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Cars > robhardy’s Garage > Blog

 

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robhardy

M –33
Reno, Nevada
United States

 
 

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All You Need to Know About Chips on Your Windshield

By robhardy

Indeed the windshield is a very important part of an automobile. Many people undermine the importance of a windshield by limiting its benefits to keeping air, dust, rain, insects and what not out of their hair and faces.

A windshield keeps out the unwanted stuff but does more than that too. Windshields help in keeping the passengers inside the automobile safe and in supporting the roof so that it doesn't collapse during accidents. They are also able to cushion impacts as they are made of a special type of glass. A windshield is made of two layers of glass that has a thin layer of PVB (Polyvinyl Butyral) fused in between them. It is this layer that keeps the glass in place even if it cracks.

Windshields are a part of a vehicle's SRS (Safety Restraint System). The SRS also includes seat belts and air bags. Together, these components are responsible for the overall safety of the passengers during collisions or roll-overs. Damage to any one of these components renders the SRS ineffective.

Damage to the windshield may be visible in the form of chips and cracks. Here are some things you may not be aware of.

How Do Chips and Cracks Form?

Chips and cracks may form as a result of a direct impact or sudden temperature changes. The most common direct hits are when an object, such as a ball, comes flying onto the windshield, or when you collide into something. While you can try to avoid accidents by staying alert and driving safely, there isn't much you can do to stop objects hitting your car while it is parked.

Even if you are driving on well-maintained roads, gravel may be a problem. There's nothing you can do to avoid the occasional hit but if you notice that the road you are driving on has a lot of loose debris and gravel on it, drive slowly to minimize the impact of any hit(s). Also keep your car at a safe distance from the one in front of you as you don't want its rear wheels to shoot out a pebble right at your windshield.

Hailstones are also capable of causing damage to the windshield. Park your car under a shade or in the garage to prevent damage. In case it's hailing while you are driving, slow down so that the impact of the hailstones on the glass is lessened.

To protect your windshield from cracks caused by temperature changes, avoid exposing the car to too much sunlight. If the temperature outside is extremely high or low, avoid turning the air-conditioner or heater to its maximum setting. Extreme temperature fluctuations weaken the structure of the glass and make it more prone to cracks during an impact.

What to do if there’s a Chip?

The first thing to keep in mind is that you should not attempt to repair it by yourself. You might have come across methods to repair chips or cracks in windshields and found them convincing enough, but these methods can do more harm than good. They can even make repairing the chip impossible.

Drive your vehicle to a professional who will be able to asses if the chip can be repaired or if the windshield will have to be replaced. In case of the latter, find a good Reno windshield replacement for it. If it can be repaired, the professional will clean the chip and the surrounding area so that no debris remains. Then, a special resin will be used to seal the chip. Next, this will be hardened using ultraviolet light rays. Excess material will be removed and you will have a smooth windshield again.

Unable to Get it Repaired Right Now

If there’s just a small chip in the windshield which doesn’t affect your line of vision, you can get it repaired after a week or two. However, you’ll need to be careful as the chip could cause more damage.

Use a clear masking tape to cover the crack or the chip. This will keep the debris from lodging inside.
Avoid washing your car or pouring water over the crack. Debris present in the water may lodge into the crack. Water may also cause the crack to expand.
Don't slam the doors as the pressure built inside the car can expand the crack.
For the same reason, don’t play blaring music with the volume turned to full.
Keep the windows slightly open so that pressure doesn't build up inside the car while it is parked in the sun.
When you get into a hot car, let it air out by turning on the air conditioner. Cooling it suddenly will expand the crack. The same applies when you have to turn on the heater.
Sudden jerks can also worsen the cracks. Don’t drive at a high speed over speed bumps and potholes.

Conclusion

Cracks and chips tend to grow in size and depth. If not taken care of, even the smallest of cracks can lead to having the windshield replaced. This will be very costly as compared to getting chips and cracks repaired. Insurance companies cover the cost for repairing chips. So get it repaired as soon as you can.

Top 5 Car Care Tips For Teens

By robhardy

So your parents finally allowed you to have a car of your own after you promised them that you would take “good care” of it? But the real question is do you know enough about looking after a car to be able to keep it in top condition - inside and outside? When you say that you're going to maintain your car well, you need to maintain every single part of it. If you want your car to perform optimally in all terrains and weather conditions, you need to ensure that it is in good shape to be able to do so.

