Know Your Windshield

Posted by on Jun 15, 2019 in Blog

Your windshield is an integral part of your vehicle’s structure. Modern windshields contribute to the vehicle’s rigidity and provide protection to passengers in the event of a rollover.

The windshield comprises the front window of your vehicle and its main purpose is to protect you from the elements while providing visibility. Modern windshields are made of laminated safety glass, which is a treated glass consisting of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer laminated between them. This glass is bonded into the window frame.

The laminated layer assures that should the windshield experience shattered, the glass will remain intact. This does not occur, however, if the windshield is pierced.

Common Causes of Windshield Damage

There are several ways in which a windshield can become damaged, chipped or cracked:

  • Accidents. Small cracks can form in the windshield after minor accidents.
  • Extreme Temperatures. Glass expands when warm and contracts when cold. A quick change of temperature may cause a windshield to crack.
  • Incorrect Installation. A loose fitted windshield will experience high levels of vibrations which may cause cracks.
  • Low-Quality Glass. Manufacturing defects found in low-quality glass can cause weak spots that could eventually turn into cracks.
  • Rapid Pressure Changes. Stress fractures can form if you drive at very high speeds or if something falls onto your windshield.
  • Rock Chips. Rock chips results from gravel, construction debris or debris falling off of trucks can cause small chips in your windshield.
  • Storm Debris. Hailstones are a common form of storm debris, but high winds blowing objects around can also cause your windshield to chip.

Repairing or Replacing a Windshield

Damage can occur to the windshield in the form of a crack or chip. If the crack or chip is smaller than the size of a dollar bill, the windshield can be repaired.

Repairing a windshield involves injecting a special resin into the chipped area. In the event of a crack, holes may be drilled at the ends of the crack to prevent it from spreading before the resin is injected.

If there are more than 3 cracks or chips, damage at the edge of the windshield or the windshield is old and covered in divets, the entire windshield should be replaced.

This is done by removing the trim, removing the windshield and cleaning out the pinch weld. The pinch weld is a small gap between the windshield and the body of the car that holds the edges of the windshield in place. Urethane, an adhesive, is then applied to the pinch weld and a new windshield is installed.

It is recommended having your windshield repaired as soon as a crack or chip appear in order to avoid the cost of having the entire windshield replaced.

Do-it-Yourself Windshield Repair

It is possible to fix chips and cracks yourself by purchasing kits specifically designed for the repair. However, it takes an experienced hand to drill to the laminated plastic layer and not through it. Drilling through it can cause significant damage to the windshield and may require a complete replacement.

Before you attempt to repair a damaged windshield yourself, speak to an expert.

Windshield Tinting

There are many law restrictions in Canada as to how you are allowed to tint the windshield and windows of your vehicle. In Alberta, for example, you are allowed to tint your rear side windows and back window. However, you are not allowed to apply aftermarket tint on your windshield or front side windows. Most vehicles are sold with tinting on the upper portion of the windshield to block glare from the sun.

Fix those chips and cracks before they become a larger problem! Come visit us at Freeway Autobody today for a free quote!

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