Repairing vs Replacing Auto Glass
Many of our customers ask whether we can repair their auto glass. And as much as we want to say yes, there are times when that just isn’t feasible. In this blog post, we hope to answer your top asked question: what determines whether we get to repair or replace auto glass.
Auto glass is specially built glass meant to withstand a sudden force that would otherwise shatter any other glass. This is important because driving at fast speeds can leave your glass regularly exposed to strong gusts of wind, small pebbles, as well as larger debris.
In addition to their ability to withstand more force than regular glass, auto glass is also made in such a way that even when it does break, the driver and passengers remain safe.
How come auto glass doesn’t shatter like regular glass?
Since 1927, automobile manufacturers began using laminated safety glass for vehicles. This glass, also known as auto glass, requires the manufacturer to incorporate a thin layer of a flexible clear plastic film called polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two or more pieces of glass.
PVB holds the glass in place when it breaks, avoiding car passenger injuries. The film can also stretch, allowing the glass to continue to stick to it, even under extreme trauma.
Here’s a quick fun fact about PVB: it can deflect up to 95% of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. This effectively means that PVB saves lives not only from car accidents and debris, but can also help keep skin cancer at bay! A great invention indeed, I’m sure you’ll agree!
How strong is a car’s windshield?
Have you noticed how automobile manufacturers rarely mention the car’s windshield? We all take the glasses we have on our cars for granted these days. They weren’t always as resilient as they are today. Indeed, as we have seen in the previous section, PVB and tempered auto glass have been a great innovation that has been saving countless lives since it was introduced to cars nearly a century ago.
When you look at Ford’s auto glass and try to compare it with that of Hyundai’s, Toyota’s or a Mercedes Benz’s, you can’t really tell them apart from one another. But in reality, they’re all made differently, using different manufacturing processes and technologies, and are assembled on your car differently by each manufacturer. But what all auto glass have in common these days is this—they’re all very strong and save lives daily.
Because cars are meant to be driven around, they’re likely to encounter many potholes, rocks, speed breakers and big trucks hurling pebbles and rocks at you. This means that auto glass is inherently different compared to commercial glass and residential glass. To help keep your car in good form and to keep its occupants safe, car manufacturers have to use laminated glass and tempered glass. The former is used in our windshield and the former is used for the vehicle’s side and back windows.
These two types of glass each have their own unique functions, but when coupled together, they keep passengers safe.
How do windshields get damaged?
Often, minor windshield damage happens in two ways—chips and cracks.
A chip is a damage in the windshield that is visible, effectively marking the point of impact by debris. They look like a point in your windshield. Think a star break, a bulls-eye, a pit or a crack chip. Their diameter is usually less than an inch.
Cracks, on the other hand, create a visible line in the glass that can range from under an inch up to the width of your windshield. Usually, they’re in a straight or wavy line that runs horizontally across your windshield. Fortunately, even long cracks can sometimes be repaired, hence why we’re classifying cracks as minor damages to the auto glass.
When we look at your windshield and are deciding whether it can be repaired or needs to be fully replaced, we look at the following factors:
Though windshield repair technology has come a long way since ten years ago, and even five years ago, size can be a determining factor leading to your auto glass needing to be fully replaced. As a rapidly advancing industry, we invest a lot in emerging technologies that allow us to fully restore your auto glass, but sometimes that isn’t possible. As a rule of thumb, chips that are smaller than a quarter, and cracks up to three inches long, are repairable.
Closely related to the aforementioned size, the next step is to see how deep a chip or a crack is. As we’ve already mentioned, given that a windshield is basically a glass sandwich, the damage can be too extensive if two or more layers of glass have been damaged.
Like any real estate agent is quick to tell you, “Location! Location! Location!” is the third and final major factor that we consider when we want to decide whether an auto glass is repairable or not. For example, chips and cracks extending to the outer edges of the auto glass mean that there’s a much higher probability that the overall structural integrity of the windshield has been comprised. This means that an auto glass repair just won’t cut it and we can’t be sure that our customers are going to be as safe with a repaired auto glass than they would be with a replaced auto glass.
All in all, we highly recommend that you let us take a look at your vehicle to make sure that the auto glass can be repaired and restored to its former glory. Please don’t risk your life, as well as that of other passengers in your car, by ignoring an auto glass that needs repairs or replacement. If you don’t repair an auto glass that can be repaired today, there’s a greater chance that you’ll have to replace it tomorrow.
Serving Kingwood, Houston, Spring, Humble,Katy, Sugar land and The Woodlands.