The car in front of you kicks up a rock which bounces off of your windshield, causing a tiny chip. You forget about the incident and, in a few days, notice a thin crack extending out from the chip. By the end of the day, the crack has made it all the way across your windshield. Here is how that simple chip causes a bigger problem and why you need to get it repaired now before you have to replace the entire windshield.
Safety Glass Keeps You Safe, But Puts Stress on the Windshield
Safety glass was invented to prevent windows from shattering into dangerous sharp pieces when broken. Two pieces of glass are bonded together with a clear plastic sheet. When a window breaks, the plastic sheet holds the pieces in place, creating that spider web pattern where cracks form outward from the impact point.
When a rock hits the windshield and creates a small chip, it develops a stress point at the chip. Your glass windshield expands and contracts as the temperature changes. When the windshield warms up, the expansion of the glass puts even more stress at the chip and the glass can crack to relieve the stress, starting at the chip. On a hot day when the sun streams into the car, heating it and the windshield, a crack can begin at a rock chip and work its way across the width of the windshield by the end of the day.
Depending on where the rock chip occurs, how deep it is, and whether cracks started at the time of the impact, you could drive your car with the rock chip for years without a problem. In other cases, you could come out to your car the morning after a rock chip occurred and find the windshield cracked all the way across. Since this is so unpredictable, the best move is to get the car to an auto glass repair shop and have the glass repaired soon.
How Rock Chips Are Repaired
You can have a chipped windshield repaired on your way to or home from work. The auto glass shop will do the repair while you wait.
- The glass technician cleans all dirt and glass fragments out of the chip.
- A clear resin is forced into the chip and any cracks extending away from it.
- The resin is smoothed so it is flush with the glass around it. This is so the wipers don't catch on the repair.
- Once dried, the resin is polished so it is as clear as the rest of the windshield.
- In most cases, you won't be able to tell where the rock chip occurred.
For more information, contact a company like Premiere Glass And Mirror.