If you have a chip or crack in your windshield, you know that it's important to get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid the crack or chip growing larger and even earning you a traffic citation. Attending to your damaged windshield sooner rather than later also makes it more likely that your auto glass can be repaired, rather than the more costly option of replacing the glass.
When it makes sense to repair rather than replace your windshield
Auto glass repairs are made with a special clear resin that will restore the windshield's strength. However, repair isn't always a viable option when you have a damaged windshield. A number of factors come into play. A good candidate for repair vs. replacement needs to fall within the following parameters.
1. A small crack or chip. Repair is only safe when the damage is small, such as a chip from a stone or a tiny crack. A crack that extends across the majority of your windshield compromises the integrity of the glass and necessitates replacement rather than repair. (This is a good reason for getting your glass fixed quickly, so that the damage doesn't spread.)
2. Damage away from the perimeter of the auto glass. Repair is only possible when the damage is well away from the edges of the windshield. If your glass is chipped or broken around the edges, it will have to be replaced.
3. Damage that's not at the driver's eye level. While the resin used to repair auto glass is strong and clear, it can distort the light entering the windshield ever so slightly. This is only a problem if the repair would be located within the driver's immediate sight line.
4. Your windshield hasn't been repaired previously in the same location. Multiple repairs in the same general location can weaken the windshield.
5. The chip doesn't go all the way through the glass. Most chips only affect the outer layer of glass and can, thus, be repaired safely. However, if the chip goes all the way through all layers of glass, you'll need to have the windshield replaced.
Knowing when your auto glass can be repaired rather than having to be replaced can save you a considerable amount of money. Ask an auto glass technician at a company like Allstate Glass about repair when the crack or chip is small, it's in the center of the glass and it's not in the driver's sight line.