Important Facts About a Cracked or Chipped Windshield

No matter what, your windshield runs the risk of getting a chip or crack. Below are some important facts regarding chips and cracks in your windshield.

You Can Incur a Traffic Ticket

Federal law holds that cracks and chips smaller than 3/4 of an inch are permitted as long as they’re three inches or farther from other chips or cracks. However, they cannot be located within the driver’s view. While most police officers probably won’t stop you specifically because of a cracked windshield, they could add the violation onto a ticket they hand out.

Even if the chip or crack is located elsewhere, you may not be safe from receiving a traffic ticket. States carry their own specific laws. For example, while the state of Illinois doesn’t have laws specific to cracks and chips, the laws do prohibit most things that obscure the view through the windshield or impede the function of windshield wipers.

Rocks Are the Primary Cause of Chips

Not surprisingly, flying rocks are the most common catalyst for windshield chips. Gravel is everywhere on the road, and cars traveling at high speeds can kick the rocks up at a high velocity. This phenomenon is especially common with semi-trucks. Similarly, construction vehicles carrying gravel can send rocks into the air.

Conventional wisdom holds that putting space between your vehicle and big trucks or construction vehicles is the best way to prevent such chips.

Windshield Chip Repair Is Easy for Professionals

When a rock strikes your windshield, it actually creates an air pocket where the glass has separated. Such an air pocket can harm the integrity of your windshield, so you should repair it before the chip spreads.

The repair process is relatively simple for glass professionals. They alternate vacuuming and pressurizing the chip to remove the air pocket. They then fill in the void with clear resin. The repair often takes only a few minutes. Some full coverage car insurance policies even cover the cost of windshield repair.

Windshield Cracks Are More Involved

The causes of windshield cracks vary more than for chips. Chips can often provide the catalyst for a crack. As noted, chips weaken the glass. If left unrepaired, they can lengthen into full cracks.

Another cause of windshield cracks is extreme variations in temperature. These extremes happen one of two ways. One way is if your car has sat in the sun all day, heating up the glass, and you turn the air conditioner on full blast. Conversely, you run the defroster immediately on a cold windshield. Either way, the glass often contracts and expands rapidly, resulting in a crack.

Pressure changes can also cause stress cracks. These stress cracks occur with sudden wind gusts or a sudden shift from one speed to another. If the glass’s integrity is already compromised, even a jolt from slamming the door or hitting a pothole can create a crack.

Windshield cracks greater than 12 inches long often necessitate replacing the glass.

Cracks Easily Grow

Barring an impact, cracks usually start out small. If the crack is shorter than 12 inches, you can repair it. However, putting the repair off usually results in more damage because the cracks easily grow. For instance, washing the car can introduce water into the crack, pushing it apart. Dirt can also accumulate and widen the crack.

The process for repairing a short crack is the same for a chip, meaning professionals can easily handle it.

Don’t drive around with a damaged windshield since you can get a ticket or even worsen the problem. Instead, have the glass experts at Aaron Auto Glass repair or replace your windshield as necessary.

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