Preventive car maintenance will not only keep your car in great shape but also keep you safe. Your car is not going to take care of itself and neither can you depend on your folks to do it for you. You need to take charge of maintaining your car by yourself and make it a habit and quit relying on your parents to give you reminders to change the oil or get the wheels aligned, etc.

In this post, we would be addressing a few common car maintenance concerns that every teenaged car driver might be grappling with.

1. Keep the Windshield Clean

First and foremost, ensure that your windshield is installed properly. If not, you can engage the services of experts who will install Reno Auto Glass. Most of these service providers have certified technicians who adhere to the U.S. Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Once, that is in place, you can move on to the next step. When you drive your car, you need to be able to clearly see what's in front of it. Cleaning the windshield is crucial to your safety because it works like improving your own vision. Use a high quality glass cleaner to clean it and wipe with soft linen or sponge. Never use harsh materials on your windshield as they can cause scratches or cracks.

Check whether your windshield wipers are in working condition, especially if you know the monsoons are around the corner because that's when you'll need to use those most. Replace/repair blades that skip, streak or leave spots. Additionally, check your car's spray nozzles every once in a while throughout the year for blockages, which can easily be cleared out with a needle. You will do well in using windshield washer fluid (solution of ammonia and cold water) in the tank to prevent corrosion and remove dirt and insects from it.

2. Avoid Tire Trouble

Check for tire punctures and keep them accurately inflated. Improperly inflated tires will only cost you more as over-inflated tires will increase the risk of a blowout, while under-inflated ones would mean less mileage and shorter tire life. Hence, it is important to keep checking the air pressure in your tires once a week. Find out the recommended tire pressure for your car and always check for it at the gas station while they are being inflated.

You will have to take extra care of your tires in monsoons and winters. Get the wheels aligned and balanced before the onset of these seasons. Always keep a puncture repair kit handy.

3. Brakes, Batteries, and Engine

You will have to test the battery and electrical systems periodically to ensure that they're always in working condition. Don't forget about the maintenance of the dehumidifier, defogger, heater and air conditioner, if you have those features in your ride. Keep a good quality and reliable battery charger in the trunk of your car at all times to avoid getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Brakes too have to well-maintained as they are crucial to your safety on the road. Your car will take slightly longer to halt when you brake on wet roads, so do be mindful of that. Your engine communicates with you when you drive your car. Listen to it while it is in motion. If you hear loud noises from the engine compartment, it means there could be some serious problem with it and needs attention. If you hear other rattling or tapping sounds, it is probable that this is due to excessive wear and tear of the internal engine parts.

4. Track the Oil and Fuel Levels

It is important to keep your car's moving parts well lubricated to avoid friction between them. The friction can cause the parts to erode and malfunction. You can use motor oil to minimize this as it will transfer the heat away from the combustion and send all the byproducts of combustion to the oil filter. This is why it is important to have a sufficient level of oil in your engine.

A lot of teens drive electric cars, but for those who drive fuel-powered cars, it is critical to keep a watch on the fuel level and get it refilled before you run out of it.

5. Follow the Maintenance Schedule

All cars come with an owner's manual and each manual outlines the car's maintenance schedule. When you buy your car, make sure you read this manual thoroughly to understand the schedule. There will be certain parts that will require regular checks and maintenance like oil, brakes, tires and so on. Oil and air change are particularly important for your engine's health. Adhering to these schedules is vital because it can help you avoid bigger problems and costs in future. It would be a good idea to ask an elder to help you with this initially and you can take over after the first few times.

To Conclude

It goes without saying that you need to treat your car right if you want it to perform well. One doesn't need to pinpoint every small thing like obeying traffic norms, keeping the car clean, not slamming its doors, parking in shaded areas, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles and so on. With a little care, responsibility and common sense, you are sure to do a swell job of maintaining your car and making your parents proud.

