Tips for Preventing a Windshield Crack from Spreading

Finding a chip or a crack in your windshield may seem like a minor inconvenience, but this problem can easily escalate into a significant safety hazard. These chips or cracks, no matter how small they are, can easily spread across your windshield, costing you more time and money to fix it. 

Unfortunately, many drivers make the mistake of ignoring the crack, thinking that it won’t affect their safety. However, windshields do more than just protect you from outside debris. In addition to affecting driver visibility, a cracked windshield can also impact your safety and the structural integrity of your vehicle. 

A compromised windshield can also affect airbag deployment during accidents, as the windshield’s structural integrity is crucial for the proper functioning of airbags. A well-installed and intact windshield supports the airbag’s deployment direction, ensuring it cushions the vehicle’s occupants as designed.

A damaged windshield can compromise the airbag’s ability to deploy correctly, either by not deploying when necessary or by deploying in a less effective manner, thereby endangering the lives of the vehicle’s occupants. Therefore, it’s important to stop a cracked windshield from spreading for your safety, as well as to ensure the vehicle is structurally sound.

Common Reasons Why Windshield Cracks Spread

There can be multiple reasons why there are cracks on your windshield. The most common reason for windshield cracks is temperature changes. When your car moves from a cold environment to a warm one or vice versa, the glass expands or contracts. This expansion and contraction can cause the crack to grow.

Vibrations from driving, especially over potholes or uneven roads, directly contribute to the worsening of windshield cracks. These constant vibrations pressure cracks, causing them to grow and potentially develop into intricate patterns that undermine the windshield’s stability and clear view.

External pressures, like heavy snow or debris, can also potentially worsen windshield cracks. At a molecular level, a crack unsettles the glass’s equilibrium, forming vulnerable stress points around it. These points easily extend under lower forces compared to the original strength of the intact glass.

How To Stop A Windshield Crack From Spreading

Before anything else, it’s important first to assess the windshield crack. If the crack is smaller than six inches, isn’t located in the driver’s line of site, and does not penetrate through the inner layer of the windshield, then a windshield repair can usually be performed. 

However, if the cracks are directly in the driver’s line of sight, extend across the windshield, and penetrate the windshield’s inner layer, then a replacement may be required. Here are some ways to stop a cracked windshield from spreading while you wait for your windshield repair appointment.

1. Apply Clear Nail Polish

Applying a thin layer of clear nail polish to both sides of the windshield crack acts as a filler and sealant. This method works because the nail polish enters the crack, dries quickly, and forms a transparent seal that temporarily holds the crack together and blocks moisture—a critical factor in preventing crack expansion due to freezing or pressure.

2. Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes

Rapid temperature changes can stress the windshield glass, causing an existing crack to expand. To mitigate this, avoid actions pouring hot water on a frosted windshield or blasting the air conditioner on a hot windshield. Gradually heating or cooling the vehicle’s interior can reduce stress on the glass, which can prevent the cracks from worsening.

3. Use Super Glue

Just like clear nail polish, super glue is also useful for sealing cracks, particularly larger ones. Once the crack is filled with super glue and cured, it creates a hard seal that holds the glass together, preventing further spread. The area should be clean and dry for the glue to adhere properly.

4. Apply Tape

Applying clear packing tape over the crack is a simple technique to prevent dirt and moisture from entering the crack, which can worsen the damage. This method is highly temporary and should only be used as a very short-term solution or while waiting for professional repair. The tape should not obstruct the driver’s view.

5. Utilize a Windshield Repair Kit

Windshield repair kids usually include a resin compound that, when injected into the crack, fills it in and cures to create a bond that stabilizes the crack. The resin is designed to mimic the optical properties of glass, making the repair less noticeable. 

Make sure to follow the instructions carefully, including using the curing strip and applying UV light if required for the resin to set to successfully repair your cracked windshield. 

Long-Term Prevention Tips

Maintaining the integrity of your windshield is essential for ensuring safety and visibility while driving. Here are some long-term prevention tips to help avoid windshield damage and prevent future cracks. 

  • Windshield Inspection: Regularly inspect your windshield for any chips or minor damage. Early detection can prevent a small chip from turning into a large crack.
  • Glass Cleaning: Use a high-quality glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean your windshield. Dirt and residue can accumulate on wiper blades and scratch the windshield during use.
  • Keep Distance: Maintain a safe following distance from vehicles ahead, especially on highways. Trucks and larger vehicles can kick up rocks and debris that may strike your windshield.
  • Wiper Blade Replacement: Replace your windshield wiper blades at the first sign of wear or at least once a year to prevent them from scratching the glass.
  • Choose Parking Wisely: Whenever possible, park in covered areas or garages to protect your windshield from falling debris, hail, and potential vandalism.
  • Avoid Construction Areas: Slow down and use alternate routes when driving near construction zones where loose gravel and debris are more common.

Professional Solutions for Windshield Cracks

Applying DIY solutions is not enough to keep your cracked windshields from getting worse over time. It’s best to go to a professional windshield repair expert as soon as possible.

A professional technician can assess the severity of the crack or chip to determine the best course of action. Using tools and knowledge, they can accurately gauge whether a repair will suffice or if a full replacement is necessary for your safety.

At Auto Glass Oshawa, our expert technicians have decades of experience providing windshield repair and auto glass replacement for all types of vehicles. In addition to restoring your vehicle’s windshield to its original condition, they also ensure that the safety features of your vehicle are maintained. 

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