Say your windshield has a crack or chip in it. You procrastinate, not wanting to have to deal with the inconvenience of getting it handled.
This reluctance is a mistake. You might be surprised by how quickly it can be fixed.
30 to 60 Minutes
Most mobile glass professionals can have your car's windshield replaced in half an hour to an hour. That's kind of incredible, isn't it? What's even more incredible is what happens when you consider everything they do in that short amount of time:
- Remove all windshield trim and the old windshield (whole or in pieces)
- Clean/vacuum all debris and broken glass from your interior
- Clean and prepare the mounting surface for the new glass
- Precisely mount the new glass
- Replace all interior and exterior trim
- Remount the rear view mirror, if applicable
These techs are pros. Best of all, most of them, if they're mobile, come to you.
It's important to note too that, after your new windshield has been installed, you don't want to drive immediately. Let the sealant set up for a few hours. And don't visit a car wash for at least 24 hours, or your new windshield may develop a leak, which could do a lot of damage.
New vehicles come with lots of sensors and doohickeys nowadays, and many of them depend on your windshield's alignment and integrity to work properly. Some of these devices include:
- Rain sensors
- Adaptive cruise and lane-keeping systems
- Ambient light sensors
- Vehicle monitoring cameras
- Rearview mirror systems and cameras
It's important to keep your windshield in good condition so that these systems can work properly. Many of them are part of your car's safety systems, which is an even more important reason to keep them up to snuff.
When to Repair and When to Replace
How do you know when a crack or chip is small enough to repair, and when is it big enough to merit replacement of the whole windshield?
The good news is that 80% to 85% of windshield cracks and chips can be repaired. The technician knows best, but usually, if a crack is less than three inches long, it is repairable. Some cracks up to six inches long are also repairable, but it depends.
As far as chips are concerned, if they're not too deep, they can be filled and never noticed again in most cases.
How Quickly Does a Crack Spread Through the Glass?
This migration is dependent on the weather. If your car sits outside a lot, you'll notice a bigger difference because it's the extreme temperature swings that cause cracks to enlarge in the glass.
In fact, as soon as your windshield sustains an injury, that chip or crack begins to spread instantly, if microscopically. Therefore, to answer this question properly, we would say that you don't have much time.
The general rule of thumb about repairing windshields is to get it done sooner rather than later. Most windshields are repairable, but even if it needs to be replaced, it won't take long - likely less than one hour.