Windscreens: when to replace and when to repair
What to do when your windscreen gets chipped or cracked
You’re driving along the highway, the roads are pretty clear, the sun is shining and nothing can ruin your mood. That is, until a small stone or bit of debris comes flying up off the bitumen and hits against your windscreen.
As soon as you hear that short crack sound your heart jumps and your mind begins to race because you know you’ll be heading to the mechanic.
The question is: how bad is it? And what kind of windscreen repair job will you need?
The truth is, not all chipped or damaged windscreens are created equal.
Some may be a quick fix up job. Others you may be looking at a full replacement windscreen.
So how do you know if you need windscreen repair or replacement?
How do you prevent your chip or crack from getting worse?
What are the laws around driving with a damaged windscreen?
And what are the costs to repair and replace?
In this article we’re tackling all of this and more, so keep reading.
Chipped vs cracked windscreen
If your windscreen has been damaged by some wayward rock or gravel from the road you’re probably hoping for a quick repair job.
Sometimes a fix up job will work a treat, other times you’ll need to look into full replacement.
Usually this is determined by whether you have just chipped your windscreen or if you’ve actually cracked through the glass.
Can you repair a chipped windscreen?
Is your chip located at least 5cm from the edge of the windscreen? Is it smaller than a 5 cent coin?
If so, you can probably breathe a sigh of relief as in many cases you can simply repair the damage.
A note of caution though: get your chip checked by a technician as soon as possible or it could quickly grow in size or turn into a crack.
How chip repair works:
- The glass technician will inspect the damage to determine whether it can simply be repaired.
- If the answer is yes he/she will fill the chip in with special resin, ensuring it gets all the way into the micro-cracks.
- Once done, a UV light is used to harden the resin and then the area is polished and smoothened.
Can you repair a cracked windscreen?
Some windscreen cracks can be repaired in the same way as chip repair. But, there are different types of cracks such as hairline and bullseye, and each comes with its own level of damage or risk.
As with chipped windscreens, crack repair will also depend on where the crack is placed and how big it is.
If it is away from the edge of the windscreen and is smaller than a 5 cent coin you have a better chance at repair.
But a qualified technician will run a full assessment of the damage and make recommendations around whether to repair or replace.
How do I stop my windscreen crack/chip from spreading?
While it’s always a good idea to head straight to a professional when it comes to cracks in your windscreen, there are some steps you can take to prevent the crack or chip from spreading in between when it happens and when you can get booked in with a technician.
1. Use a windscreen repair kit
You can pick up a windscreen repair kit from your local auto accessories store.
They range in price but usually sit at around $40 per kit.
They’re simple to use and come with full instructions.
But these kits are usually just a temporary measure and it’s always best to seek the advice of an expert.
Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen?
When it comes to driving with a cracked windscreen legislation varies from state to state depending on the severity of the crack.
As a general rule, anything that obstructs your vision when driving or that presents a safety issue on the road is illegal.
Best to stay on the right side of the law on this one by booking in with an expert.
How much does it cost to repair/replace a windscreen?
Depending on your level of insurance it can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000 to replace your windscreen.
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