Scratches, chips, and cracks in your windshield can ruin your car’s appearance, cause accidents, and cost you a small fortune to repair or replace.
While automotive glass is durable, it is far from indestructible. There are things you can do to help prevent damage to your windshield.
Just follow the tips below!
Steps You Can Take Now to Safeguard Your Car’s Windshield
Practice Preventive Maintenance And Care.
Few people spend any time thinking about the best way to care for and maintain their car’s windshield. That is, until a completely preventable accident costs them the time and money to repair or replace it! Instead of suffering these costs and inconveniences, these quick and easy steps can help you keep your windshield damage free.
- Be aware of where you are parking. You can avoid a lot of potential damage to your windshield by more carefully choosing where you park. If possible, park indoors. If that is not an option, make a point to avoid spaces under overhanging branches or trees with hard nuts. Either may fall and damage your car.
- Temperature extremes affect glass. Both hot and cold weather can cause your windshield to crack. In hot weather roll down your windows a little to allow hot air to escape, especially if you plan to park for an extended period of time. During the colder months consider using a car cover to prevent ice and snow from coming into direct contact with the glass. Never immediately blast the A/C or heater on full, but let your car warm or cool gradually.
- Wash your windows the right way. Harsh cleansers and improper car washing technique can cause damage to the glass, and especially to any after-market tinting. Never use regular glass cleaner meant for cleaning your home windows. These cleaners often contain ammonia which can damage your windshield’s protective coating and can cause plastic or vinyl to crack. Avoid using paper towels or a sponge and opt instead for a soft washcloth.
- Inspect and maintain your wiper blades. Wipers wear out, and it is not only dangerous to ride with poor performing windshield wipers but doing so can also damage your car. Poor performing blades can place uneven amounts of pressure on the glass, which can cause it to break. And cheap wipers have metal that can be exposed, causing scratches; not only will quality wipers last longer, but they also fail less spectacularly than cheap wipers.
Control Your Driving.
Changing the way you drive can also help keep your windshield free of chips and cracks. Here are a few tips to use when you are on the road.
- Keep your distance from vehicles in front of you. This is especially important when you are traveling behind a truck without mud flaps. A multi-wheeled, heavy truck is more likely to fling pebbles from the road into your windshield. At highway speeds, you should say at least 6 to 7 car lengths behind any vehicle, and you increase this distance if conditions aren’t perfect.
- Reduce speeds and increase your distance from other cars on non-paved roads or during road construction. When you drive on roads with loose gravel, there is a much higher chance of causing windshield damage. Avoid traveling at a pace where you are kicking up any debris from the road. This may mean you have to drive below the speed limit. That is okay as long as you are not impeding traffic.
- Don’t drive behind construction or road maintenance vehicles. These vehicles often carry dirt, sand, salt, and rocks which can fly off the trucks and hit your car even at lower speeds. Try to change lanes, or if that is not possible, increase your following distance significantly. It is particularly important to never drive behind vehicles which are salting or sanding the roadway during the winter.
What should you do when you notice damage to your windshield?
If you notice a chip or small crack in your windshield, it is essential that you get it fixed as soon as possible. The sooner you repair any damage, the less likely you will need to replace your entire windshield (and replacing a windshield can be very expensive). While you are waiting to bring in your car, there are some things you can do to help protect the damage to your windshield from getting worse.
- Avoid slamming your car door. As funny as it may sound, you can cause more damage to the glass if you are too rough when you get in and out of your car. Closing the door forcefully may cause cracks to grow or even your windshield to shatter.
- For the same reason, avoid potholes, especially when traveling at speed. If you can safely, slow down or move to avoid them. The jolt from hitting a pothole can travel from the tire to the windshield, making even tiny dings worse.
- Keep water and dirt out of cracks and chips. If you are unable to get to the repair shop immediately, it is a good idea to use clear masking tape to cover the windshield damage. Forget about washing your car and try to park your car indoors if possible. If you can’t, use a car cover to protect from a sudden downpour.
While saving a few dollars by taking care of a small chip or minor crack in your windshield by yourself is tempting, it is always better to let a professional handle it for you. With many insurance policies, these repairs are covered at no extra cost (the companies know it’s cheaper to fix a small problem than it is to replace an entire windshield!). Check with your provider before you schedule the repair – if you have to pay a deductible or if your rates will increase, it may be cheaper to go directly to the repair shop than to go through your insurance.