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.
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.
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