Did you know that 13-14 million windshields are replaced each year?
All it takes is something as small as a stray pebble, kicked up by the car or truck in front of you, to cause chips or cracks that splinter your windshield’s glass. While you may be tempted to just leave smaller defects alone to save money, a cracked windshield is a safety issue, and having it repaired should be a first priority for proper vehicle maintenance.
How a Windshield Works
A windshield does more than keep wind off you. Windshields also help support the roof of your vehicle, which allows the airbag to deploy properly, shields you from projectiles, and helps you from being thrown from your vehicle in the case of a crash. Additionally, windshields also protect against the elements and helps insulate your vehicle to allow efficient use of the heat and air conditioner.
The Danger of Cracked Windshields
When a windshield is cracked, it becomes fundamentally weakened. This means that in the event of a crash, you and the occupants of your car are starting at a disadvantage. Often a cracked windshield will be less capable of providing roof support (making it more vulnerable to being crushed or caving in), and it may not be able to provide a hard support for the airbag to deploy against (meaning that the airbag could shatter the glass instead of inflating forward).
A weakened windshield can also shatter during a non-severe accident, like a fender-bender, causing glass to rain on passengers and rendering your car unsafe to drive.
Windshields also protect against extreme weather conditions. Dramatic temperature changes can cause the windshields to shatter as the glass slightly expands and contracts. The last thing you want to see when you’re about to leave for work in the morning is a shattered windshield and a car full of snow!
Getting a Windshield Fixed
It used to be that damaged windshields were always replaced. However, these days, windshields can often simply be repaired, without necessitating the time and expense of a full replacement. A good rule of thumb is that a crack under six inches can be repaired, but some products have been known to fix cracks up to a foot long or more.
In the event your windshield is damaged, visit a qualified windshield repair technician at a car repair shop as soon as you can get an appointment. They can advise you on the best course of action and give you a quote for repair or replacement. Keeping yourself and your passengers safe is well worth the hassle of a little car maintenance.