Windshield damage is common, even for drivers who take extra precautions and keep a safe distance from trucks and other dangerous vehicles. While many forms of windshield damage are repairable, failing to deal with damage to your windshield can eventually make issues too severe to fix. Unfortunately, these leave you with no choice except to replace the glass.
If you've been living with damage to your windshield for a while, you may already be beyond the point of no return. Even worse, continuing to drive with your damaged glass can be dangerous. Before you start your next trip, check if you recognize any of these three signs that you may need a windshield replacement.
1. Your Glass Damage Is Expanding
One of the main reasons you should avoid ignoring the damage to your windshield is the potential for that damage to spread. Small chips or cracks create a vulnerability in the glass. Since temperature changes can cause your glass to expand and contract, these small weak spots can ultimately allow for much more severe damage.
Once you notice existing damage beginning to expand, you may already be too late to perform repairs. Cracks can spread surprisingly quickly; an expanding crack may fill your entire windshield before you realize it. If you can see damage to your windshield growing daily, it's probably time to schedule a glass replacement.
2. You Have Edge-to-Edge Damage
Modern repair techniques allow you to correct even significant damage to your windshield, but some issues are too large to fix. Among the most dangerous issues are cracks that spread from the edge of the glass. These cracks typically only occur following severe impacts or when you leave a small chip or crack unrepaired for too long.
If you have edge cracks on your windshield, you'll need a professional to evaluate them. Since these cracks can significantly weaken your windshield, you can typically only repair small or minor ones. In most cases, replacing your windshield will be the safest option. If a crack extends completely from one edge to another, you will always need a new windshield.
3. You Already Have Severe Pitting
Glass is an incredibly strong and scratch-resistant material. Daily abuse usually won't be enough to affect the clarity of your windshield, but small blemishes and pits will develop over time. These issues are rarely an issue until they cover most of the glass. Once the pitting on your windshield is severe enough, it may become difficult to see, especially in direct sunlight.
While pitting doesn't affect the integrity of your glass, it does impact your ability to see clearly. Likewise, glass repairs do not leave an optically perfect result. While these minor distortions may not be a big issue on glass in good shape, they can make it even harder to see through severely pitted glass. If your windshield is in this condition, replacement may be better than repair.