Your car’s windscreen is a far more important component than you might think. A lot of people treat the windscreen as if all it does is keep wind and rain out of the car, but this is not the case. Your windscreen should be kept clean and clear so that you can see the road clearly, and it should be properly bonded into place because it is actually an integral part of the vehicle, contributing to the overall strength of the body.
Cracks and Chips on Your Windscreen
Even if you drive only on main roads, there is still a chance that you will end up with chips or cracks on your windshield at some point. Some cracks can be ignored, but if they are within your field of vision then you should get them repaired because they could cause a distraction or even impair your ability to see the road properly.
If a crack or chip is less than 40mm long it is usually possible to repair it, although the likelihood of a successful windscreen repair depends on the location and type of the damage.
Damage in the A-Zone, which is the area directly in front of you, is more serious, only very small cracks or chips can be repaired.
Repair work does not completely undo the damage. The repair involves carefully cleaning and then thoroughly drying part of the screen and using a clear resin to fill in the cracks. The resin has very similar properties to glass, but it is not exactly the same, and sometimes the repaired area can look slightly cloudy.
Act Fast to Repair Damage
It can be tempting to ignore a small chip, but this is not a good idea. The likelihood of a successful repair decreases the longer the chip or crack is left. Small areas of damage can grow quickly because the damage weakens that area of the glass, and additional cracks can form as the weak area is exposed to fluctuating temperatures, moisture, vibrations and dirt. If the crack gets dirty, then it can become harder to clean it to allow the resin to adhere to the surface properly. Cracked windscreens may eventually shatter. Because the glass is laminated, the shattered windscreen should not collapse, but the extensive damage to the glass will render the car unsafe to drive.
If the damage to the windshield interferes with your ability to see the road clearly, then driving with that damage is illegal. If the damage is not in your field of view, then it may be safe to drive, however, you should not wait to get the windshield repaired. At the earliest opportunity, take your vehicle to a windscreen repair specialist so that you can get it fixed.
If you cannot drive because of the damage, then you could arrange for a windscreen repair company to come out to you. They will be able to advise you as to whether the damage is fixable or whether you should get a new windscreen fitted. In many cases, a replacement windscreen works out to be more economical, and safer, in the long run.