Auto glass damage can have a variety of causes, including bouncing rocks, car thieves and hail. While some small scratches and chips can be repaired either by a professional or at home, more significant damage may require complete replacement. Whether auto glass should be repaired or replaced depends on a number of factors, including the location and size of the damage and whether it interferes with a drivers vision. It is often beneficial to have a professional inspect the damage before deciding on a strategy.
Repairing Auto Glass
Chips and cracks in auto glass can be repaired in a variety of ways. One strategy is to have professionals repair the glass for you. In 2009 prices, according to AutoRisk.com, a single small scratch or chip costs approximately $40 to $50 to repair, and each consecutive blemish costs approximately another $10. However, longer cracks (anything over 3 inches) may cost about $70 dollars to repair.
Professionals repair small problems in auto glass by injecting a resin into the affected area, which then solidifies and strengthens the glass. The area is then polished to help restore the glasss clear finish. While this strategy works, it can be expensive and may require leaving your car at a shop.
According to Essortment.com, do-it-yourselfers can inexpensively repair auto glass by using a mixture of equal parts water, jewelers rouge (a metal polish containing wax and aluminum oxide) and glycerin, which is often found in lotions and soaps. The mixture can be rubbed gently into the damaged area with a cloth. Repeating the process may be necessary for deeper cracks. It is important to carefully clean out cracks and chips with a non-ammonia based cleaner before beginning repairs.
Replacing Auto Glass
Damage to auto glass can sometimes be so severe that it requires replacing. Some cracks, especially ones at the edges of a windshield, can spread and affect the integrity of the window. In other cases, cracks and chips may affect a drivers vision. According to AutoRisk.com, even after repairs have been made, there may be visual distortions that can only be corrected by replacing the windshield.
Windshields and other windows can be replaced at auto glass shops or at car dealerships. Dealerships may be more expensive, because they often install OEM, or original equipment manufacture glass, while auto glass shops may not. According to AutoRisk.com, both OEM and non-OEM glass are required to meet the same standards of safety and both are quality products. However, it adds, only OEM bonding materials should be used when replacing glass, because inferior bonding products can result in leaks and glass coming loose.