Windshield 101: How to Best Protect Them & What to Do When They Chip or Crack

Most drivers have dealt with a crack in their windshield at some point. When this happens, it is important to address the damage before it gets worse. We’ve outlined ways you can fix the problem and have highlighted how you can takes steps to avoiding the issue again in the future. 

Shield Your Windshield From Sunlight and Cold 

Temperature changes can cause the glass on your vehicle to expand and contract. This weakens the strength of the glass. Excessive heat can cause the windshield to crack or existing cracks to grow. Use window shades if you are leaving your car in sunlight for an extended period of time. Just as heat takes a toll on the glass, cold weather can also have a damaging effect. Heat your car gradually when you first get inside to avoid shocking the glass with warmth on the inside and cold on the outside. 

Know How to Clean Your Windshield 

Make sure you frequently clean your windshield. Do not wash it when it is hot outside. Water can introduce a temperature fluctuation that can lead to a crack as the glass reacts. Also clean your windshield wipers. Dirty wipers that squeak can leave behind scratches that eventually turn into cracks. Make sure your windshield washer fluid levels are normal. Not only will this help you keep your windshield clean, but it will also better prevent your windshield water pump from breaking. 

Avoid Cleaning with Chemicals 

When cleaning the glass, make sure you choose the right products to prevent cracks and scratches. Choose cleaning agents that are ammonia-free. Ammonia dries out plastic and vinyl. It can destroy the protective layer on glass. When wiping off the cleaner, use a microfiber cloth to avoid scratching. If you want to make your own cleaning solution, think about using a combination of water and vinegar. Just make sure to rinse it off completely when you are done cleaning. 

Replace Your Windshield WIpers 

When you notice that your wipers are no longer successfully pushing water off the glass, have them replaced. Wipers lose their shape after repeated use and can put too much pressure on parts of your windshield. Neglecting to change them can weaken the glass and cause cracks and scratches. 

Choose Parking Spots Carefully 

An easy way to better protect your windshield is to pay attention to where you park. Park your car in shady areas to prevent direct sunlight from hitting your vehicle. However, beware of parking under trees. You don’t want your windshield to be struck by acorns or other falling objects. 

Drive a Safe Distance From Other Vehicles 

Usually cracks in windshields happen during our commute. The best way to avoid flying stones and pavement is to leave ample room between you and the vehicle in front of you. Not only will you be able to have more time to react but you will also avoid flying debris. If you can, avoid driving near large trucks which tend to toss up more rocks and other debris on the ground. 

Purchase a Windshield Repair Kit 

If you want to take a stab at fixing the crack yourself, purchase a windshield repair kit. The kit will contain an adapter and resin to seal the crack. The resin will enclose the crack which will prevent it from spreading further. Take a 1/16 inch drill bit to place a small hole at one end of the crack. You can then put the resin directly inside the seam. 

Implement Temporary Fixes 

If you don’t want to use a repair kit, there are other ways you can temporarily address the issue. Using standard cyanoacrylate glue, seal off the crack. Simply place the glue on the crack and spread it evenly over its surface. You can also resort to acrylic nail polish. After cleaning the crack, apply a large amount of polish over the crack and surrounding areas. While these solutions work for a short period of time, you will have to eventually opt for a more long term fix. 

Consult and Hire a Professional 

If you notice a chip or crack, your best option is to contact a windshield expert immediately. They will have the materials to seal off the crack and even make it appear smaller. Neglecting to getting cracks fixed can result in them growing even larger which can obstruct your view. Not to mention the cost of repair will go up. The last thing you want is to have to replace your entire windshield or to be forced to make an insurance claim to cover the damage.

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