Your windscreen is an important part of your car, but – being made of glass – is also one of the more vulnerable parts of the bodywork when it comes to accidental damage. We’ve put together a few quick tips on how best to prevent, mitigate and deal with windscreen damage when it does occur.
Keep your distance
Most of the time, windscreen chips occur when tiny rocks are kicked up by preceding vehicles. So you’re less likely to pick up damage by leaving a little larger a gap between you and what’s in front.
Reduce your speed
The impact of any stones or rocks kicked up from the road will be amplified if you’re travelling at greater speed. So slow down a little, especially if you’re travelling at close quarters with other vehicles on country roads that are less likely to have been swept.
Avoid making existing chips and cracks worse by parking in shade, as the heat from intense sunlight can force glass to crack, and park away from trees from which animals may drop seeds or nuts.
De-ice with care
Freezing temperatures can make glass more brittle, so you should never use boiling water to remove ice; the rapid change in temperature this creates can cause immediate damage. You should also avoid using anything not designed for de-icing, like an old CD, as this can scratch or damage the windscreen.
Check for damage regularly
Windscreen chips can be repaired easily and affordably, but can quickly become cracks if left for too long. You may notice a chip straight away if it falls within your eyeline, but a crack anywhere on your windscreen will lead to an MOT failure – so do a quick visual inspection every fortnight or so.
Get chips repaired ASAP
The sooner a chip is repaired, the less you run the risk of it cracking. If you have comprehensive insurance, you’ll more than likely find that your windscreen is insured – and repairs will have a tiny excess compared to the cost of replacement. Repairers use an epoxy to seal the chip, preventing dirt and moisture from getting in – and turning into a crack.
Replace when necessary
As soon as you notice a chip has turned into a crack, get it replaced immediately. It’s not only an often immediate MOT failure, but also very dangerous. The windscreen forms part of your car’s safety equipment, helping to direct impact forces into the car’s chassis and away from the cabin. If compromised, its ability to protect you in an accident will be diminished.