If you've been driving long enough, there's a good chance you've suffered lumps to the bumper, dents and dings on your doors, and scratches in your paint job. Through no fault of your own, your car may be subject to all manner of damage through basic wear and tear. And cracks and chips in windshields are not at all uncommon, unfortunately. But there are some things you can do to try to prevent damage in the first place and minimize it when it does occur. Here are some tips that should help any driver to deal with a cracked windshield in a safe and expedient manner.
1. Drive carefully. It's not always possible to avoid a cracked windshield, but there are things you can do to minimize the likelihood. For example, you might not want to drift behind dump truck full of gravel or drive too close to a work truck full of equipment on the freeway. And you probably shouldn't leave your car parked next to a golf course, even if it does provide easy access to your work. The point is that you do have some modicum of control when it comes to the safety of your windshield and your car in general. You might not be able to avoid all mishaps, but you can behave sensibly and steer clear of potentially hazardous situations.
2. Look into repair. If you do get a crack or a chip in your windshield, you'll want to do whatever you can to stop it from spreading across the entire pane of glass, and in some cases repair may be an option, especially if the damage to your windshield is minimal. A good rule of thumb is that chips smaller than about an inch in diameter and cracks under a foot in length should be potential candidates for repair. Of course, this may not hold true if the chip has gone all the way through the windshield, creating a hole, or if the crack has turned into a growing spider web, just for example. But it's worth making an appointment to find out if repair is possible since it could save you a fair chunk of change as opposed to replacement.
3. Avoid certain conditions. If you think there's a possibility that your windshield could be repaired, you need to make sure the damage doesn't get any worse before you're able to get the car into the shop for evaluation. And certain conditions can definitely factor into a spreading crack on your windshield. Hot and cold temperature extremes are probably the most likely culprit, so you might want to find alternate transportation for a few days if it's the dead of winter. And during the hot summer months, find shade or a parking garage when you leave the car to avoid direct sun exposure for extended periods of time. In order to avoid getting water, dirt, and debris in a crack or chip, you should cover it with clear tape until you can get the windshield evaluated.
4. Consider replacement. If a crack continues to spread, you may have no choice but to replace your windshield. Although this is bound to be pricy, it's really in your best interest to replace a windshield that can't be repaired, and the sooner the better. Although the chances that you'll come to harm because of a cracked windshield are relatively small, the situation can definitely be hazardous if you suffer any kind of collision. Heck, even slamming the door too hard could cause the glass to break clean across or even shatter due to weakness. In short, you need to take care of it post haste.
5. Find a qualified technician. Whether you'd like to repair a chip or you think you'll need to replace a windshield with a major crack, finding a qualified technician is important. A service provider like Premier 1 Auto Glass has the experience and expertise to ensure that you suffer no further damage due to a cracked or chipped windshield. Whereas an inexperienced shop may leave you with a product that is ill-fitting or improperly installed, a vendor that specializes in this type of repair should make no such mistakes.