All it takes is one small chip in the windshield before it becomes a full-fledged crack. Small yes, but you want to be safe. Here’s how to prevent a windshield crack from interfering with your safety.
1. Decide if it needs immediate attention
First, where’s the crack located? Is it off to the side or is it obscuring your view? If it interferes with your ability to see the road, you should deal with even a small crack immediately by taking your car to the repair shop. However, if it’s not really impairing your ability to see the road, grab a ruler.
2. Determine whether it needs repaired or replaced
If the crack is less than 12 inches long, or the chip is smaller than the size of a quarter, the integrity of the windshield hasn’t been compromised and probably doesn’t require replacing, according to Cars.com. But every crack or chip is different, and it’s important to consult an expert. The goal is to ensure a crack from getting bigger or in any way compromising safety.
3. Avoid dirt and debris
One of the biggest things to guard against is dirt. If dirt gets into the crack, it can make a simple repair much more complicated. But that doesn’t mean you should head for the car wash or reach for a bucket. If water seeps into the crack, what began as a small repair has now become a complete replacement. Instead, keep dirt and moisture away from the crack with a piece of clear packing tape, which is strong but won’t obscure your view.
4. Park indoors to avoid the sun
If possible, park the car inside, where it will be protected against rain as well as the sun, which can cause the windshield to heat up and allow the crack to expand. If you don’t have a garage, try parking in a shaded spot.
5. Avoid temperature extremes
Likewise, keep in mind that extreme cold is not good for the cracked windshield. Refrain from putting your air conditioner or defroster on high. If necessary, use the heater moderately to gradually defrost the windows.
6. Drive carefully
Another way to keep the crack from getting larger is to drive with extra caution. That means steering clear of potholes and staying away from rough roads. Jostling the car is the last thing that you need when driving with a crack, and you also want to be careful when getting in and out of the car and avoid slamming the doors or the trunk.
Above all, keep safety in mind at all times; the sooner you get the windshield in for replacement or repair, the better. Beyond repairing a cracked windshield, performing regular car maintenance is key to sustaining your car in the long term. Check out the ultimate car maintenance schedule and keep your ride up to date.