What to Do When You Have Windshield Damage

Auto Body on December 12, 2017

There’s nothing worse than the loud “thunk” of a rock or piece of debris jumping up from the highway to collide with your windshield. From small chips, to huge spider web cracks, it’s definitely an inconvenience. Luckily, there are a lot of options with various price points to help you get back to your full range of visibility again. Just be sure not to ignore it, as over time the damage will only get worse and worse!

You may think that you’re up for an expensive windscreen replacement, but before you do that you should carefully examine the extent of the damage. Modern windshields tend to be pretty tough and can take a fair amount of abuse before needing a full replacement. In many cases, a small repair job may be all that is needed to have your windshield looking like new again.

An automobile windshield is created from layers of glass layered over a vinyl interlayer, which can provide you an opportunity to repair the damage yourself if it’s not too severe – if you’re handy and willing to do a little research of course.

The types of damage which can occur to your windshield vary depending on the size and speed of the object that hit it. A small piece of gravel at relatively low speed may cause a pit, which is a small mark that does not go through to the plastic layer.

Pit damage is more cosmetic and is considered wear and tear so it may not be covered by insurance companies. A chip, on the other hand, goes through to the vinyl layer underneath and is usually accompanied by starring. This network of cracks gives the resin something to grab onto, which may present an opportunity for a quick DIY repair, but would otherwise allow you to contact your insurance about having a repair done.

Injecting the chip with an epoxy or acrylic filler will help stop the damage from spreading and prevent water from entering the exposed area and delaminating the glass from the membrane. Head on down to your local auto shop, and they will either be able to supply you with a windshield repair kit, or work with your insurance to take care of the repair for you.

The worst case scenario involves a bigger rock with a faster momentum hitting your windshield – in this case, your only option is to have the windscreen replaced. If the chip is larger than a quarter, or there are more than three cracks or chips, then a DIY repair job will not be enough. If the crack has spread greater than six inches, or there is extensive damage obstructing the view of the driver, then schedule a trip to your local body shop as soon as possible!