The second you notice a chip or crack in your windshield, there's no doubt you're devising a way to fix it fast. Fortunately, windshield shops can fix most chips and cracks that mar the outer windscreen. Technicians survey the damage to make sure it meets the given criteria for a successful repair. The size of the chip or crack and its location all come into play in the decision process. You may need to just have your windshield replaced, however, if it deviates from the ideal scenario. Here are four items that make it impossible to perform a simple repair.
Damage Near The Edge
The edge of the windshield provides strength that helps the rest of the glass withstand pressure while driving. Furthermore, the windshield is securely attached to the vehicle by this thin edge. If a crack goes all the way to the rim, it severely reduces the windshield's strength in these areas.
You might notice rainwater coming into the vehicle around that crack as butyl rubber adhesive lifts off the edge. Furthermore, you may notice that every bump causes the crack to spread further across your windshield. To fully protect you from further damage while driving, technicians must perform a full windshield replacement. Simply filling in the crack will not restore the windshield's original safety characteristics.
Crack Far Too Long
The repair process involves using a pressurized gun to push clear adhesive deep into the cracked glass. The adhesive flows into all of the crevices to create a fully restored surface. Since the gun only has a limited amount of pressure, the crack cannot be too long or the adhesive will not reach the far ends.
If the adhesive fails to run all the way to the ends, you may end up with unsightly, and possibly distracting, imperfections in the repaired windscreen. To find out if the crack meets the requirement for repairs, hold up a dollar bill over the damaged area. If the damage is longer than the dollar bill, you'll need to have your windshield replaced outright.
Fissure Much Too Deep
Windshields have two layers of glass sandwiched together with a safety screen that prevents shattering. The safety shield causes the glass fragments to stick together when fractures occur. Unfortunately, rocks and hail can hit your car hard enough to create divots in the glass that can extend nearly through the outer layer.
If the fissures caused by impacts reach the inner plastic layer, you may need to have your windshield replaced, not repaired. The fissure would need to reach nearly 1/10th of an inch deep to necessitate a windshield replacement, however. Have your technician take a close look at the damage to determine if a repair is possible.
Fracture On The Inside
If sudden impacts cause damage to your windshield, look closely at the fracture to determine where the cracks originated. You can run your fingernail over the glass to feel the edges of the cracks. Fractures starting on the inside of the glass cannot usually be repaired due to the natural curve of the windscreen.
Attempting to push the glass repair liquid onto the concave surface would likely cause it to leak back out before hardening. Since technicians cannot guarantee a perfect finish on interior damage, most will just recommend a replacement to restore your clear viewing area. In some states, obstructions in your viewing area could result in a costly infraction, so it's wise to have the windshield fixed as soon as possible.
Obtaining A Replacement
If your windshield cannot be repaired, you will need to have a replacement installed. Depending on your vehicle specifications, technicians may need to order new glass before scheduling your installation appointment. You can request a windshield with an upper tint strip if one is available for your vehicle type and year.
After the new glass arrives, technicians can perform the install at the shop or even at your home or work. Technicians dispose of your old windshield for you, so you don't have to transport it to the dump. A new seal is placed around your windshield during the install to create a stock look.