In addition to detracting from the appearance of your vehicle, a cracked windshield make can also reduce your visibility. While many people think that a small crack is a minor issue and ignore it for days or even weeks, the imperfection can spread quickly and make your car unsafe to drive.
The damage may be referred to as a chip, a stress crack, a star break or a bull’s-eye depending upon the size and shape of the flaw. Regardless of its type and size, the crack will eventually spread as the glass expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and pressure.
A stone kicked up by the vehicle traveling in front of you can easily create a star-shaped crack at the point of impact. While this crack may initially be small, it can impair your visibility as it spreads. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive and straightforward ways to stop a windshield crack from spreading.
In This Guide
- Dangers of a Cracked Windshield
- Evaluate the Extent of the Crack
- Stopping a Windshield Crack from Spreading
Dangers of a Cracked Windshield
Many drivers think that a cracked windshield is just a small annoyance, but the issue does not receive the attention that it deserves. Traffic officials and safety experts recommend immediate corrective actions.
Along with providing protection from the elements and road debris as you drive, the windshield plays a crucial safety role during an accident. As part of the forward crumple zone, the windshield directs the force of a front-end collision down into the chassis. This design minimizes the effects of the impact on the interior and protects passengers traveling in the vehicle.
A faulty windshield will not provide the ideal protection in the event of a collision. To ensure proper visibility and overall safety, many state inspection facilities will not pass a vehicle with windshield cracks over a certain size or in specific areas. That said, it isn’t necessary to replace your windshield when you see a small crack.
You can save the cost of replacement, prevent the minor imperfection from getting worse and keep your car on the road if you take the appropriate actions.
Evaluate the Extent of the Crack
Inspect your windshield to assess the condition of the crack. Determine whether you have the ability to fix the crack or must take your vehicle to a shop for repairs or replacement if the glass is beyond repair.
Measure the size and depth of the imperfection. If the crack is approximately a foot long, half an inch wide or has been there for an extended period, you should replace the windshield.
Stopping a Windshield Crack from Spreading
The first step is to prevent stressors like dirt, water and other debris from entering the crack. Although it will not withstand the pressure of a car wash or severe weather, a piece of clear tape can help keep the crack clean under normal driving conditions.
Here are a few more techniques to keep the crack from spreading. While professionals offer windshield chip and crack repair services, a do-it-yourselfer can accomplish the task with the right materials and a little patience.
1. Purchase a Windshield Repair Kit
To fix the crack yourself, purchase a windshield repair kit from a local automotive parts supply store. The kit contains an adapter and a specialized resin that will be forced into the crack. The resin will seal the crack from the outside elements, reduce stress on the glass and prevent further spreading. Use a 1/16-inch drill bit to bore a small hole at one end of the crack through only the top layer of the glass. Force the repair kit resin into the seam.
2. Use Super Glue to Hold the Glass Together
Instead of purchasing a repair kit, you can also use standard cyanoacrylate glue, which is commonly marketed as Super Glue, if the crack is small enough. Gently force the glue into the crack or scratch and spread it out evenly. The glue will hold the two sides of the crack together preventing it from getting larger.
3. Use Nail Polish as a Temporary Solution
Some people have even reported success using clear acrylic nail polish. Clean the dirt and dust out of the crack. Apply liberal amounts of nail polish on the inside and outside of the crack as well as over the areas where the crack will spread. This will help hold the glass together while you schedule a visit to a repair shop. Remember that using nail polish and Super Glue are only temporary fixes. You should still have your windshield inspected by an expert.
4. Park Your Car in the Shade
In addition to heat, the weight of snow and the force of wind and rain will cause the crack to get bigger. Parking your vehicle in the shade will help reduce the effects of temperature changes and the elements. Park your vehicle inside whenever possible to reduce stress on the glass.
5. Get Advice from a Windshield Expert
Speak to someone who has expertise in windshield repair. This individual will have the knowledge and experience as well as the tools and materials to temporarily repair the crack. They may be able to contain the size of the crack and make the imperfection appear smaller than it is.
6. Hire a Professional
If your damage assessment determined that temporary do-it-yourself fixes would not stop the crack from spreading, you should find a professional windshield repair shop, such as Safelite. Do not wait any longer than absolutely necessary to get your car’s glass repaired.
The sooner you deal with windshield cracks, the better. Complex cracks and defects longer than 6 inches can severely limit your visibility and reduce the strength of your windshield. Do not wait until the crack gets bigger.
The smaller the crack, the easier it will be to fix. If you wait too long, the problem may have worsened to the point where the crack cannot be repaired, and you’ll have to replace the entire windshield.
Over to You
We’re interested to know – what type of crack does your windshield have and what method did you use to keep it from getting bigger? Let other readers know by leaving a comment below!