July 3, 2019

To Replace or Repair a Cracked Windscreen?

From a small chip to a large crack, a damaged windscreen can not only become an issue about the cost to replace, but can also be a serious safety risk. No matter the extent of the crack, calling a windscreen repair technician is necessary. They will be able to assess the damage and advised if you need to repair or replace a cracked windscreen.

Walking to your car only to discover a cracked windscreen can be a real bummer. Now comes the big question, do you replace your windscreen or repair it?

While you might be tempted to ignore the damage if it’s a chip or a tiny crack, that can be a dangerous decision.

Even a very small crack weakens the integrity of the windscreen, which means that something as small as a drastic change in temperature or a minor bump on the curb can turn that hairline crack into a major spiderweb looking crack. It’s even possible that the windscreen could shatter with nothing more than a minor fender bender.

Don’t forget that a damaged windscreen will mean a failed roadworthy inspection down the road.

cracked car windscreen

What are the Australian Standards for Windscreens?

The Federal Register of Legislation has very specific requirements that windscreens must meet, especially when it comes to the area called “primary vision.” This is the part of the windscreen that you and your passenger look through to see the road. Australian Design Rule number 8 states that optical transmission for windscreens may not be less than 75% in the primary vision area.

The primary vision area is 90mm from the top of your windscreen and 65mm from the bottom of the windscreen.

In short, an unrepaired chip or cracked windscreen, besides compromising the safety of the vehicle, in the primary vision area will likely make it fail a roadworthy inspection.

windscreen wiper across rainy windscreen

Do I Need to Repair or Replace a Chipped or Cracked Windscreen?

Australian standards are also very strict as to what can be repaired and what can be replaced.

When to Repair

As soon as you notice a chip or hairline crack, take the vehicle in right away to see if the damage can be repaired. Even a very small chip can quickly turn into a large crack if not repaired quickly. A reliable windscreen shop will be able to advise you if the windscreen can be safely repaired.

When a repair is made, a small vacuum is attached to the chip and the air removed. An acrylic resin is then injected into the area. The larger the chip and the more repairs that were previously made can mean light distortion and impaired vision.

Rain drops on car windscreen

When to Replace

This will depend on the size of the chip or crack, as well as its location, but generally speaking, a chip that exceeds 7 centimetres will not be able to be repaired and the windscreen must be replaced. 

Nearly all insurance companies will pay to repair or replace a cracked windscreen. If you have no insurance, you should still rely on the professional advice of a windscreen replacement shop. If they advise you that a repair will render your vehicle unroadworthy, you should have the windscreen replaced, even though it will cost more than a repair.

Don’t compromise your safety by taking a wait and see attitude. The sooner you repair that chipped or cracked windscreen, the better your chances will be that the damage can be safely repaired.

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