Most auto owners make a point to try and do what’s best for their vehicle – regular oil changes, new coolant, the occasional transmission service etc. When the car manifests signs of problems, the driver would usually make sure it is corrected immediately to avoid more costly repairs later. However there is one particular component that is neglected by many drivers – the windshield. Although the windshield seems to serve only a superficial role, its importance in regard to safety should not be underestimated. Just like any serious engine problem, a chipped, cracked or damaged windshield should be repaired or replaced immediately.
Many people doubt the value of chip repair. Paying to repair a chip barely the size of a small coin seems unreasonable, however the windshield is very susceptible to internal stress, and a small chip can easily become a large crack. It may appear solid enough, even with a small chip, but the windshield’s condition can deteriorate rather quickly, and in an accident even the smallest area of weakness can result in structural failure.
To better understand the problem, lets go over the basics.
Windshield glass is a type of laminated glass, consisting of two layers of special composite glass with a laminate in between the layers. The laminate usually is made from a form of vinyl plastic. The laminate acts as a sticking board for the inner and outer layer of glass, which holds both layers together and provides a surface in the event of shattering for glass fragments to adhere to. A black frame around 2 to 3 inches in width, called the ‘frit’, lines the outer edges of the windshield. The frit protects the urethane molding (the substance that bonds the windshield to the vehicle) from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Without the frit, the urethane molding would melt with exposure to heat and become ineffective in securing the windshield to the frame.
An improperly installed or cracked windshield will jeopardize the safety of any occupants in the vehicle, particularly the driver and passenger. In an accident a chip or crack serves as a catalyst for increased damage. Compression stress will extend the crack across the windshield, where it will normally break. A windshield that has been weakened by a chip or crack can also reduce the effectiveness of your SRS airbag system. During airbag deployment, the windshield prevents the airbag from expanding upward, and directs it toward the occupant. Should the windshield break or collapse in an accident, the airbag will not deploy correctly and may increase the risk of more severe injuries.
So, you may be asking, what can I do about a chip in my windshield? The good news is that in most cases a replacement windshield is not necessary. Depending on the size and location of the chip, many can be repaired in-place. Larger cracks normally require replacing the entire windshield. The obvious alternative is to get chips fixed before they lead to a more severe problem. In most cases, a crack is the result of a small chip left untreated. Each time you stop for fuel, make sure to examine your windshield for any signs of damage. The edges of the windshield, along the frit, are most effected by driving stress, so if you notice a chip along the edge, it is important to have it immediately repaired before it cracks out.
Whether your vehicle is parked or racing down the highway at 70 miles per hour, the windshield is under constant strain. A chip may not seem like a big deal and in the short term it isn’t, however chips can lead to cracks, which in turn lead to a hazard for you and anyone riding with you. For more information on our affordable windshield repair services, call (336) 851-1380, or request a quote through our website.