The windscreen is the largest expanse of glass on our cars, and it’s also the most vulnerable. Here’s what you can do if windscreen damage has occurred.
Just like how one single person can cause the creation of a new COVID-19 cluster — as we’ve recently discovered — the tiniest of stones can cause pretty severe windscreen damage. Windscreens not only keep rain out, but they also ensure that your field of vision remains clear.
Exposed to the elements, this hard-wearing piece of windscreen glass certainly takes a beating. Road debris, falling branches, and even bird strikes can very easily put a windscreen out of service. Windscreens are typically one of two types of safety glass — laminated glass or toughened (tempered) glass.
If you drive a newer vehicle, you will most likely have a laminated glass windscreen. However, older vehicles may have toughened glass windscreens. Toughened glass windscreens have been discontinued, as cracks immediately spread throughout the glass. On the contrary, laminated glass windscreens will not immediately shatter, instead creating localised damage with the possibility of repair.
The types of windscreen damage
Windscreen damage typically falls into two major types — impact damage and stress damage. The most commonly experienced type of damage is impact damage, caused by an external object striking the glass. Stress damage is less common in Singapore, caused by temperature changes or a structural weakness in a car’s chassis.
Stones and rocks kicked up by other vehicles are the main cause of sudden impact damage occurring on Singapore roads. Whenever possible, avoid travelling on roads near industrial areas to minimise the likelihood of damage. Depending on the velocity and shape of the offending debris, you might notice these common variations of windscreen damage:
Short cracks, as the name suggests, are a straight-line breach in the glass approximately 10mm in length. If located near the edge of the windscreen, short cracks may grow in length if left unrepaired.
Bullseye cracks are a large, circular spot of damage, named after the bullseye on a dartboard. Pebbles and other circular objects might cause this damage, but is repairable if addressed early.
Crater cracks typically resemble a bottle cap, with the middle area usually missing a small chunk of glass. A high-velocity impact might cause this damage, and is likely to require a windscreen replacement.
Star cracks have a starburst pattern, and feature small cracks leading away from the point of impact. No glass is chipped off on a star crack. However, leaving the damage unattended can result in numerous long cracks appearing.
Combination cracks are the worst kind of damage. They typically leave a mix of bullseye and star cracks, with small missing pieces of glass. This type of damage is difficult to repair, and is likely to require a windscreen replacement.
The location matters
Not all windscreen damage is repairable. The reparability of damage not only depends on its type, but also its size, depth, and location. Yes, you read that right — location. Windscreen specialist shops commonly segregate a windscreen into two zones, A and B.
Zone A is the area directly in front of you, spanning 110mm from the centre of your steering wheel, considered a critical zone in the driver’s line of vision. Regardless of severity, damage in this area is thus deemed unrepairable.
Zone B covers the rest of the windscreen outside of Zone A. For cracks <150mm in length and chips <25mm in diameter, damage in Zone B can usually be repaired. However, if a crack reaches an edge of the windscreen, a replacement is required.
Repair, or replace?
Wherever possible, repairing a windscreen is always more time-efficient and cost-effective than replacing it. Repairing a windscreen typically takes 30 minutes and costs under $100; replacing a windscreen takes several hours and costs upwards of $300.
The repair process starts with removing moisture, broken glass, and debris from the damaged area. Next, they create a vacuum in preparation of the repair. Finally, they inject a liquid resin into the damaged area, which seals the gaps and prevents the damage from spreading further.
In most instances, the windscreen repair process is able to restore a large percentage of clarity. However, if the damage is too severe to repair, a replacement windscreen is necessary. Your insurer will typically cover the cost of replacement if insured under a comprehensive policy. However, a nominal damage excess may apply. If your car is under a third party insurance policy, the entire cost of replacement will unfortunately need to come out of pocket.
Have a damaged windscreen that could do with a repair? AutoApp’s panel of workshops include glass repair specialists that will have you seeing clearly in a jiffy. WhatsApp us at 91-028-028 for a quote!