If you've recently invested in a new windshield for your automobile, you want to make it last as long as possible. Road debris, heat, and other factors can cause it to crack, leaving you with yet another bill for an auto glass replacement. What if there were a few simple things you could do to protect your investment and make it last longer? Here are three easy ways to help prevent your new or existing windshield from needing to be replaced.
Repair Small Chips and Cracks Right Away
It's not uncommon to get small chips in your windshield, and sometimes they're so small you can't even see them. One of the reasons it may not be readily noticeable is because the glass is several layers thick, and the chip could be on the outside surface where it's invisible to the naked eye.
For this reason, it's a good idea to do a regular check of your windshield on the outside and on the inside. How often you inspect it will depend on how much use your vehicle gets, but once a week is a good goal to shoot for.
If you do happen to notice a small chip or crack, the good news is that it can often be fixed without replacing it. It used to be that most large dings meant an immediate replacement. But that's not always the case these days. Sometimes cracks as long as 18 inches can be repaired, depending on a few factors.
There are different types of windshield cracks, and they even have names that range from the bulls-eye (that's perfectly round) to the star-break (the chip with small cracks radiating from the center). These are generally repairable, as long as they are addressed early on.
Cracks that spread to over 18 inches, are located on the inside of the windshield, extend to the rain sensor within the glass, and chips that turn into multiple cracks usually require a replacement.
Protect From the Heat
Exposure to heat is one of the best ways to weaken the integrity of your windshield. But this is especially true if there is an existing weakness, like a tiny crack or chip. That's why it's so important to examine your windshield regularly for these weak spots.
When the outside temperature is only 80 degrees, the inside of your car can skyrocket over 100 pretty fast. And when your windshield has even a small crack, the expansion caused by the heat can make it spread. Turning on the AC too quickly, especially if it blows directly on the glass, compounds the issue.
The best way to protect your new windshield is to reduce the rapid change in temperature. By doing things like parking in the shade, keeping your windows cracked, and allowing the car to cool down a little before blasting the AC can prolong your investment.
Add a Layer of Protective Film
Your windshield is several layers thick and those layers are additionally laminated. This is done for safety reasons so that if the glass breaks, it doesn't shatter into a million pieces right into your lap as you're driving.
While this is a great feature, technology has allowed manufacturers to design a new kind of plastic film that, when applied correctly to your windshield, makes it even stronger. Some of them claim that an impact hard enough to shatter regular glass will leave nothing bigger than a pinhole on protected windshields.
Going one step further, many films provide UV protection as well. This translates to the interior of your car staying cooler, which can help maintain the structural integrity of the glass.
Windshields themselves are supposed to contribute around 20% to your car's overall integrity. High integrity means your car will stand up well under pressure. In other words, a strong windshield that properly maintains the integrity of the vehicle will provide better protection in case of an accident. So you want the strongest windshield you can get in order for you and your passengers to have maximum safety.
There are many different brands available, so speak with a windshield expert about which one is best for your car.