Few parts of a car face as much exposure to environmental hazards as the windshield. While auto manufacturers have made impressive strides in terms of the strength and durability of window glass, damage may still occur, especially when traveling at high speeds. Even a tiny pebble can result in a nasty crack when thrown up by the wheels of a vehicle in front of you.
Fortunately, many forms of windshield damage can be repaired by a trained professional. Yet many car owners fail to act quickly enough to catch the problem in its early stages. Such hesitation often stems from misunderstandings about the nature of windshield damage. This article takes a closer look at three useful - and interesting - things to know about windshields.
1. Damaged Windshield Glass Is Much Weaker
Many people hesitate to deal with cracked or chipped window glass because they don't realize the true ramifications of such damage. They simply imagine that such damage represents a cosmetic blemish and nothing more. Yet even relatively minor forms of damage can and will grow more severe if not attended to quickly enough.
More importantly, even that minor damage can greatly affect the structural integrity of a car. A damaged windshield loses a lot of its strength, which leaves your windshield highly susceptible to shattering. Even potholes and other relatively minor roadways stresses can lead to serious breakage.
A damaged windshield also makes you much more vulnerable in the event that your car rolls over. An undamaged windshield helps to provide as much as 60 percent of the ability of your roof to resist crushing forces. A damaged windshield, by contrast, may decrease your roof's crush strength.
2. Cracks Grow More Quickly in Hot Temperatures
Bumps and shocks aren't the only things that can cause windshield damage to grow worse. Weather conditions can also exacerbate even minor forms of damage. Extreme heat poses the greatest risk. In fact, even a relatively innocuous chip can turn into an irreparable crack within minutes when exposed to brutal summertime conditions.
As sunshine and heat move into your car, they cause cabin pressure to rise. This pressure increases the outward force being exerted on your windshield. Normally, a windshield can flex and expand in response to such pressure. Yet a cracked windshield simply doesn't have the necessary internal strength. Instead, any cracks or other weaknesses will rapidly grow worse.
Hot weather poses such a serious threat that many crack repair companies alter their hours when summer rolls around. That way, customers have the option of having repairs conducted before afternoon heat increases to the point that it causes further damage.
3. Companies Can Repair Even Long Cracks
Once upon a time, windshield repair techniques had distinct limitations in terms of crack length. Repair companies commonly recommended installing a replacement windshield to deal with cracks greater than six inches in length. Fortunately, the crack repair process has evolved greatly since those days.
Certain techniques now allow companies to safely repair cracks up to a whopping 24 inches in length. Of course, certain caveats exist. First, if your crack has been infiltrated by dirt or debris, it may not be possible to repair it. Likewise, compound cracks - those with multiple cracks extending from a single impact point - may not be eligible for repair if any of the cracks has a length greater than 6 inches.
The world of windshield crack repair continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. For more information about the kinds of damage that repair companies can fix, please contact the auto glass experts at Perfection Auto Glass.