What to do with a cracked windscreen
It doesn’t matter if you’re zipping about town in a vintage Datsun or cruising down the highway in a brand new Mercedes S-Class; gravel and other debris don’t discriminate. So what do you if you get a cracked windscreen?
It’s just a crack, right?
A cracked windscreen can be a distraction, especially if they occur in your line of sight. But things can get a lot worse, and quickly. Sadly, damage to your windscreen is rarely cosmetic. Even a small crack can compromise the structural integrity of the glass, becoming a weak point that can quickly worsen or affect your car’s roadworthiness. A compromised windscreen is more likely to shatter in the event of being hit by a second object, high winds, extreme temperatures or even just the sustained vibrations of regular travel.
More than a glass screen
Windscreens aren’t just there to keep the wind out of your hair; although they do that too! They play a key role in load-bearing – which is integral to the overall strength of your vehicle – and in newer prestige models, may contain important vehicle safety technology. Advanced driver assistance cameras, radars and sensors are often integrated within (or are located nearby) windscreens as part of sophisticated accident prevention systems such as automatic emergency braking, lane assist, adaptive cruise control and rain sensors. These vehicles will require specialist intervention for repairs or replacement. Give us a call and we can recommend a provider appropriate for your vehicle.
Is it legal to drive with a cracked windscreen?
In Victoria, it is illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen that impedes a driver’s vision or penetrates more than one layer of glass. Laminated windscreens that have one or more ‘bullseye’ or ‘star’ fractures over 16mm in diameter or one or more cracks over 150mm in length within the area wiped by windscreen wipers also won’t meet roadworthy standards. Cracks or fractures of less than the designated diameter or length are allowable, so long as they don’t impede your vision. We recommend that you seek professional repairs for any cracks or fractures as soon as possible. Talk to your roadside assistance service provider or reputable windscreen specialist if your vehicle is not safe enough to drive to a repair point.
How to repair a cracked windscreen without replacing it
If you’re trying to avoid replacing the whole windscreen, you might be tempted to self-repair with a patch-kit. Keep in mind that while DIY might be a decent solution for tiny chips (smaller than your pinkie nail) or a stop-gap, self-repairs will deteriorate over time and end up costing you more money than going to seek professional help in the first place. Professional repairers use a vacuum method to draw air out from the damaged area, which is then injected with a specialist acrylic resin. Professional resins have similar strength and transparency to glass, and when applied with care, can be a good solution for smaller cracks.
Larger cracks, or cracked windscreens with integrated technology may require full replacement – read the manufacturer information in your vehicle’s manual for more information. Always take your vehicle to a reputable specialist windscreen repair service, and consider the value of adding windscreen and window cover to your insurance policy.
Give us a call or chat to us next time you’re in for a service if you need advice on whether your cracked windscreen needs specialist repair or replacement. Just ask – we’re here to guide you in the right direction and keep you on the road!