Why a Chip in Your Windshield Can Be Dangerous
- A chip can expand over time into a full-fledged crack or even cause your windshield to shatter completely. This is why it is important to find a good windshield repair kit as soon as possible.
- A crack in your windshield can reflect light into your eyes causing temporary blindness and distracting drivers.
- A crack in your windshield weakens the structural integrity of the glass. In modern cars, the windshield can be up to 30% of the structural strength of your roof. This means that if you have a chip in your windshield and you get into an accident where your car rolls onto the roof. There is a much higher chance of the roof collapsing in on you.
- A crack is not only distracting in your peripheral vision but it is unattractive and lowers the value of your car
What Causes a Windshield Crack to Spread?
Small windshield cracks and chips are extremely frustrating when they happen. But after you settle down you may look at that small chip and think that it’s no big deal. This is where you’re wrong. With stress from multiple factors, this chip will eventually spread into a crack or even shatter the entire windshield. You need to get a windshield repair kit or get your windshield replaced as soon as possible.
If you do end up needing to replace your whole windshield then you may save some money by doing it yourself. If this is the case then you may enjoy our article on the best windshield sealants and adhesives.
Dirt or Water
Dirt and water can get into the crack and cause it too spread. These things being inside the glass also weaken the structural integrity of the glass as a whole.
If it is cold and water gets into the crack it may freeze and expand causing the chip to spread and crack open further. Extreme cold also causes the glass to contract naturally, which with a weak spot in the windshield, may cause it to shatter under the added pressure. At 32 degrees a windshield crack is 60% more likely spread and at 14 degrees it rises to an 80% increase. In the opposite way, extreme heat causes the glass to expand and can cause the crack the pull apart and shatter further.
Even bumps from the road, speed bumps, potholes, or aggressive driving cause a natural flex of your car and can start the spread of a minor chip into a much more serious crack.
Different Types of Windshield Cracks
Quick But Short Term Windshield Crack Remedies
To keep the crack from spreading in the short term you can try these quick tips before looking into a more long term solution like a windshield repair kit or full windshield replacement.
- Put tape over the crack to keep out dirt and water. Use clear tape so it won’t obstruct your view while driving.
- Park in the shade if it is hot or in the sun if it is cold to avoid temperature extremes from stressing the glass.
- Use Superglue or Nail polish to fill in the crack (Skip this step if you can afford a proper windshield repair kit)
How a Windshield Repair Kit Works
- It will fill in the chip keeping out dirt and water
- The clear adhesive will fill in the crack reducing its obvious appearance
- The adhesive will hold the glass together reducing the likelihood of the crack spreading
How to Tell If a Windshield Chip or Crack Can Be Repaired
For reference a Toonie is a Canadian two dollar coin and is a little larger than an American quarter. Neither chips or cracks can be repaired if a previous windshield repair has already been attempted.
The chip needs to be 1.25 inches in diameter or less. This is about the size of a half-dollar or about 1/4 inch outside the diameter of a quarter.
A crack can be repaired as long as it is not within the driver’s line of sight. This is a general rule for safety. The crack also needs to be 8 inches long or less. A crack cannot be repaired if it connects two edges of the glass. You also cannot repair the windshield if there is more than 4 cracks present at the same time. In any of these cases, the whole windshield would need to be replaced.
Things to Consider When Repairing Your Windshield
If the chip or crack is large in size or spreading rapidly then it would be worth getting a professional opinion on whether or not you need to get the whole windshield replaced. This is for your own safety.
When buying a windshield repair kit you want one with a denser, thicker, high-quality resin. A low-quality resin will not dry crystal clear but instead, a pale yellow leaving the crack easily noticeable.
You need enough resin to fully fill in the chip or crack as well as one that will dry to a crystal clear finish. If there is not enough resin it will not fully fill in the crack making it not only noticeable but unsafe and still prone to cracking further.
Based on your unique situation and time of year you may need a windshield repair kit that can cure under your specific conditions. Some repair kits can take longer to cure than others. Also, some require direct sunlight to complete the curing process while others need to be set in the shade in order to cure properly.
OUR FAVORITE WINDSHIELD REPAIR KITS!
This is the Rain-X Windshield Repair Kit and our pick as the best overall repair kit. This kit is made by Rain-X the leaders in the car industry when it comes to anything that has to do with automotive glass. This works well to repair and stop the spread of chips or cracks. It can fill chips up to one inch in diameter or cracks up to 12 inches in length.
This resin is high quality and dries clear leaving your windshield as strong as it was before the crack. Its slow flow formula allows it to easily fill in cracks and force out air in the process, ensuring a strong seal. For best results, windshield repairs should be made as quickly as possible to avoid water or dirt getting into the cracks.
This is the Permatex Windshield Repair Kit and our pick for the 2nd best repair kit. This is a one-step no mixing required filler. It has enough volume to fill a chip up to 1 1/4 inch in diameter. This resin needs to be applied at a temperature of 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and requires direct sunlight to fully cure.
Factor this into whether or not this resin is right for you. It’s newly redesigned delivery system now has a spring-locked feature which allows professional-quality windshield repairs with an airtight seal. This kit is not meant to fill cracks and works best only on windshield chips.
This is the Clearshield Windshield Repair Kit and our pick for the best premium repair kit on the market. This kit is a professional windshield repair kit that is used at commercial locations. It has enough supplies to repair 200+ windshields. It also comes with a training video that teaches you exactly how to use all of the materials provided for a perfect fix every time.
This kit has a fast dry time and an easy fix so that even beginners can use this kit with ease. It comes with a Dremel to clear out the excess glass, a professional resin injector and all of the supplies needed to prime and clean the glass. This kit is pricey but if you want a professional-grade windshield repair then this is the way to go.