You’re driving down the freeway when the truck in front of you kicks a rock up at your windshield. The “ping” from the hit was loud enough to wake a corpse from the grave. And it was powerful enough to leave a nice crack in your windshield.
Windshields are different from the side windows in your vehicle. If someone wants to break into your car, they can shatter the passenger window, unlock the doors, and take what they want. But it’s not as easy to shatter a windshield.
Windshields have three layers: glass, rubber lamination, and more glass. The rubber lamination layer is designed to keep the glass stable, and is thick enough to hold the two glass pieces together even under high pressure.
In most cases, cracks and chips affect the top layer of the windshield. While rare, it is possible for objects to pierce the lamination layer of the windshield or even the second layer of glass. If this happens, you’ll probably need to replace your windshield.
What if you can’t get the crack repaired right away? Here are four ways to stop the crack from spreading.
1. Seal It
Cracks and chips can easily spread if they’re left unprotected. Sealing the crack will buy you some time until you can get it repaired by a professional. The seal will keep dirt and debris from accumulating in the chip, which could make it worse over time.
Sealant tapes are great for protection, but you’ll need to make sure that it doesn’t block your view while you’re driving.
If the tape would interfere with your view, try using clear nail polish.
2. Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes
A sudden, extreme change in temperature can cause cracks to spread.
In the spring and summer, avoid washing your car with cold water. If you must wash your car, let your windshield cool down in the shade first. Also, avoid blasting the air conditioner on hot days. The cold interior mixed with the hot exterior is a recipe for disaster.
3. Be Gentle
Be gentle when driving and when touching your windshield. If there’s ice or snow on your windshield, don’t press too hard when clearing it off. Scrapers can easily put too much pressure on the window and stress the fracture even more. It may even cause the entire windshield to shatter.
It’s also important to be gentle when cleaning your windshield, especially if there’s a lot of stuck-on dirt and debris near the fracture. Rubbing too hard on that stubborn spot may cause the windshield to buckle.
When driving, try to avoid sudden jolts and steer clear of potholes. The impact may make the crack worse. Don’t slam your car door either, as it can have the same effect.
4. Call in a Professional
The only surefire way to stop a crack from spreading is to call in a professional to repair the glass.
Keep in mind that these tips are only meant to help stop the crack from spreading until you get the windshield repaired. Waiting too long to repair the crack will only make the problem worse, and could get you a ticket. If the crack is preventing you from seeing clearly, don’t drive the vehicle until you can get it repaired. Otherwise, you will be putting yourself and others at risk of an accident.
Calling a professional as soon as possible can also save you money. In many cases, chips and small cracks can be repaired. But if you wait too long and the crack or chip spreads, you run the risk of having to replace your windshield. Do yourself a favor and get the crack repaired ASAP.