4 Ways to Save Your Automobile from Winter Mishaps

By robhardy

Here's something that even the best drivers will tell you, "Winter is quite possibly the worst season to drive around". And car maintenance becomes even more crucial in the winters. The maximum numbers of road accidents take place during this time. In a place like Reno, winter with its biting cold, black ice, snow, sleet, sludge and snowstorm whiteouts can hamper your visibility and lead to fatal accidents. Other common winter mishaps that can damage your car include engine break down, tire pressure, windshield damage, low battery etc.

It is always better to prep your car from the coming winter seasons and avoid mishaps. Following are five of the easiest ways to get your car ready for the winter:

1. Engine check

Get your car engine checked and approved by your mechanic before you drive out in snow. Do this before the first fine flakes appear, because the things that you tend to ignore in the warmer months might turn worse in cold weather.

Following are a few things that you need to keep in mind to prepare your vehicle for this winter:

- Check the car belts and hoses. Though these parts are checked when you get the monthly service done, it's always good to get these checked before you venture out in the snow. The cold weather can weaken the hoses and belts. Also small cracks or cuts cause major mishaps if ignored for a long time.

- Check batteries. Winter months are harsh and put more pressure on your batteries. If it's time to replace your battery, its better you do it in the winter months. If you just replaced them, it's always good to check these for fraying and corrosion. Make sure your battery maintains the required level of fluids.

- Reduce oil viscosity. Oil tends to thicken at low temperatures. This might reduce the amount of oil flow to various parts of the engine, resulting in engine breakdown. All you need to do is consult your mechanic to use oil with less viscosity which will not thicken easily.

- Maintain the amount of antifreeze. It is important to check and maintain the amount of antifreeze in your engine. Antifreeze helps prevent your engine from freezing in winters and heating up in summers. It is important to maintain equal parts of water and antifreeze in your radiator, to prevent the fluids from freezing up in low temperatures. You can buy pre-mixed bottles of antifreeze from any gas station.

2. Check your tires

It is important to maintain your tires and prepare them for the winter blues. Some of the common mishaps occur when you try to slam the brakes as soon as you find your tires slipping on the ice. Avoid doing this. Take your legs off the accelerators and let the car slow down on its own.

- Installing anti lock brakes makes sense during winters. This will keep your car in control when applying brakes and avoid skidding.

- Another important aspect to be considered while checking your brakes is to check air pressure. Even if you have maintained the air pressure till now, winters can be a difficult time. As the temperature drops outside so does it inside the tire, which means the air will contract and reduce the air pressure. It's always recommended to keep check on your tire pressure more often as it tends to vary day and night in winters.

- If you live in a place where winters are especially hard, make sure you purchase a set of snow or winter tires that are particularly meant to have better balance, grip and traction.

3. Check your heating units and defrosters

Check your defrosting and heating units. The moisture in the car condenses, to form fog on your windscreens, which will hamper your visibility. Defrosters send out warm air to clear the fog and dry the glass. This will help you see clearly. So make sure the defrosters are working properly before you venture out in the snow. Sometimes, if the doors or windows are not properly closed, extra moisture comes in. This may fog up your windshields even more.

Another important car unit that needs to be checked is the heating components. You cannot think of going out in that freezing winter without a proper heating system. Make sure that the fluid levels are intact and there are no leaks or cracks in the heater coils. Make sure you check both of these units, the heaters and the defrosters so that you do not freeze behind the wheels!

4. Replace windshield and wipers if needed

A clear windshield is important when driving through the snow. Accumulation of snow and grit on the glass tends to reduce visibility. Avoid running your wipers on the snow covered windscreens as this may damage the screen. Most of the times the blade frames tend to accumulate dust and grit. This dirt sticks to the glass and hampers the driver's visibility. Consider replacing your wipers. These are made of rubber that might deteriorate in the long run and damage your glass mainly during winters.

One of the auto glass experts in Reno that I usually frequent suggested winters are the best month to get your windshields fixed because at low temperature the metal frames of the car contract and expand at a rate that the glass cannot handle. This pressure will cause the windshield to move out from its place causing major accidents.

Check your windshields for rusting or abrasion. Ignoring such deterioration can damage your windscreens forever and force you to make a replacement.

