A car’s windshield gives you a clear and unobstructed view of the road. By protecting you from elements such as dust and rain, you can enjoy better visibility. Windshields will also keep you safe from rocks and objects that may cause injury.
Needless to say, a windshield can take quite a beating. But that doesn’t mean it won’t break. In fact, it’s more likely to suffer damage than any other window in your car. Question is: Can you still drive with a cracked windshield – and for how long?
There’s no easy answer to this. Generally speaking, you can continue to drive with a damaged windshield. However, you’ll be running on borrowed time. And how long you can drive depends on how badly damaged the windshield is.
4 Things to Look Out For In A Cracked Windshield
1. How many cracks are there?
One or two should be fine, especially if they’re small. You can continue driving your car without risking further breakage. But if it has three or more cracks, you may not have long before it suddenly gets from bad to worst. All it takes is the right amount of force.
You have to understand that windshields with one-too-many cracks are vulnerable. The slightest touch, movement, or impact could cause them to spread across the glass.
2. How large are the cracks?
You shouldn’t worry too much if your windshield has a few, small cracks. You can still use your vehicle – with or without having those cracks repaired. But if you want to save money, you should consider getting them fixed.
Large cracks that are long or spread out have to be immediately dealt with. Most states have laws preventing you from driving in this condition. Your only option is to have your windshield replaced by professionals.
Note: Cracks that are less than 6 inches long are minimal and repairable. Anywhere between 6-12 inches (or more) means your windshield is beyond the point of repair.
3. Where are the cracks located?
Cracks found on the inside of a windshield are never a good sign. The same could be said if they’re on the driver’s side, irrespective of their size. In both instances, it would be best to have your windshield replaced as soon as possible.
Cracks located on the outer surface are easy to repair. It’s also better for cracks to be on the passenger’s side because it maintains a clear view for the driver. Either way, you can have weeks or months of driving. The best approach in this situation is to have your windshield repaired. That way, it won’t need replacement for a few more years.
4. Are the cracks getting worse?
Windshield cracks that worsen over time are a bad sign. It doesn’t matter if they’re small or relatively few. Nor does it make a difference if the cracks are on the outer surface or passenger’s side of the vehicle. A broken windshield with worsening cracks have to be repaired or replaced.
At the end of the day, you should consider having your windshield checked. Professionals would be able to recommend your next best step.