It’s almost inevitable that at some point in your driving career, you will encounter a cracked or chipped windshield. When windshield damage happens, you might wonder if you can leave it, repair it yourself or if you should take your car to a professional.
Johnny Pretorius, Sales Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options, says the answer depends on a variety of factors, including the size and depth of crack. “A small crack that penetrates only the top layer of glass is usually repairable. To answer this question, it’s helpful to know the different types of windscreen cracks/chips.”
Below are the most common types of windscreen cracks:
- Bull’s Eye Crack
This is one of the most common types of cracks that occurs when a small blunt rock hits the windscreen. The crack is a circular shape, hence the name ‘bull’s eye’, and goes deeper than the surface layer of the glass. These types of cracks are usually easily repaired by a technician.
- Star Crack
A star crack is shaped like a star with several ‘hands’ and is usually caused by a sharp rock or object striking the windscreen. A star crack can spread and become bigger very quickly. It is important to get this seen to as soon as you can to prevent further damage and bigger repair bills.
- Floater Crack
This type of crack starts at the central part of the windscreen glass and can spread out from its starting point. Tiny floater cracks that are not directly in the vision of the driver can be repaired easily.
- Edge Crack
This crack can escalate quickly if not seen to. It starts on the edge of the windscreen, usually if there is excessive pressure on the sides where the glass is installed.
- Half Moon Crack
A half-moon crack is similar to the bull’s eye crack, the only difference is that is does not make a complete circle. These breaks can easily be repaired by a glass repair technician.
- Stress Crack
A stress crack is a type of an internal crack that cannot be felt by moving our fingers over. To diagnose the crack, this requires moving a ballpoint pen over it. A stress crack is not caused by impact, instead sudden change of temperature causes a stress crack. If your windows are covered in frost, don’t pour hot water on the windscreen because this could cause a stress crack.
- Combination Break
This is when multiple types of cracks appear at the same time, like a star crack that extends into an edge crack. Have this repaired as soon as possible because it can easily develop into a bigger problem, making your windscreen unstable.
Motorists with cracked or chipped windscreens might be tempted not to repair it, to save costs. But this could be a costly mistake. The crack could spread and become worse, making repairs more expensive. “However, the biggest cost is the risk to your safety. Even if a crack looks minor, it undermines the strength of your windscreen. This puts your and your passenger’s safety at risk. The windscreen is important to your vehicle’s structural integrity, and can even impact air bag deployment,” cautions Pretorius.
One way to protect yourself from the surprising cost of windscreen repair is with Scratch and Dent insurance. Scratch and Dent insurance, a MotorHappy product, covers you for windscreen chips, as well as minor interior and exterior scratches.