Windshield damage is unavoidable on any car that sees significant use. While there's plenty you can control when driving, there's not much you can do about errant pebbles or road debris. Since your windshield is a vast expanse of glass sitting across the front of your car, it's usually the area most likely to suffer these impacts.
Auto glass technicians can typically repair minor cracks and chips, but some damage may be too severe. In these cases, you'll usually need to replace your windshield. While this procedure is more expensive than a simple fix, it's not something you can ignore. Waiting to replace a windshield with significant cracks, chips, spiderwebbing, or other problems can be an invitation for disaster.
Why Your Windshield Matters
Modern unibody cars require precision engineering to protect their occupants in crashes. Unlike much older vehicles, most vehicles on the road today don't rely on a separate body and frame for their structural integrity. Instead, the car's structure and body are inseparable, and every panel on the vehicle has a role in the play in an accident.
Surprisingly, your windshield is no exception! The structural integrity of the passenger compartment relies on the windshield glass to provide support. Your cabin would consist of only a few thin structural elements connecting the roof and body without the windshield. The windshield adds extra structure and reinforcement, helping to keep the passenger compartment intact during an accident.
Any damage to your windshield can reduce the overall strength and integrity of the glass. In an accident, a weakened windshield may fail more quickly, reducing the level of protection it can provide for occupants. If your windshield's damage is severe enough to be beyond repair, it's a good bet that it will also affect its performance in an accident.
The Consequences of Waiting
The longer you wait to replace your windshield, the greater the likelihood you may have to put its reduced performance to the test. The damage to your windshield is also likely to worsen over time. Severe cracks or chips can expand due to temperature changes, going from relatively minor annoyances to spiderwebs that can entirely obscure your vision.
Additional damage to your windshield may also cause the existing problems to expand rapidly. For example, another impact can potentially crack a weakened portion of your windshield, creating a distracting and dangerous situation. Allowing your windshield to remain in this condition means putting yourself and other drivers on the road at risk.
Although replacing a windshield might not be cheap, it's essential to ensure your vehicle remains safe to drive. Waiting to perform a needed replacement creates an unnecessary and easily avoidable hazard. if you think you might need an auto safety glass replacement, reach out to an auto service right away.