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Windshield Chip Repairs

Shrinivas Kanade
You are doing 80 on a highway and suddenly, something hits the windshield of your car. You can see that your windshield has a small crack in it, right in your line of sight. Know how to repair it, instead of windshield replacement to save some money.
Roads are littered with debris which could be chips of rocks or bits of gravel. A car passing over any of them could set it flying, and turn it into a hazard for the other vehicles on the road.
It is common for cars, traveling on the highway, to get their windshields damaged due to flying debris. A storm, tornado or hurricane, can also set branches, small rock, loose debris flying and hailstones.
The damage may occur in different shapes and sizes: from tiny chips to a cobweb with its radiating arms reminding you of branches of a lightening strike. GIven further are a few examples of the type of damage that a windshield may sustain.
  • Bull's Eye: The Impact of the flying object breaks the windshield in a circular pattern surrounding the chip.
  • Star Shape: The damaged area has many cracks radiating all round the chip, creating a star-like shape.
  • Long Cracks: This involves cracks that run in the form of long lines.
  • Combination BreakDamage is a combination of two or more mentioned types.

How to Restore a Wounded Windshield

A windshield replacement is costlier than repairing it. Conducting a stone chipped windshield repair before the cracks are filled with grit, is of utmost importance. During this operation, the chip is drilled and the cracks are vacuumed. A resin compound is injected with a syringe in the chip and the cracks. The resin replaces the air trapped in the cracks.
It is then cured by ultraviolet light to harden it into a molecular bond that restores the integrity of the windshield. Extra resin is scraped away and the treated area is polished, till it merges with the glass around it.
Refractive characteristics or the opacity of the resin is the same as that of the windshield. Restoring strength and preventing new cracks from forming in the treated area, is the goal of the repairs undertaken. A stone chip repair that costs below $100, is enough to restore the windshield to its usual gloss.

Resins for Chips and Pits

Resins are available in the form of Acrylic as well as Crystalene resins. Acrylic resins contains acid which is carcinogenic, and the chips that are treated with it turn yellow with the time.
Crystalene resin-treated chips do not yellow with age. It contains no acid and is known and preferred for its high optical clarity. Crystalene resins used to repair cracks and pits, are also available as ultra-low viscosity, low viscosity and high viscosity resins.

Chip Repair Kit

Single windshield chip repair kits contain enough resin to allow multiple chip repairs. A disposable kit is also available to use. Syringe-style kits are disposable after the first use, whereas bridge-style kits can be reused and refilled. The latter type is mostly preferred by professionals in the repairing business.
It is illegal to drive with a damaged windshield, as it distorts or obstructs the driver's view. An unattended crack keeps on spreading because of the vibrations set in it and the force exerted by the wind when the car is moving, undermining its strength.
The windshield also acts as one of the supports for the roof of the car. It absorbs lot of pressure and stress during a car roll-over accident and deployment of an airbag.
During an automobile crash, the airbags are filled with air to stop the passengers from colliding with the steering wheel or the dashboard and hurting himself. Eventually, the airbag and the passenger comes to rest against the windshield, thereby preventing the situation from getting worse.
To ensure the safety of the passengers in the automobile, a rock chip in your windshield should be attended to, before it is too late. Assess the damage, whenever it happens and go for a good repairman.