Fixing a windshield chip can be a tricky and potentially expensive endeavor. It is essential to understand the dynamics of windshield chips before attempting to repair them. Knowing the differences between repairable chips and unrepairable chips, as well as the various windshield repair methods, can help you make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace your windshield.
What Causes Windshield Chips?
Windshield chips are one of the most common forms of auto glass damage. They often occur as a result of a variety of causes, including:
- Flying Debris: Flying debris like rocks, gravel, and other road particles can easily chip a windshield. This is particularly common when traveling on highways or high-traffic roads.
- Extreme Temperature: Extreme temperatures can cause a windshield to expand and contract, leading to fractures and chips.
- Poor Installation: Poorly installed windshields may be more prone to chips due to the uneven stress placed on the glass.
- Poor Maintenance: Regularly cleaning the windshield and checking for any chips or cracks can help to prevent further damage.
- Factory Defects: It is possible for a manufacturer to produce a windshield with a chip or crack that increases the likelihood of further damage.
- Age: Older windshields are more susceptible to chips, due to the weakening of the glass over time.
- Impact: Even a small impact from a foreign object can create a chip in the windshield.
What Are the Repair Options?
Fortunately, there are some repair options available for windshield chips, depending on the size, location, and severity of the chip.
Small Windshield Chips
Small chips, such as those caused by small rocks or debris, can usually be repaired by an auto glass repair shop. These shops will typically use a clear resin to fill in the chip and make it less noticeable. The resin is injected into the chip, then cured with a special light to harden it. The process typically takes less than an hour, and the chip should be barely visible in the windshield.
Large Windshield Chips
For larger chips like stone damage, a windshield replacement may be necessary. This involves removing the existing windshield and replacing it with a new one. The process is slightly more involved and will take longer, but it is the only way to completely repair a large chip or crack.
In some cases, a windshield chip can be filled by a do-it-yourself repair kit. However, this is not recommended for most chips, as it is difficult to get an even, professional-looking repair with these kits.
The Risks of Not Repairing a Windshield Chip
While windshield chips may not seem like an issue at first, they can quickly become a major problem if left unrepaired.
Below are some of the risks of not repairing a windshield chip:
- Further Damage – A small chip in your windshield can quickly turn into a large crack if left unrepaired. Temperature changes, vibrations from driving, and other environmental factors can cause the chip to spread. This can result in a costly repair bill or even replacement of the entire windshield.
- Poor Visibility – A chip in your windshield can quickly turn into a distraction and reduce your visibility while driving. In addition, dirt, debris, and water can get into the chip and cause further visibility issues.
- Safety Issues – Windshields are designed to provide protection in the event of an accident. A chip can weaken the structural integrity of your windshield, diminishing its effectiveness in providing the necessary protection.
Contact a Reputable Windshield Chip Repair Company
If you have a windshield chip, it is important to get it fixed right away. If left untreated, a chip can quickly turn into a crack, which can be much more expensive to repair. Repairing a chip is a relatively simple process, but it is best to contact a reputable windshield chip repair company to have the job done properly.