield due to impact. It is one of the most common types of windshield damages, given its potential causes such as gravel, stones, or other debris hitting the windshield while driving. Even though a chip might seem minor, it can easily spread into a larger crack if left untreated, significantly compromising the structural integrity of your vehicle.
There are four types of chip damages that can occur on your windshield. The first is the bullseye chip which is circular and marked by a separated cone in the outer layer of glass creating a dark circle with an impact point. The second is the half-moon or partial bullseye chip which occurs when something hits the windshield at an oblique angle. The third type is the pit chip which happens when a piece of glass is missing from your windshield. Lastly, there is the star chip characterized by lines that emit from the impact point giving the appearance of a star.
A crack in your windshield can be described as a distinct line that runs across the glass surface. Cracks can vary in lengths and occur for various reasons like severe fluctuations in temperature or high-speed impacts with hard objects.
The danger with cracks lies in their propensity to grow longer and deeper over time, and they can even reach across the entire length or width of your windshield if not repaired promptly. A single crack can also lead to multiple branches, resulting in a more complex form of damage known as a spider crack.
An edge crack begins within two inches of the edge of your windshield or reaches the edge of the windshield after it forms. It is often instantly long, at least ten inches or more, and thus poses an immediate threat to your vehicle’s structural integrity.
Edge cracks usually occur due to improper installation of the windshield or production of low-quality windshields. As the edge of your windshield is its weakest point, any impact in this area results in severe damage that necessitates complete replacement.
A floater crack starts at least two inches away from the edge of your windshield. These cracks may not seem as urgent as edge cracks but can quickly become a problem if neglected. Floater cracks often arise from already existing chips or small damages and can grow bigger with time and changing temperatures.
Stress cracks are unique in that they occur without any impact. These types of cracks are typically caused by dramatic temperature changes. For instance, if your car has been under hot sun for an extended period and you decide to cool it down with air conditioning, it could lead to stress cracks.
Stress cracks are usually curved and start at the edge of the windshield. Though they may start small, these cracks can grow longer and deeper over time, leading to significant damage. Because stress cracks do not result from impact, they might be more difficult to prevent than other types of windshield damage.
As the name suggests, a combination break involves more than one type of damage. It could be a chip with cracks radiating from the point of impact or multiple cracks and chips occurring simultaneously. Combination breaks are often a result of high impact forces and usually require immediate attention due to the extensive damage they cause.
The Importance of Windshield Repair
Windshield repair is more than just an aesthetic concern. A well-maintained windshield is critical for your safety on the road – it provides structural support to your vehicle in the event of a collision and also ensures clear visibility while driving. A damaged windshield can impair your vision and compromise your safety. Furthermore, minor damages can quickly expand and become major ones if they are not addressed promptly. Therefore, it is crucial to get even small chips or cracks repaired soon after you notice them.
Repairing a Windshield
In most cases, minor damages like bull’s eye chips or star breaks can be repaired without having to replace the entire windshield. The repair process involves injecting a specially formulated resin into the crack or chip. This resin fills in the damage and once hardened, restores the windshield’s structural strength and clarity. The repaired area might still be slightly visible but it will no longer spread or cause any further damage. A typical windshield repair can be completed within 30 minutes to an hour and is often covered by auto insurance. It is important to remember that not all damages are repairable and sometimes, a full replacement might be necessary.
When to Replacement a Windshield
Windshield replacement becomes necessary when the damage is too severe to be repaired. Such damages include large cracks that stretch across the windshield, damages to the driver’s line of sight, multiple chips or cracks, and damages that have penetrated both layers of the windshield glass. Replacing a windshield involves removing the old glass, cleaning and preparing the window frame, applying a new adhesive, and installing a new windshield. This process requires skilled technicians and takes several hours to complete. The vehicle also needs to sit idle for at least an hour after the replacement to allow the adhesive to cure properly.
Cost Implications and Insurance
Windshield repairs are generally more affordable than replacements. However, the costs can vary depending on your vehicle make and model, the extent of the damage, and your location. In many cases, your auto insurance policy may cover either partial or full cost of the repair or replacement. It is advisable to check your policy details or consult with your insurance provider before proceeding with any repair or replacement work.
In conclusion, windshield damage is a common but serious issue. Various types of damages can occur due to different factors, including chips, cracks, edge cracks, floater cracks, stress cracks, and combination breaks. While some damages may seem minor initially, they can quickly escalate into larger issues if left untreated. Discount Auto Glass in Portland Oregon is here to help if you need either windshield repair or replacement. With experienced techs on hand to repair or replace any kind of auto glass you may have. Give us a call: (503) 736-1400 to get your free quote today.