How to Deal With a Chipped or Cracked Windshield?

You know what to do when your “check engine” light comes on or if you get into a fender bender, but do you know what you’re supposed to do when your windshield gets damaged?

First things first, don’t panic!

Yes, your windshield plays a huge role in how safe your entire car is out on the road. After all, it IS the only thing protecting the front of your car from outside elements! However, if you wind up with a windshield chip or crack, all is not lost.  You don’t necessarily need to start over from scratch with a brand new windshield.  You do, however, need to work quickly so that the damage doesn’t spread!

So, what do you need to do?

Start by finding a trustworthy windshield repair company.  A trustworthy auto glass repair technician/company will:

    • Happily show you the credentials that they have been properly licensed, trained and insured – if they don’t, keep looking for one who will!
    • Be happy to have you email them a few pictures of the damage so that they can give you their honest assessment and a upfront estimate without you having to get in the car and risk the damage spreading.  (Just be sure to take your pictures from several angles, and make sure that you’re zoomed in far enough so that the experts can get a good look.)
    • Come to you so that it’s easier to fit into your schedule.  And, most repairs only take about 15-30 minutes, so you won’t have to worry about being without your car for very long!
    • Provide you documentation that your repair comes with a lifetime warranty. That way if the repair ever fails and gets any bigger, you will get 100% of your money back charged for the repair.

You should also figure out exactly what type of windshield damage you’re dealing with so that you can describe it to your auto glass repair company over the phone.  Sure, you know what a crack looks like, but chips can be trickier.  Yours may look like a Bullseye or a Star.  (Because of their shape, Stars are much more likely to develop additional cracks, but Bullseye chips can spread, too!)  In some cases, you may have both types of damage.  For example, you may have a Bullseye chip right where the rock hit, with “Star legs” around it.

As long as your repair company has the right training (hint – it involves being certified by the National Windshield Repair Association and Delta Kits!), they’ll be able to tell you if your windshield can be repaired, or if it needs a full-blown replacement.

How to pay for your repair?

Once you know what the solution entails, take a look at your auto insurance policy.  If you have comprehensive coverage (that’s separate from the traditional collision coverage), you may not even have to spend a single cent to get your windshield fixed!  Even better, a good company will file all of the insurance paperwork for you so that you don’t get caught up in a sea of red tape!

Even if your insurance company won’t fit the bill, a repair will always be a fraction of the cost of a windshield replacement.  Any reputable company will accept cash, check and all major credit cards.  Just remember, it’s incredibly important to address the situation sooner rather than later.  If you wait too long, you may end up with bigger problems – and a more costly solution!

In fact, the longer your windshield sits damaged, the likelihood that the damage can spread will increase dramatically. Even if you just let the car sit in your driveway, a passing thunderstorm, a lot of sunshine, or the cold can be enough to make your crack or chip spread.

What to do until it gets repaired?

But what if you can’t get the damage fixed for a few days?  Is there anything you can do to keep it from getting worse?

Yes!

Stick a piece of clear packing tape over the damage (outside the windshield).  This will give some protection to the area from moisture and debris, without blocking your view if you have to drive somewhere.  This isn’t going to keep the damage from spreading and it definitely can’t replace the need for a professional auto glass repair job!

Bottom line – if your windshield gets damaged, fixing it has got to go right on the top of your “To Do” list!


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