Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Chase Manhattan
When it comes to windshield cracks, not all are created equal. From the superficial, hairline stress crack to the insurance-report demanding bullseye, each type presents its own unique warning sign screaming for attention.
In our definitive 2023 guide to ‘Different Types of Windshield Cracks‘, we sort out the chip from the star and provide practical advice to handle these uninvited guests. We offer unique insights into what causes them and when a simple crack can spell danger.
Recognizing these road scourges early may well be the difference in preserving your windshield’s integrity or succumbing to a complete replacement. Adventure forth, and empower your journey with confidence. So keep reading and lets get to crackin’!
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Types of Windshield Cracks To Be Aware Of
Windshield cracks, irrespective of their type, can be categorized into two broad divisions: impact-based cracks and impactless windshield cracks. It’s essential to identify the kind of crack your windshield has sustained to determine the appropriate solution.
Impact Based Cracks
Impact-based cracks occur when an external object like a rock, debris, or hailstone strikes the windshield, causing damage. These cracks often have a distinct impact point and can take various forms.
Resembling a half-circle or an oval, half-moon cracks happen when an object collides with your windshield, damaging the outer layer of the glass. They are similar to bull’s eye cracks, but their shape sets them apart.
Star breaks manifest as a central point of breakage with several smaller cracks radiating from the center, resembling a star. These cracks can weaken your windshield over time, necessitating immediate attention.
Bull’s Eye Cracks
Named for their circular shape, bull’s eye cracks are like chips that penetrate deeper into the outer layer of the glass. They are among the most common types of cracks and can be swiftly fixed by a certified technician.
Impactless Windshield Cracks
Contrary to impact-based cracks, impactless windshield cracks aren’t the result of an object hitting your windshield. Instead, they usually occur due to changes in temperature, pressure, or faulty installation.
Edge cracks are line cracks that originate at the edge of the windshield and are often caused by excessive pressure on the windshield’s sides. If your windshield hasn’t been installed correctly, you’re more likely to experience this type of breakage.
Stress cracks usually appear on older vehicles. Years of usage and exposure to varying conditions put stress on the glass, causing it to weaken over time. When your car has a stress crack, a windshield replacement becomes absolutely necessary.
Long cracks are linear cracks that spread over 15 centimeters. Their repair is challenging due to their length, and the windshield typically needs a full replacement. Sudden temperature changes and extreme weather conditions often cause these types of cracks.
Combination breaks are complex damages that involve two or more types of cracks or chips occurring simultaneously. For instance, a star crack might have a line extending over 15 centimeters, causing a long crack. These breaks are usually fixed by replacing the entire windshield due to the multiple types of damage.
Which Ones Need To Be Repaired?
Minor cracks and chips, such as bull’s eye cracks, star breaks, and half-moon cracks, can often be repaired. However, it depends on the size, depth, and location of the damage.
If the crack is small (less than 40 mm in diameter), doesn’t obstruct the driver’s vision, and doesn’t penetrate both layers of the glass, it can usually be repaired. If the damage is in the driver’s line of sight or causes visual distortion, replacement is usually recommended.
When Should You Replace The Windshield?
When the windshield damage is extensive, such as long cracks, edge cracks, stress cracks, and combination breaks, the windshield typically needs to be replaced. Also, if the damage obstructs the driver’s vision or if the windshield is littered with several chips, a new windshield is necessary.
DIY Procedure for Cracks Fixable At Home
Although it’s always recommended to consult a professional for windshield repair or replacement, some minor cracks or chips can be temporarily fixed at home using a DIY windshield repair kit.
These kits generally include a resin that fills the crack or chip, a device to remove air from the crack and to apply the resin, and a curing film.
Before starting the repair, ensure the windshield is clean and dry. The procedure typically involves the following steps:
- Position the device over the crack or chip.
- Remove air from the crack or chip using the device.
- Inject the resin into the crack or chip.
- Cover the area with the curing film and allow it to dry.
- Remove the film and scrape off excess resin with a razor blade.
It’s crucial to remember that a DIY repair is a temporary solution. You should still consult a professional to assess the damage and determine whether further repairs or a complete replacement is needed.