Your windshield is one of your car’s biggest safety devices. Instead of just being a pane of glass that you look through, each windshield has a complete infrastructure – made up of two pieces of glass with a layer of special vinyl sandwiched in between them. The vinyl is responsible for preventing your windshield from shattering during a crash.
If any part of your windshield gets damaged – even if it’s just a tiny crack or chip – you don’t have time to waste. You need experts who know how to make it structurally sound again. The only question is, do you need experts that specialize in repairs or replacements?
What’s the difference?
A windshield repair involves injecting a premier resin right into the chip or crack. A good repair job can be done in about 30 minutes. Windshield replacements, however, are a longer, more tedious process. As is obvious by the name, a replacement involves removing your old windshield and installing a new one. This doesn’t take very long, but you have to let the car sit for a few hours so that the urethane used to bond the windshield to the rest of your car has plenty of time to dry. (A big perk of windshield repairs is that you don’t have to worry about the windshield being installed improperly or waiting for anything to dry, because it stays right in place the entire time it’s being worked on!)
But how do you know if your windshield can be repaired, or if it needs a full-blown replacement?
Here’s the general rule of thumb – repairs can usually be done on chips that are less than three inches long. There can be exceptions, so don’t automatically assume that your bigger damage warrants a replacement. The best thing to do is to contact a windshield repair company, show them the damage, and let them be the judge. (Even better, the good repair companies will have you email them photos of the damage, so that you don’t have to worry about driving around with a windshield that’s been compromised!)
The key, though, is to find a repair company you can trust. Unfortunately, a less-than-stellar company may tell you that your windshield can be repaired when it really needs to be replaced.
It could be a case of subpar training. After all, everyone in the industry doesn’t go through the same training. Unfortunately, lots of technicians aren’t certified at all, and many of the ones who are aren’t certified by the right organizations. So, they may not be looking at your windshield damage with a trained eye! (If you want to make sure your company has been trained properly, look for technicians that have been certified by the National Windshield Repair Association)
Other companies may talk you into a repair job simply because they only handle repairs, and they don’t want to turn away your business! So, if you want an honest answer, look for a team that you can trust to be upfront with you.
Just be sure to do it quickly! After all, damage that only warrants a minor repair can quickly spread and turn into something more serious that ends up requiring a replacement. The longer you let your windshield sit (even if you’re not actually driving the car around town), the more likely you are to need a replacement.
What about cost?
Because there’s less work involved, windshield repairs are much less expensive than replacements. Luckily, though, in either case, your auto insurance company may foot the bill! You’ll have to check your policy first, but in many cases, windshield damage comes with 100% coverage – meaning that you don’t even have to meet a deductible first. If you’re not exactly sure how to deal with your insurance company, a good company can contact them and file a claim for you.
Now that you know all the details, go out and take care of your windshield so that it can take care of you!