Glass: The Difference in Clear

3 Common Types of Windshield Glass Damage and Whether to Repair or Replace

Sometimes you know the exact moment when your windshield is damaged. You might see a rock hit the glass as you're driving. Other times, you may be surprised when you see a crack in the glass and wonder how the damage happened. Here's a look at three common types of windshield damage and the repairs that could be needed.

1. Damage From Bad Wipers

It's important to change your windshield wipers before the rubber wears down or metal may scrape the glass and make tiny scratches. The scratches could interfere with your vision at night or in the rain. A windshield repair shop might be able to repair this kind of damage by polishing the glass to eliminate the shallow scratches, but if the scratches are too deep or too big, it may be necessary to replace the windshield glass.

2. Stress Cracks From Weather Conditions

Stress cracks can form unexpectedly when the weather is quite hot or due to pressure changes during a storm. If the glass is hot from the sun beating on it and then cold water or cool rain hits the glass, the windshield might crack.

If the crack forms near the edge of the windshield, the entire windshield may need to be replaced. If the crack is small and in an area that doesn't interfere with your vision, it may be possible to repair the crack. A repair person has to evaluate the crack to determine if it can be repaired or if the glass has to be replaced.

3. A Chip From Flying Road Debris

It's common for vehicles in front of your car to kick up road debris, such as tiny rocks, and hurl them against your car. The rocks may not cause any damage, but sometimes they cause chips to form. The bigger the impact, the bigger the chip will be.

Small chips can often be repaired, and it's best to have repairs done quickly or cracks could spread out from the chip. Once cracks radiate from the chip, repairs may not be possible. The size of the cracks, size of the chip, and location of the damage are all considered when determining if windshield repairs are possible or if a replacement is necessary for safety reasons.

It may be difficult to decide if the glass damage is serious and if it's safe to drive your car. Driving could cause the damage to spread, so if you're unsure if it's safe to drive to a windshield repair shop, see if the shop makes mobile repairs so the damage can be evaluated and repaired while your car sits in your driveway.