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How To Deal With A Smashed Windshield

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The last thing you want to see when you're rushing outside to commute to work in the morning is a smashed windshield. Driving with a damaged windshield is dangerous and illegal, so you have no choice but to get it repaired as soon as possible. You can avoid towing fees by having a mobile repair truck come to your home. The technician can repair the glass if possible, and if not, the entire windshield can be replaced on the spot. Here's how to deal with the problem.

Insurance Coverage

Call your insurance agent before you have the work done to see if windshield replacement or repair are covered on your policy. Also ask if filing a claim will affect your insurance rate. Some insurance policies offer full coverage for windshield repairs and don't penalize you for it. However, you'll want to know if you need to pay cash upfront or if the technician can go ahead and do the work and bill your insurance company later. If filing a claim will count against you, or if you have a large deductible you'll have to pay anyway, you may decide to pay out of pocket for the repairs since a new windshield will only cost a couple of hundred dollars unless you have a rare car.

Repair Or Replace

Deciding whether to repair the glass or replace the entire windshield is straightforward. It all depends on the size of the chip or the length of the crack. Cracks that run to the edge of the glass are more likely to need repairs than damage that is in the center of the windshield. If the inner layer of safety vinyl is damaged by a deep crack, then your windshield will probably need to be replaced. The safety layer is what helps hold the glass together instead of it shattering during an accident. If it is damaged, it may not be structurally sound and able to support the glass properly. The technician can quickly tell if your glass needs to be replaced or repaired by looking at the size and location of the damage. If the chip is bigger than a quarter, or if the crack is over 12 inches long, you'll most likely need a complete windshield replacement.

The Process

Replacing a windshield involves removing the rubber strip and adhesive from around the frame and then pulling out the glass. New glass is fitted into the opening and sealed into place. Quality workmanship ensures the new glass has a tight seal and will not vibrate loose or leak when it rains. For that reason, you want to choose a reputable company to do the job. The technician should also clean the area and vacuum loose bits of glass from inside and outside your car.

Replacing a windshield can be done quickly, even by one person working alone, as long as the right tools are available. You won't be able to drive your car right away though. You have to allow time for the adhesive to cure. The length of time needed depends on the particular type of adhesive used and the weather conditions that day. If it is rainy or if the humidity is high, the technician may ask you to delay driving your car longer than would be required on a dry day.

Even if you're sure the damage is small enough that repairs are possible, you don't want to drive your car. Hitting a bump, or a sudden downpour of rain, could be all it takes to cause the crack to spread. Take your car to the shop right away, or if the damage obstructs your vision, call a mobile repair truck to get the problem fixed so you'll be safe on the road.