Weathering Windshield Chip Repair

With the approach of spring, which often brings daily temperature fluctuations that can be as much as 20 degrees from early morning to late afternoon, many drivers will see that small chip in their windshields start to spread into a major crack. As the windshield and its frame expand and contract differently with temperature changes, stresses develop in the glass and become focused at the windshield’s weakest point, namely a chip. When the stresses become too great, they are released as a crack. The same thing can happen after a particularly cold night when the driver cranks on the heat in the morning to defrost the windshield.

Chip Repair, Just The Ticket To Avoid Tickets

A windshield chip or crack not only compromises the driver’s and passengers’ safety, by impairing visibility and structural integrity in low-speed crashes, but is often (an expensive) ticketable offense in most states. As an example, Michigan’s 36th District Court in Detroit lists a cracked or broken windshield as an “equipment violation” carrying a fine of $111 ($151 if you don’t pay in 20 days)! That’s much more than the cost of a chip repair. Especially since most insurance companies will waive your deductible and gladly cover the minimal cost of a chip repair to avoid future expenses such as windshield replacement or injury claims.

A Quick, Essentially Free Fix

Chip repair is relatively fast and easy. The procedure itself takes only 15-20 minutes and is a permanent fix for chips and small cracks. An easy rule of thumb: if the damage is smaller than a dollar bill it is most likely repairable. Damage areas bigger than a dollar bill will require windshield replacement.

In most cases, the repair to you is essentially free. The repair facility that you choose will ask for your insurance information and will handle the processing of your claim through your carrier. As mentioned before, most insurance companies are only too happy to cover the cost of a chip repair, knowing that this will save them big costs down the road. Many retailers also offer low or discounted “cash” pricing for chip repairs.

Types Of Damage To Look Out For

• Windshield Chips are usually small notches or grooves in the glass. Chips do not continue completely through the glass. When chips are small, they are usually easy to fix, but after continued temperature fluctuation cycles or flexing of the car due to a vicious pothole or rough road conditions they can begin to spread.

• Windshield Cracks are curved or straight lines that extend across the windshield. Cracks can extend from the front and back of the windshield. They can also exist on only one side of the windshield. Windshield cracks should be repaired as soon as possible because they can grow promptly.

• Windshield Star Breaks extend from a central point of damage with long cracks. This type of windshield crack can spread over time, so they should be repaired as soon as possible. Continued driving can prolong the damage.

• Windshield Bulls Eyes are circular windshield cracks and fractures that look similar to a target of concentric circles. A windshield bullseye break can often be repaired, but probably won’t disappear completely. If this type of glass break is in the driver’s line of sight, the windshield often needs to be replaced to ensure suitable visibility for driving. Bull’s eye windshield cracks should be repaired, even if they are not in the driver’s line of sight because they can quickly turn into additional cracks or star breaks.

The Bottom Line

It pays to get cracks and chips repaired as soon as possible. Both for safety and for saving money. An essentially free fix could wind up costing you hundreds of dollars in deductible costs if the crack spreads too far. In addition, with police departments trying to raise revenues wherever possible in this dismal economy, expensive tickets for cracked and chipped windshields will undoubtedly be issued in ever increasing numbers.