Almost all of us have been there at one point or another: We’re driving down the highway fun and fancy-free, and all of a sudden, BAM. The sound is akin to a gunshot, and there in the middle of your field of vision is the telltale starburst chip, left by an airborne pebble on a mission. Here are five tips to answer the immediate questions that cross your mind:
How could this have been prevented? What do I do now? Let’s take a look.
Leave Space. To minimize the chances of getting a chip, avoid prolonged driving behind large trucks on the highway, and leave ample space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
Slow Down. In construction areas the likelihood of the car in front of you kicking up a sizable piece of debris or a rock is much higher. The slower you’re going, the more time you have to recognize the threat and slow down further and/or steer out of the way.
If the damage is already done, there are some things you can do to make the process less painful - here are a few:
Buy Some Time. If you do a lot of highway driving, it’s a good idea to keep a jar of clear nail polish in your vehicle. In the event of a small chip, clean the area and apply clear nail polish liberally to the chip and the area surrounding it. This is one of the best methods for buying yourself a bit of time.
Wait To Wash. Don’t wash your car in extreme temperatures, as windshields are much more likely to crack when they’re exposed to temperature extremes. A splash of cold water on a hot windshield (or hot water on a cold windshield) can turn a small “star” into a long crack.
Get It Repaired ASAP. The quicker you can get the glass professionally repaired, the better. Before you call your insurance company, call around to a few local glass shops. The price for a repair may be less than your deductible and/or subsequent policy price increase resulting from a claim. If you’re lucky, a glass repair shop will be able to simply repair the chip, allowing you to continue your life as if nothing ever happened.
No one enjoys windshield repairs, but as a driver, they are almost inevitable. Use these tips to help keep them under control and to keep a small chip from turning into a giant crack. If you find yourself in need of replacement parts for your windshield, start your search here.