Should I Repair My Windshield, or Replace It?

New Car Windshield

Your windshield takes a beating. Things like rocks, gravel, dust, and other types of road debris can get kicked up while driving, causing areas of the windshield to become cracked, chipped, or pitted. It can be difficult to gauge the extent of the damage just by looking at it, but windshield damage shouldn’t be ignored as it can become a safety issue. Cracks can spread, scratches and pits can distort your line of sight – not to mention that damage to the glass can affect the integrity of your windshield and the structure of your vehicle! That brings us to the big question: can the damage be repaired, or do you need a complete windshield replacement?

Repair or Replacement?

One thing that’s important to understand about windshields is that although they look like a large, single piece of glass they’re made up of three layers: an inner layer of glass, a piece of polymer or resin, and an outer layer of glass.

There are several factors that we evaluate before deciding whether to repair or replace a windshield. Fortunately, small cracks and chips can typically be safely repaired if the area is small enough to be covered by a quarter. However, if the damage is within your line of sight or the windshield is old and covered in small pits and divots, it should be replaced. If your windshield can be repaired, the repair process is straightforward.

For chips, a clear, curable resin is injected into the outer layer of glass. This restores the integrity of the windshield and improves its appearance. Once the resin is cured, it’s polished to create a smooth surface that prevents the chip or crack from spreading. If you have damage that’s on the deeper side, the damage may be slightly enlarged or deepened with a drill so that the resin has a chance to penetrate the damage better.

If your windshield can be repaired, it’s best to do it immediately to prevent the damage from getting worse. Although it’s not common, small chips can potentially spread if you hit a large pothole, drive down a bumpy road, or encounter other situations that cause a jolt to your vehicle.

Avoid DIY Kits; Call the Pros

Whether you have a small chip or a large crack, it’s important to have your windshield evaluated by auto glass specialists. Although there are DIY kits out on the market, these can compromise your visibility or the integrity of your windshield. Our trained technicians will assess the damage and find the best solutions for your safety and budget. Contact Lucky Dog Auto Glass today at 253-569-9403 for a free estimate.

Worn Wiper Blades: An Underappreciated Cause of Windshield Damage

Windshield wipers get a lot of use during the rainy season, and with that comes a fair amount of wear. Not just wear on your wiper blades, either! Worn out wiper blades can cause some serious damage to your windshield over time. Here’s a look at how this happens and what you can do to prevent it.

How Does the Damage Occur?

Windshield wiper blades have long, thin rubber arms that cover a thin metal blade. Every time the blade arms move back and forth across your windshield, the rubber slowly deteriorates, which can cause it to eventually wear away entirely. Once this happens, there’s nothing to protect the glass from the metal scraping across it and scratches are very likely to occur. It’s important to replace your wiper blades as soon as they show signs of wear to prevent your windshield from becoming damaged.

Wiper blades typically last about 6-12 months, but this can vary based on factors like the weather and the conditions you typically drive-in. Rainier years will put more wear and tear on your wiper blades, making it necessary to replace them more frequently. For this reason, it’s a good idea to inspect your wiper blades on a regular basis. One easy way to remember is to take a look at them (or ask your mechanic) every time you have your oil changed. Even if your wiper blades are working well, they should be replaced as soon as you notice any streaking or visible metal.

Other Considerations

Windshield wipers may seem like a minor fixture in the grand scheme of your car, but worn blades can significantly affect your safety, as the damage they cause can severely limit your visibility. Even small scratches can obstruct your view and make it more difficult to see potential hazards.

Small imperfections (including cracks and pits) in glass can also lower the integrity of a windshield. This means if you get into an accident the force of the collision is more likely to cause the windshield to shatter, which could result in serious injuries.

Beyond safety issues, there are also legality issues to consider. Washington doesn’t have specific laws regarding damage to windshields, but there are regulations that cover windshield obstruction as well as the condition of windshield wipers. According to WAC 204-10-024, drivers “must have no obstruction forward of the windshield that extends more than two inches upward into the horizontally forward projected vision area of the windshield.” The projected vision area covers the area from the top of the steering wheel to the top of the front of the fenders or hood. If you have multiple cracks in the windshield or one within the vision area, you could be at risk of receiving a citation.

Restoring the Glass

If your wiper blades have damaged your windshield, you’ll generally have one option: replace the windshield.

If you wait to replace the blades, there could be considerable damage, like multiple scratches across the windshield or deep scratches. Unfortunately, once the damage in the glass reaches a certain depth, it’s not repairable. Your only option is to replace the windshield. If the damage is extensive on the driver’s side, even if it’s not very deep, it could still require replacement.

There are DIY repair kits available, however, it’s important to understand that nothing can replace the expert eye of auto glass professionals. Windshield repairs and recommendations are always best left to glass specialists, as there can be damage that’s not visible or other considerations. If you’ve noticed your blades have started to scratch your windshield, the best first step to take is to replace the blades. Then, give Lucky Dog Auto Glass a call! We’re happy to evaluate the damage and let you know whether it’s a candidate for repair or if a replacement would be the safer option. Contact us today at 253-569-9403 for a free estimate!

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