Simple Steps to Mitigate Windshield Damage
Few things are more frustrating than driving down the road and experiencing the all-too-familiar thwack! against your windshield. Loose pebbles kicked up from the road, dust falling from construction trucks and even errant insects can all wreak havoc on your car’s glass. Before you realize it, a small chip turns into a big problem, and insurance may not even cover the repair. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid replacing your whole windshield and a few key ways to protect your windshield while you’re out and about. It’s virtually impossible to prevent surface damage to your car’s glass surfaces, but the following options may save you some cash while you save up for a replacement.
1. Avoid using harsh chemicals and scrapers on cold mornings.
You may be tempted to scrape the ice off your car or dowse the windshield with cleaning fluid on cold mornings, but these efforts will only cause deeper issues down the road. Instead, leave yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be, and avoid using excessive force to scratch off the ice. Constantly scraping away at your windshield makes it easier for small rocks and other road hazards to find their way inside.
2. Cover up the windshield when it freezes.
Some car problems need attention from certified auto specialists, but most issues, especially cosmetic ones, can be prevented with proper attention to detail. For example, freezing air and excessive moisture can lead to frosty windshields. Over time, frost may weaken your car’s glass and lead to other major problems. To prevent frost from creeping into your vehicle, simply cover up the glass overnight with an old blanket or a couple of towels. You can also buy blankets designed specifically for this purpose, but towels work just as well for keeping out the chill.
3. Use tape or a repair kit to cover up small blemishes.
Major retailers and auto parts stores sell a windshield chip repair kit that helps mitigate the effects of small cracks in your windshield. The kits won’t help with large cracks or wet and dirty areas, but they do offer a good short-term solution if you can’t make it to the repair shop anytime soon. Follow the directions included in the kit to resolve minor surface chips. For an even quicker option, put a piece of clear tape over the chip to keep out moisture and dirt. In an article on Edmunds.com, windshield technician David Beck points out that chips caused by rocks, “are easier to repair when the damage has just occurred. Over time, rain washes dirt into the crack, making it harder to seal.” Sealing the crack with tape prevents debris from settling in.
4. Seek help from the professionals for moderate to large cracks.
Unfortunately, not all chips and cracks can be repaired using at-home kits or Scotch tape, and even the best drivers get struck by sand or falling debris from time to time. If your windshield’s chip looks more like a spider web or a long, thin crack, then it needs to be evaluated by a licensed glass repair service.