07 July 2023
What Should I Do When My Windscreen Gets Cracked?

Be prepared for the day WHEN it happens, not IF.

You’re driving along, just minding your own business and probably rocking out to your favourite tunes in your vehicle when suddenly, a loud “CRACK!” is heard and you see the effect of “stone meets windscreen at high velocity.” The sinking feeling in your chest and gut is palpable. Your mind starts racing.

“OH MY GAWD!!! My windscreen is cracked! What do I do now?” Well, fret not and read on.

Chipped vs. Cracked

In the best-case scenario, your vehicle’s windscreen may merely be chipped. In this case, count yourself lucky for in most instances, it can be repaired instead of needing to replace the entire glass panel. However, there are caveats.

First, the chip needs to be located at least 7cm from the edge of the windscreen. Next, if the chip is in the driver’s line of sight, it needs to be 10mm or less in size to be deemed repairable. Otherwise, chips of up to 25mm may be repairable if they’re not in the driver’s line of sight. All of this can be professionally assessed.

Once ascertained that the chip can indeed be repaired, the process starts with a potentially gut-wrenching but professionally executed micro-drilling of the chip in preparation for the next step.

Next, a special resin is injected into the drilled chip, and allowed to cure over a short period of time.

The repaired chip will then be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the glass on the windscreen and life can proceed as normal. So, the question then is when should a chipped windscreen ideally be repaired? The answer is “as soon as possible.”

While a vehicle is in motion, the windscreen can and does flex in minute amounts, and this flex can cause an unattended chip to expand further and crack, thereby rendering repair out of the equation and replacement a necessity.

Replacement Windscreens

Assuming that the windscreen has been professionally assessed to require a replacement, it is now time to remove the old windscreen. This requires the trim around the glass to be removed, and the polyurethane adhesive beneath the glass to be carefully and methodically cut using specialised tools. Then, the old cracked windscreen can be removed.

cutting away the polyurethane adhesive

Next, before the new windscreen goes on, some clean-up and prep work to the frame and dashboard needs to be undertaken. Any untreated corrosion or debris on the frame where the glass will sit will eventually allow water to seep through, so all of this needs to be thoroughly addressed at this stage.

clean-up and prep work underway

A new layer of polyurethane adhesive is then laid down on the frame and the new windscreen is then carefully lifted and offered up to the vehicle. Once the installation is deemed correct, any previously-removed trim around the frame is reinstalled.

After letting it sit for a while for the adhesive to set, the windscreen is then tested for water-tightness, after which, it can be driven away. However, it will take a while longer for the adhesive to fully cure, so avoid washing the vehicle for a couple of days.

windscreen installation

Original vs. Aftermarket Windscreens

Not all windscreens are created equal. Original windscreens can cost a pretty penny, while aftermarket windscreens may offer a more cost-effective option, possibly with the omission of a feature or two that the original had. Which option to go for will primarily come down to budget.

If your insurance policy has windscreen-replacement coverage, then the verbiage of the policy needs to be studied as to whether original replacements can be done or aftermarket windscreens are specified. If an out-of-pocket payment for the entire cost of the replacement windscreen is needed, then the aftermarket option may be more attractive depending on the situation.

Got some windscreen issues? AutoApp can help to take the hassle out of the process of windscreen repairs and replacements. Our experienced team will work with you and our panel of windscreen experts to assess the damage, study your vehicle’s insurance policy coverage and recommend the best option(s) available.

Better yet, you don’t have to leave home to get the fix done, since our Service Ambassadors will pick up your vehicle, bring it to get the repair or replacement done, and return it to you. So you can sit back, relax, and let us do the work.

Drop us a message to get the hassle-free process started!

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