Nobody wants to hear the sound of a crack as a rock hits their windshield when they're driving. However, it happens to most people at least once in their driving career. Then the question becomes, "can this be fixed or do I need to replace the whole windshield?" Whatever you do, it isn't a good idea to ignore a chip or a crack, as it can get worse the longer it's left unfixed. Since your windshield is responsible for about 40 to 70 percent of the strength of your car, deal with any damage as soon as possible.
How Large Is the Damaged Spot?
Whether the windshield can be repaired will depend at least in part on the size of the damaged spot. Chips that are smaller than a quarter can often be fixed without replacing the entire windshield, as can cracks that are less than 3 inches long. While some shops may be able to repair longer cracks, this isn't always possible.
Where Is the Damage Located?
It's more likely a repair shop will recommend fixing the windshield rather than replacing it if the damage is closer to the edges of the windshield. But any damage in the driver's line of vision may require the whole windshield to be replaced, as repairs can cause some distortion, and this distortion may interfere enough that it can be dangerous if it's in the driver's line of vision.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
Check with your insurance company, as some may totally cover the cost of the windshield repair or replacement, while others require you to pay a deductible. Some companies have set rules on the situations when a replacement is necessary instead of just a repair. You'll want to follow these rules to make sure that fixing your windshield costs you as little as possible.
In some states, it's actually illegal to drive with any cracks in your windshield, such as California. You'll want to call and get someone to fix your car as soon as possible. Once you figure out what your insurance covers, you may even be able to get someone to come to you and deal with the auto glass installation, as there are many mobile windshield repair companies. Just be sure to find out how long you'll need to wait after the windshield is repaired before you drive the car. You may want to have it fixed at home once you're in for the night or right after you get to work so there's plenty of time for the repairs to set.
Whether or not you need a repair or a replacement, it is important that you visit a windshield repair company, like A1 Auto Glass, as soon as possible.