No one wants a rock to hit their windshield. Unfortunately, though, auto glass damage caused by road debris is fairly common. Rocks may fly out of trucks carrying gravel or construction debris, and debris on a major roadway can easily be kicked up when vehicles drive over it. If you routinely drive on dirt roads, your own tires can even kick up small rocks, and those pebbles can easily chip or crack your windshield.
Should you ever find yourself with a rock-chipped windshield, you need to know how to handle the situation, regardless of how the damage occurred.
Read on to learn why it’s imperative that you get a damaged windshield fixed as promptly as possible and how to manage the windshield repair process.
Don't Ignore the Damage
If you have a small chip or crack in your windshield, you may think you can leave it be and continue driving around. But that couldn't be further from the truth because a small chip or budding crack in your auto glass can grow quickly if you ignore it.
Vibrations from driving can encourage the chip to transform into a large crack, as can outdoor temperature fluctuations, which cause your windshield to expand and contract. Driving quickly over speedbumps, potholes, and bumps in the road can also prompt a minor chip to immediately grow into one or more cracks.
In Minnesota, it’s illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, so if you fail to get a minor chip or crack repaired, you put yourself at risk for a citation, and potentially, a pricey ticket. What’s more, driving with a damaged windshield can put your safety at risk.
Your windshield provides structural support for your vehicle, but to provide that support, it must be fully intact. Should you be involved in a collision while your windshield still has a chip or crack, the glass will be much more prone to complete failure. And if the glass fails, it cannot provide a barrier for your airbags, so they may inflate outward rather than inward, leaving you with very little protection.
Assess the Damage
After a rock hits your windshield, you’ll want to take a look at your windshield when it’s safe to do so. Visually assess the damaged area and try to figure out how severe the damage is.
Generally speaking, if the glass has a chip or crack that is smaller than six inches, your windshield can be repaired. If the crack is larger than six inches, your windshield probably needs to be replaced.
Determine If You’ll Use Insurance to Help Pay for Repairs
If you carry comprehensive auto insurance, your policy should provide coverage for auto glass damage caused by what insurers call “Acts of God.” So if a rock flew up out of nowhere and left a chip or crack in your windshield, that should be covered. However, your deductible will determine whether or not you can or should use your insurance to help pay for the repairs.
If you only need a minor crack or rock chip repair, it probably won’t make sense to use your insurance since the cost of the repair will likely be far less than your deductible. But if you need a windshield replacement, and its cost will exceed your deductible, it’s probably in your best interest to file a claim.
For more information, check out What Every Driver Should Know About Insurance Claims for Auto Glass Repairs.
Get a Windshield Repair or Replacement Estimate
If you’re unsure whether the damage to your windshield calls for repairs or a complete replacement, call a reputable auto glass repair shop for expert advice. You’ll likely need to bring your vehicle in for a quick assessment, so the repair technicians can evaluate the chip or crack and determine what needs to be done.
Ask for an estimate for the windshield repair or replacement, so you can give that estimate to your insurance company if you’ll be filing a claim. Ideally, you’ll want to get estimates from at least three shops to compare costs so you don’t pay more than necessary. If you won’t be using insurance, it’s still a good idea to get estimates to make sure you’re getting quoted a reasonable price.
Once you’ve decided on an auto glass repair shop, it’s time to schedule your service appointment. This should be done as quickly as possible to prevent more damage from occurring.
Although there are kits you can buy to repair a chip or crack in your car's windshield at home, these kits are often low quality and do not provide a long-lasting or effective repair. It’s also important to note that if your vehicle is still under warranty, performing your own auto glass repairs will likely void that coverage.
When you have a reputable auto glass repair shop handle the job, not only do you get a professional-quality repair but you also get a workmanship warranty. That warranty guarantees the chip or crack will not spread after it’s been repaired. It also guarantees proper windshield installation in the event you need a complete replacement.
To learn more about how these guarantees work, check out Understanding Auto Glass Repair Warranties: What You Need to Know.
Need Windshield Chip Repairs in the Twin Cities?
Do you have a chip in your windshield that needs to be repaired? If so, our team at Only 1 Auto Glass would love to help you out! We specialize in full-service auto glass repair and replacement for all makes and models of vehicles, as well as ADAS recalibration for newer-model automobiles with advanced safety systems.
To get a repair quote or learn more about our services, give us a call today at 651-789-1111. You can also request a free estimate online or message us with any questions, and a member of our team will get in touch.