To end

Finally, make a visual inspection of your car and engine along with the regular tune-ups to ensure you do not get stuck in the snow. Keep your gas tanks full. If you wait till the last drop is used, you might end up getting stranded on the highway. Also make sure you get all the important repairs and replacements done as soon as the winter starts, as they might get worse later. Something else that I do is get my glass replacements done from only the best Reno auto glass specialists, if I think, there is some problem; this way in the winter I am sure my visibility remains unaffected because of windshield problems.

Also make sure you carry your emergency kit, before you decide to make a trip or drive out in snow. Include flash lights, an extra pair of warm clothes, engine oil and spare tire and tool kit, in your emergency kit.

Avoiding A Highway Tragedy - 5 Reasons Why You Need To Repair a Damaged Windshield

By robhardy

Here is a scenario for you. You are driving down to the Golden Eagle Regional Park from your home in Reno, but before you start, you realize there is a crack on your windshield and instead of stopping to mend your glass at one out of the many windshield repair companies in Reno, you choose to ignore this crack and make your way to the City of Sparks.

You don't know it yet, but you have just set in motion the wheels of a tragedy.

You are driving on the highway and you find the crack has expanded suddenly and is obstructing your view. And just when you think of pulling over, BANG, you are involved in a collision, just because the crack in the windshield prevented you from making a safe driving decision. In a worst case scenario, this can lead to a life threatening injury. You are lucky because this is just a hypothetical scenario being played out for you. But, this could turn into a nightmarish reality if you don't make it a point to repair your car's damaged windshield, as soon as you see something wrong with it.

Still not convinced? Let's take a look at five more reasons why it's imperative that you get your windshield repaired as soon as it's damaged:

1. Blocks your View

If you can't see properly through the windshield while driving on the highway, or on any road for that matter, you are a sitting duck for accidents. A cracked windshield that blocks a part of your view is a recipe for disaster. You might not be able to see a pedestrian or a car that has just signaled its changing lanes and you might drive your car right into them. Even a small chip or a crack has the potential to expand unexpectedly and affect your view while you are driving. Therefore, taking a risk doesn't make any sense at all. So, why take it?

2. Compromises Structural Integrity of your Car

You might not know it, but the roof of your car, stays on top of your care because of the windshield. If this windshield develops a crack, the integrity of the support structure is compromised at multiple levels. This comes to the fore if you are involved in an accident and because your windshield has a crack, the roof comes crashing down. This could happen even in the case of a minor accident, and you can very well imagine the injuries this might cause. This is again a situation that you don't want to be in.

3. It compromises your Car Safety net

Everybody knows that airbags and seat belts are a part of the safety restraints system of an automobile. But, what you might not know is that even your windshield is an essential safety component of your car. It comes into play in head on collisions when it prevents passengers from ejecting the car. Even if you don't have the seat belt on, the windshield can still protect you from being thrown out of the car. But, this is only if your windshield isn't damaged. A damaged windshield far from protecting you, can actually accentuate your injuries.

4. It's Illegal

Even a minor crack on your windshield means you can get pulled over in some States. The laws for driving with a damaged windshield are stringent and any damage to your windshield can damage your finances. In some States the position of the damage determines the nature of your fine, while in some States it's the extent of the windshield damage that determine whether you will be slapped with a fine or not. But forget about it being illegal. If you have a damaged windshield on your hands, there is really no reason why you shouldn't get it repaired, pronto!

5. Otherwise you will need to replace it

Replacing a windshield is more expensive than repairing it. So, why avoid repairing it. If you continue driving with cracked windshield delaying the repairs, the damage will just go on increasing. So, what was a tiny crack on Monday can enlarge into a crack that just cannot be repaired. In such cases, you might have to pay through your nose to get your windshield replaced. So, it's important to get the damage repaired on an immediate basis.

There is a section of people who believe getting the most out of their windshield, irrespective of the extent of its damage is worth it because this allows them to save a bit of money. These people just say to themselves, "Oh! I will just drive a little slowly and peer even more closely through the windshield!" What they don't realize is that they are putting their lives and that of everybody else at great risk. Is this a risk really worth taking?

It's important to drive responsibly on highways and one aspect of this is vehicle maintenance. If you are driving with a cracked windshield, you aren't really being very responsible. Don't make this mistake. To drive safely, you need every part of your car to function smoothly, including your windshield. So repair it as soon as it's damaged.
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