Windshield Chips - How Do I Know If It Will Spread or Crack?

The Simple Answer – “No one knows.” That’s probably not what you want to hear. Glass is one of those things that is hard to read. But here is some information that can help you determine what the chances could be and what to do about it.


When A Rock Chips Your Windshield… it creates a small pit, usually with small “legs” that radiate from the center of the break creating a “Star” break. Sometimes the legs can be partially encircled by a crescent shaped “bullseye” forming a “Combination” type break. Since your vehicle’s windshield is made of two pieces of glass with a piece of plastic PVB sandwiched in between, the stone rarely ever shatters the glass completely. This makes a repair possible.


Tiny Legs Can Be Like Time Bombs. Some people can have chips that go for years without ever spreading and others can have a chip spread within seconds after it is formed. Therefore, it can be a gamble to not repair a chip and just see what happens. However, chances are actually quite good that it will indeed spread in time. Between road vibration, water, dirt, and temperature changes that happen in the hot summer and freezing winter, small legs in a rock chip can easily begin to spread across the windshield; forcing you to spend hundreds of dollars to replace it.


Even if your insurance will pay to replace the windshield, why repair a chip even if it costs you some money? Sounds like an odd question. But in our experience there are some real world reasons to consider. For one, getting a windshield replaced can take hours depending on the installation company used. But more importantly, incorrect installation methods can actually cause OTHER DAMAGE. Paint can be scratched. Also, water can leak past the urethane used to glue your windshield into place. All of this can actually lead to severe rust forming behind the seal of your windshield glass. (In fact, we’ve seen metal frames which the glass rests on severely rusted due to this type of damage; to the point it required welding, priming and painting. Expensive!) It is usually a good idea to avoid replacing windshield glass if possible since this can reduce collateral damage that commonly occurs with installation of a new glass.


Benefits of Repairing Windshield Rock Chips


  • Reduce glare from unfixed chips.

  • Avoid cracks spreading.

  • Avoid replacing your entire windshield

  • Avoid collateral damage that can come with replacement

  • Don’t lose your vehicle for hours while it’s in the shop.

  • Pass state safety inspections.

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