Anyone who drives enough miles – especially on the highway – will experience a chipped windshield or two. There’s no avoiding it. Tires on nearby vehicles often kick up small pieces of gravel or other small objects that can hit hard enough to chip out a piece of glass. And sometimes rocks or gravel can fall out of a truck and right onto your windshield – that’s happened to me.
If you’ve experienced a chip, you may have noticed that it didn’t grow and didn’t crack the glass around it. Maybe that chip isn’t affecting your road vision and isn’t particularly bothering you. And with that in mind, you don’t want to spend the money on a repair. That’s understandable. But it’s not the right thing to do.
There are two basic reasons why you shouldn’t delay more than a few days in getting that chip on your windshield repaired. One, the longer you wait to repair a chip, the less likely it is for a repair to be effective; in that case, the windshield will need to be replaced. Two, chips can expand quickly and unpredictably into large cracks that can pose a hazard to your safety.
Some chips can remain stable and seemingly unchanged, giving you the sense that you can take your time in addressing the problem. But any chip in the glass can be penetrated by dirt or other substances that lodge into tiny cracks and can’t be washed out. Once this happens, any effort to repair the chip will lock in the substance for good, resulting in a stain in your windshield.
The earlier you arrange for the chip to be properly sealed by your local windshield repair professionals, the less chance dirt has to penetrate your windshield’s surface. So arrange for a repair right away, and plan to get it done within a few days.
Maybe you’re thinking that you could live with a small blemish in your windshield – especially if that little cloud of dirt isn’t in your field of vision. So you would be in no hurry to arrange for a repair. The problem with this reasoning is that chips can expand at any time – even if you don’t plan to drive your car.
Many factors can put stress on a windshield: changes in temperature and moisture are just two. And some areas of the windshield – particularly those on the outside edges – are under perpetual stress and are especially vulnerable. All of these factors are in play even when the car is stationary, so there is always a chance for a small chip to grow into a larger crack.
The next time your windshield suffers a chip, here’s what you should do: Cover the chip to protect against dirt and moisture. Avoid temperature extremes. And arrange for a windshield repair right away. If you don’t, that easy repair could turn into an expensive replacement.