Windshield Replacement Can Save Lives


Many car owners are happy to drive around with stone chips or even cracks in the windshield. They do not realize how dangerous it is. Windshield replacement could save your life.

It might seem like no more than a window to give a clear view of the road and keep the weather off your face. However the windshield is essential to the structural integrity of any modern vehicle. In the event a car rolls over, strong glass helps maintain the structure of the cabin. If it shatters or pops out, the roof may crumple. That reduces your chance of surviving without head or neck injury.

Sometimes people fear such a small fracture will cost too much to repair. It is another one of dozens of nagging details that demand time and money. We have too many of those and tend to ignore the small problems until they become big ones, or until it is too late. A damaged windshield is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Fortunately the cost of windshield replacement may be much less than expected. In fact it may cost the car owner nothing at all.

Indeed new glass is expensive: $200 or $300 depending on the car model. Insurance companies realise a windshield costs much more once it is broken. They also know how important this problem is, and how good glass can prevent a serious injury. That would mean a far more expensive claim than simple repairs.

For that reason, many companies will happily waive the deductible if the existing windshield can be repaired. So you may be able to have that chip or crack fixed without paying anything at all.

I discovered how easy it is last week when I went for a quick oil change. I had driven around with a chip in my windshield for several years. I reasoned that since it had not caused any cracks that it was not serious. It was 10:00 on a weekday morning, the shop was empty and the whole crew was ready to work on my car. The mechanic pointed out that they could fix the chip in 10 minutes with the other work underway.

Here is the easy part: the repair shop will contact your insurance company for you. You will not have to prepare ahead, phone anyone or fill out any paperwork. Just take your car to the glass company. If you wish, go to more than one garage and ask for price quotes. If the chip is small it may cost nothing at all.

When the garage contacts your insurance company, the windshield specialist will probably ask to speak to you. They will ask you to describe the damage and tell them when the incident occurred. If you are like me, the chip happened an embarrassingly long time ago. You might not remember and have to make a best guess. However if that is the worst part of the ordeal, we are silly to wait so long.

The mechanic had been overly optimistic about how little time it would take. Actually the procedure required more than 20 minutes. The repair must be done carefully because a sloppy job can cause the glass to crack. The repairer should clean the surface thoroughly and wear gloves to keep skin oil off the glass. If you do not see this happening, complain and ask to have it done properly. Then primer and resin must be applied and all air must be sucked out of the blemish.

Half an hour may be time well spent preventing a more costly repair, perhaps even a serious injury. However whether the damage calls for a chip fix or windshield replacement, do not put it off. This is not a lesson anyone should learn the hard way.

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