Lots of people drive around with a cracked windshield, which you may have heard is dangerous. So is it? In Utah, you’ll have to replace it before you can pass your next scheduled safety inspection anyway, but you should not wait that long for several reasons. In fact, safety experts recommend having it repaired or replaced immediately, and not to drive the vehicle at all if the crack disrupts your view.
The Risks of a Broken Windshield
It is certainly a hassle to have a broken windshield, but the problems stretch further than your inconvenience. Motor vehicles have windshields to ensure the safety of both driver and passengers, not just to protect them from wind and airborne objects, but also to provide a significant level of structural support for the passenger cabin in the case of a rollover. A tiny rock chip that you repair promptly probably doesn’t pose too much of a threat, but more damage than that, and the original factory seal on the windshield becomes compromised and, along with it, the structural integrity of the glass.
Should You Repair or Replace Your Windshield?
The answers on this vary, depending on whom you ask. The repair people naturally advise you to have the chip repaired. Most experts advise having minor rock chips repaired immediately, before they have a chance to spread. But if the chip blocks your line of sight or if it’s located near any edge, replacement is probably the safer option. Although some shops claim to successfully repair extensive cracks, the reliability of the glass is compromised and your safety is at risk.
Until You Can Replace Your Windshield, Do This.
If the crack disrupts your vision while driving, experts warn that you shouldn’t drive your car. The same thing applies if the crack is longer than 12 inches or if the star is larger in diameter than about an inch. Besides the safety risk, you can also get a traffic ticket for driving with a cracked windshield. It’s also important to keep dirt out of the crack or chip. Place some clear packing tape over it, but only if it isn’t disruptive to your vision.
Keep the windshield out of the sun as well, as ultraviolet light can discolor the cracked area, but more important, heating up the already-weakened glass can cause it to shatter, especially if you crank up the AC or defroster while the windshield is hot. Finally, don’t get your car washed until the replacement is complete.
Emission Time in Sandy and Salt Lake City offers windshield repair along with DMV inspections and renewal stickers on the spot. Call or stop by for a price quote today, before your cracked windshield gets you into hot water.