Driving With a Cracked Windshield

You were driving along when all of a sudden a stone was kicked up by a passing truck. Now you have a tiny star-shaped crack in the windshield. Sure, that crack might be harmless right now, but it can quickly go from being a swift repair to a total windshield replacement very fast. If you’re thinking about driving with a cracked windshield, don’t. There are too many risks involved.


If your vehicle has a chipped or cracked windshield, it is best to get it repaired as soon as possible. We’re going to explain why.


Factors Affecting How Long You Can Drive With a Cracked Windshield

You might see others driving around with cracked windshields, but they probably don’t understand how unsafe cracks can become. The size of the crack is certainly a factor in this, however. Smaller chips and cracks may be safe for a while, but larger cracks, particularly those that go from one end of the windshield to the other, may be illegal in your state.


The other factor is location. Cracks can spread then hinder your view of the road while you drive. In this case, you should get the crack repaired immediately. A small crack located on the passenger side, on the other hand, is less dangerous. You can drive for hundreds of miles and never even notice it.


Interestingly, newer car models with front-facing cameras mounted near the rear-view mirror could also be affected by a chip or crack. Damages to the windshield that are close to these cameras could throw off their accuracy or affect other safety features, like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, collision avoidance, and more. If you have to get a total windshield replacement, those camera systems will also need to be recalibrated.


Why Repair Windshield Cracks Immediately

Even the tiniest of cracks should be repaired as soon as you can. Yes, the cost of a windshield repair can be expensive, but the price of a whole replacement is even more. You could potentially save hundreds by repairing the crack soon after it happens rather than waiting for the damage to spread.


Additionally, if your car is up for a state inspection, or if driving with a large crack is illegal, you don’t want to risk being penalized. That is even more costly. As long as you have less than three cracks that are less than six inches long, you can get the windshield repaired.


Why Do Windshield Cracks Grow Over Time?

There are a couple of reasons why a windshield crack grows rather than staying isolated. First, going down a bumpy road could widen the crack or make it spread deeper into the glass. Dirt can also get into the fissure, weakening the structural integrity of the windshield. Next, leaving your car in the middle of a parking lot on a hot summer day could worsen the crack. The heat will force the crack to grow wider as it tries to escape. The same is true for fluctuating temperatures or extremely cold weather.


This is why you shouldn’t go driving with a cracked windshield. Anything you do could potentially make the chip or crack worse, leading to a full windshield replacement.


Tips to Prevent Windshield Cracks From Spreading

Can’t get to the auto glass repair shop right away? Don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to make driving with a cracked windshield slightly less problematic:


1. Buy a windshield kit

You can find a high-quality windshield repair kit at your local hardware or auto parts store. To do this correctly, you are going to need to bore a hole into the top layer of the windshield with a 1/16-inch drill bit, right over the chip or crack. Take the special resin from the kit and use it to seal the hole in the glass. This helps reduce the stress on the windshield and prevents cracks from forming. Sometimes, this does the trick and you don’t have to worry about further repairs.


2. Pick a shady parking spot

Since glass expands in the heat and contracts in the cold, you want to avoid sudden temperature changes. For example, if you direct the heating vent towards the windshield when it’s freezing outside, you’re going to see the crack widen. Whenever possible, park your car in the shade and away from inclement weather. Avoid using the defroster, too.


3. Try clear acrylic nail polish

There are some auto repair hacks that claim you can use superglue and masking tape to cover the crack, but that could lead to a windshield repair. Instead, you can try putting clear acrylic nail polish over the crack instead.


The solution is temporary, though it does a great job at keeping the crack together and dirt-free long enough for you to schedule a windshield repair appointment. Plus, if you mess up, you can easily wipe away acrylic nail polish with an acetone nail polish remover. It’s safe for glass.


Wrapping Up

Whatever you do, avoid letting a windshield crack get too large. Driving with a cracked windshield might not seem treacherous, but the situation could worsen rapidly. Rather than getting slammed with a fine or an expensive windshield replacement, get your windshield chips and cracks repaired immediately.


Elmer’s Auto Body is qualified for a number of repairs, including windshield repair and replacement. Our I-CAR Gold Class rated facility has state-of-the-art technology, and we employ only professionally trained and certified technicians. Don’t drive with a cracked windshield. Call us to schedule your repair today.


