Is my windscreen repairable?
Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Cracks and chips in the windscreen are among the most common car problems.
And naturally, you’ll find places all over Queensland and beyond that offer to fix your windscreen fast.
But the biggest question you should have before getting your windscreen repaired is . . . can it actually be repaired safely?
Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know: in an accident, the windscreen is a safety component.
In a collision, that seemingly fragile slab of glass prevents your car’s roof from caving in, especially in a rollover.
A damaged windscreen can compromise your safety in a collision, and that’s no laughing matter.
Which cracks and chips can be safely fixed on your windscreen?
Standards are Voluntary
According to Queensland Transport, windscreen repair standards are more of a suggestion than law.
Repair shops can interpret and apply the Australian Standard as they see fit, but there are some generally accepted practices.
Most Chips are Repairable
Chips and stars as large as 16mm are considered to be repairable, particularly on the right side of the windscreen.
That’s providing that the chip or star is only in the outside layer of the windscreen, however.
If the chip or star is on the driver’s side, in the driver’s field of vision where the wipers sweep, the criteria are more stringent.
A repair has to be nearly invisible to the driver, so it doesn’t distract as they drive.
Some Cracks Can be Fixed
Likewise, a crack in the windscreen can be repaired only if it’s restricted to the outside layer of glass, and if it originates from a chip or impact.
If a crack spreads to the edge of the windscreen, it can’t be fixed and has to be replaced.
The same is true for a stress crack without an impact point – it has to be changed, not repaired.
As a general rule, repairs to cracks longer than 350mm (35cm) shouldn’t be attempted either.
It’s best to have the whole windscreen changed out instead.
What About Pitting?
If your windscreen looks bejewelled on a bright, sunny day, it’s probably pitted.
Pits are tiny chips that tend to refract the sun.
As a car ages, more pits are added all the time from tiny stones and debris.
They’re extremely small in diameter and very shallow.
Pitting can’t be adequately repaired.
If pitting becomes extreme or creates too much distraction while you drive, the windscreen should be replaced.
How is a Windscreen Repaired?
A crystal-clear resin is the main component in windscreen repairs.
Once the area has been meticulously cleaned, suction (or vacuum if you’d prefer) is applied over the damaged location.
Resin is then carefully applied to the crack, chip, or star where it fills the air gap in the glass.
As it dries, the resin is nearly invisible to the naked eye and the repaired area is just as strong as before the impact.
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Jason is a Canadian automotive content writer with a background in the auto service industry, but he’s been hooked on cars and mechanics since childhood.
One of his first cars was an ’80 Mazda RX-7 that’s sorely missed to this day. A ’68 Ford Torino GT, a ’66 Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon, and a ’96 Suzuki GSX-R 750 have spent time in his fleet of cars, bikes, and trucks over the past two decades.
Jason’s pride and joy is under construction – a turbocharged ’88 Mazda RX-7 convertible. Also on his resume is CASCAR official certification.