Chipped or cracked windshield? Here’s what to do.

Quick notes

– The windshield is the #1 safety restraint in your vehicle.

– Thirty percent of all traffic fatalities are due to people being ejected from their car.

– It’s of the utmost importance to use the right material and have it installed by a certified professional

Your windshield is damaged and you’re wondering a) what to do about it and b) how much the windshield replacement will cost will. First and foremost: don’t put it off! Your windshield is a vital part of your vehicle and if it’s damaged it can pose a serious threat to both your life and your passengers’ lives.

As with most automobile repairs, windshield damage is often unexpected. That means you might be tempted to take the cheapest route when it comes to getting it repaired or replaced, but beware! Cheap is always appealing, but as we all know, getting something done cheap can often mean getting it done wrong.

An incorrectly installed car windshield could pop out in an accident, which could then cause the roof to cave in and crush the car’s occupants. Plus, when the front airbags deploy, it exerts a tremendous force on the windshield and will often blow it out if it’s not firmly glued in place. None of that is said to frighten you – simply to stress the importance of getting the job done right!

Your windshield might be your last and best defense

The windshield is a layer of protection that you hope you never need, but that you want to be installed correctly in case you ever do. Not only does it keep things like unwanted animals and criminals out of the car, but it keeps you inside the car should you be involved in an accident.

“The windshield is the #1 safety restraint in your vehicle.”

There are many fly-by-night installers who will cut corners in an attempt to give customers the cheapest price. These types of installers put efficiency above safety and will slam a windshield into a car without using the right adhesives or even the right glass.

Besides being a danger to you and your passengers, it leaves your car susceptible to leaks and rusting.

Choosing the right glass and the right installer

It’s of paramount importance to use the original manufacturer’s glass when at all possible, but an even more important step is to choose a good installer.

Paul L Dineen/Flickr

Certification is valuable because it keeps installers up to date on advances in adhesives and changing automotive designs. You can find a certified installer with a free resource like www.safewindshields.org. Simply type in your zip code and let the magical search engine find you a certified installer near you.

How to save money and double-check the quality of the work

Instead of taking your car to a dealership for a windshield replacement, consider going straight to a certified installer. After all, most dealerships subcontract the work to a glass shop and then mark up the price by 20-30%. For new vehicles, you might not have a choice but to go to the dealership if they’re the only place that stocks your glass.

Windshield installations typically take about an hour, and once the work is finished, you’ll want to take a couple of minutes to inspect the work. Ensure the molding around the glass is straight and that you can’t see any sign of adhesives inside the car. If the installer left debris or dirt in your car, it could be a sign of sloppy work.

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