Windshields are specifically designed to uphold the structural integrity of a vehicle. In fact, the windshield maintains up to 60% of the cabin’s structure during a rollover. However, minor damage will inevitably occur over time. Whether your windshield was impacted by rocks, hail, or road debris, it’s crucial that you seek the opinion of a professional as soon as possible. Any small crack or chip can grow rapidly, turning an inexpensive repair into a costly replacement.
At Auto Beauty Specialists, we’ve been completing a wide variety of auto repairs for over 55 years. Our technicians are highly skilled, and they’ve seen it all. When you bring your vehicle to our Olivette, MO auto repair shop, you can be confident that we’ll restore your car to its pristine condition.
Components and Purpose of a Windshield
Most modern-day windshields contain two layers of glass that encompass an inner automotive safety glass called the lamination. The inner sheet of glass serves to hold the two outer layers together in the event of an accident. As a result, in everyday situations like minor impactions, windshields typically crack or chip instead of caving in upon the driver.
Not only do windshields provide a clear view of the road ahead, but they also play an important role in the safety of drivers and passengers. Even a small crack or chip can compromise the structure of your windshield, and thus put your safety at risk. Additionally, both Missouri and Illinois have stringent policies regarding vehicles with windshield damage.
Factors Determining a Windshield Repair
A trained professional considers four major factors when determining whether your windshield can be repaired. Each situation is different, and some repairs are easier than others, so you can rest assured that the recommendations given are individualized to your vehicle. The crucial factors include:
Type of Damage
Many variations of cracks and chips exist, depending on how a windshield was impacted and the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. Some types of damage are easier to repair than others, so it takes a trained and experienced technician to identify the specific crack or chip and determine whether it can be mended. The main types include:
- Bullseye: Contains a center point of impact and circular rings surrounding the damage
- Partial bullseye/half moon: A semi-circular shape resulting from impact
- Star break: Cracks stemming from a central point of damage
- Crack chip/ding: A single crack less than one inch long
- Pit: A small piece of glass missing
- Crack: A distinct line spreading across the glass
Generally speaking, any chip that’s small enough to be entirely covered by a quarter can be repaired. Further, cracks less than about three inches in length can typically be mended. A windshield glass professional will be able to thoroughly explain your options.
The depth of windshield damage refers to how deep the point of impact penetrates into the glass. Most minor chips and cracks only affect the top layer of glass. However, those that reach the inner lamination require a full replacement, because the tools used to repair the glass only apply to the outer layer.
It’s likely that windshield repair will leave behind discoloration, a misty appearance, or unevenness. Therefore, if the damage is located in the driver’s direct line of vision, the repair would decrease the glass clarity and reduce visibility. Additionally, any crack or chip that’s located at the edge of the windshield or close to it compromises the strength and integrity of the glass. Plus, the bonding material that holds the glass to the vehicle’s outer frame will likely be weakened.
Many modern vehicles contain Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The programs include rain sensors, lane departure warning systems, and automatic braking systems. Even a near perfect repair to that area of the windshield can cause ADAS malfunctions, since they require complete clarity to perform properly.
When to Replace a Windshield
If the damage to your windshield does not fall under any of the minor categories, the glass will need to be replaced. Additionally, the longer you wait to fix a small crack or chip, the greater the chances of full replacement. A simple chip can lead to multiple cracks, and dust can accumulate within, making repairs difficult. Our expert technicians will determine the appropriate next steps depending on the severity of damage. Examples requiring windshield replacement include:
- Edge cracks and chips
- Damage over ADAS sensors
- Chips exceeding the diameter of a quarter
- Deep damage affecting the inner lamination layer
- Long cracks
- Damage to the inside of the windshield
- Multiple cracks
- Damage in the driver’s line of vision
Windshield Repair Process
The process to repair a single minor chip or crack only takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. However, if the damage has accumulated dust, a couple preliminary steps must be taken, such as utilizing a small vacuum cleaner. Once the area is clean, a clear, curable resin is injected into the damaged outer layer of glass to restore its integrity and improve its appearance. It’s either injected into a chip or along a crack.
The resin is then cured with a UV light and polished, leaving a smooth surface and preventing the crack or chip from causing further damage. Excess material is removed, and your windshield is damage-free! Our experts abide by Missouri and Illinois laws, thus ensuring your windshield is in proper working condition.
Windshield Replacement Process
When replacing a windshield, our technicians will use an aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) glass. The areas of your vehicle’s body surrounding the windshield, as well as the nearby interior, are first protected with canvas. Then, the original glass is cut from the vehicle’s frame and removed, as are the seals and glues.
Next, a primer is applied to the bare frame, and the new windshield glass is coated with a special adhesive sealer. Shortly thereafter, our professionals carefully fit and bond the new glass to your car’s frame. The replacement process typically takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes to finish, making your vehicle as good as new!
Contact the St. Louis Windshield Repair Experts
The highly trained technicians of Auto Beauty Specialists can handle all types of auto glass repairs and replacements, including windshields. We understand the urgency of windshield repair, so we will work to get you back on the road as quickly as possible. If your repair is going through insurance, we’ll handle everything for you, keeping your best interests in mind. We’re dedicated to each customer we serve – contact us today for a free estimate of our superior windshield repair and replacement services!