What Is Hydroplaning and How To Avoid It

What Is Hydroplaning and How To Avoid It

If you have ever lost control of your car, even slightly, on a wet road, it is possible you experienced hydroplaning. A skid can last a split second or can be catastrophic when the roads are wet. In order to protect yourself, it is important to understand what, exactly, hydroplaning is so that you can avoid it.



What is Hydroplaning?

Hydroplaning normally refers to sliding or skidding on a wet surface. Your tires are designed to scatter water as you travel on a wet road. When the tire encounters a larger amount of rain than it can scatter, you hydroplane. Pressure in front of the tires pushes water under it, causing the tire to leave the road way and ride on top of a thin film of water. This means your vehicle no longer has traction which can lead to a loss of steering, braking and control of your car.

When Does Hydroplaning Happen?

Anytime the road is wet, you can hydroplane. However, statistics show that hydroplaning is most common in the first ten minutes of a light rain. Light rain can mix with residue on the roads, like oils, which can cause cars to hydroplane. This is especially true if you are traveling at more than 35 miles per hour. Drivers tend to slow down during fog, ice, snow and heavy rain, but because light rain happens so often, drivers tend to travel at the same speeds they do on dry roads. Although heavy downpours and blinding snow can be dangerous, it is often the slippery conditions caused after a light rain that cause the most damage as drivers are not prepared for them.

Avoiding Hydroplaning

Although it is impossible to avoid hydroplaning at all times, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of hydroplaning. Be sure your tires are properly inflated and that the tread is in good condition. Slow down when the roads are wet, even if it was only a light rain. Avoid puddles and standing water which increase the chances of hydroplaning. Try to remain in the tracks of the cars in front of you as they indicate the area on the road where water is already displaced. Do not use cruise control on wet roads and drive in a lower gear if possible. Try not to brake hard or make sharp turns.

If you have been involved in an accident after hydroplaning, contact us by filling out the easy online form or give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Driving in Snow: How to Stay Safe

Although it would be great if we could all stay inside when winter weather strikes, that is not always possible. Traveling in winter weather can be stressful and frightening, but we don’t always have the option to avoid it. We must get to work, appointments and other obligations, sometimes when the weather is unfriendly. These tips help keep you safe when driving in winter weather.

Vehicle Maintenance

Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Your tires should be properly inflated based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and never mix radial tires with other types of tires. Keep your gas tank at least half full so that your gas lines do not freeze. Check all fluids to be sure you have windshield washer fluid and the proper amount of coolant in your vehicle. Test your battery level and clean connections as cold weather puts a strain on your battery. Never warm your car in an enclosed space like in your garage with the doors closed.

Long-Distance Trips

If you have to travel a long distance during winter weather, be sure to check weather reports, especially if you must drive in isolated areas. If the weather is going to be severe and you must drive through an isolated area, delay your trip. Be sure to let people know your route, destination and an estimated time of arrival. Be sure your cell phone is charged and that you have emergency numbers stored in the phone. Put a blanket, gloves, hat, food, water and medication in the vehicle where it is easily accessible.

Stranded Vehicle

If your vehicle becomes stuck, stay in the car as it provides shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. If you believe you can dig yourself out, make sure not to over exert yourself. Tie a bright cloth to the antenna or stick it out of a window to signal distress. Overnight, leave the dome light on inside the car so you are able to be seen easier. The dome light does not use much power, so it will not deplete the battery as quickly as headlights or parking lights. Make sure snow and ice are not covering the exhaust and run the engine just long enough to remove the chill in the vehicle. Use anything in the car to insulate your body, including floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.

Driving in the Snow

Apply the gas slowly to accelerate to avoid skids and take time to slow down for stop signals. It will take you longer to slow down on ice and snow than on dry pavement. Drive slower than normal, even below the speed limit, as accelerating, stopping or turning is impaired on icy roads. On normal drive pavement, you should be three to five seconds behind the car in front of you. On icy roads, you should increase that distance to eight to ten seconds. If you must climb hills, try to get movement going before you reach the hill and let the movement carry you to the top. As you reach the crest, reduce your speed and proceed down the hill as slowly as you can. Whatever you do, try not to stop while going up the hill. If you don’t think you can climb to the top without stopping, find another direction to your destination.

If you don’t have to go out in winter weather, the best option is to stay home. Even if you have experience driving in winter weather, other drivers may not. If you do need to go out, these tips can help keep you safe. If you have suffered damage due to icy roads, schedule an appointment today by filling out the contact form online.