Windscreens can suffer unsightly cracks and chips usually from an object flying through the air and hitting the glass. There are many different types of damage depending on where the object strikes the screen and some can be repaired easier than others.
Chips usually occur when stones, rocks or gravel hit the screen at high speed. This can happen when tyres of other vehicles fling debris behind them, or objects are thrown up and across the road from a car passing in the opposite direction. Sometimes small rocks fall from trucks carrying loose construction material, landing on the glass and causing a small chip. This may be hard to spot, however, most drivers are usually alerted by the sound of a loud pop on impact.
Cracks can also occur from flying debris. If the object hits the outside edge of the glass, one long crack will usually form, but if it hits the middle the result will be a star break – a series of short cracks branching off from the impact point in a star-like shape. Driving over rough and uneven ground can also cause cracks.
Extreme temperature changes that expand and contract the glass on a continuous basis can often produce small cracks that travel the length of the glass. Chips or cracks can also be caused by a heavy hailstorm. You could be driving along without a care in the world when suddenly multiple strikes of large rock-like hail pepper the screen resulting in multiple chips. Although more infrequent than flying debris, hail damage can be more serious and more difficult to repair.
Driving with a damaged windscreen can be both dangerous and against the law.
These are among the most common types of windscreen damage:
Bullseye breaks are named after the bullseye on a dartboard. They are caused by a rock or other object that is round in shape leaving circular damage, typically with a cone in the outer layer of the glass. It is similar to a chip, but is larger. This type of damage is easily fixed if repaired early.
A half moon (also known as a partial bullseye) is a semi-circle and is also caused by a circular object. The damage is similar to a bullseye, but is not completely circular. Cracks are unlikely to form from a Half Moon and it is easily repaired.
Star breaks are small cracks leading away from where the object hit the glass, leaving a starburst pattern. If a star break is not repaired immediately, it can cause numerous long cracks spreading across the windscreen.
This leaves multiple types of chips and cracks in a windscreen. It is a mix of bullseye and star breaks resulting in extensive damage, often with missing chunks of glass. The damage is difficult to repair, even with today’s technology.
This is the most common type of crack. Due to the way windscreens are made and installed, the outer two to three inches have stress defects, leaving the area more vulnerable to fractures. An edge crack starts within two inches of the edge of the windscreen and even tiny cracks can become ten to twelve inches long.
A crack that occurs without anything hitting the glass, normally due to large temperature variations, such as a very cold car suddenly exposed to heat or a hot car suddenly chilled. For example taking ice off with hot water or putting the air conditioning on after the car has been sitting in the sun. Cracks are normally straight and almost always start at the edge of the windscreen.
Chips are the damage that occurs when a rock or other hard object causes a small piece of glass to come away from the windscreen. When this happens, a visible chip will be left behind, as well as the windscreen becoming unstable and unsafe.
This type of crack begins at the central point of the windscreen. Specifically, if the crack is not located within 2 inches of the edge of the windscreen, it qualifies as a floater crack. This vulnerable area of glass is particularly susceptible to cracks that may spread, not to mention that cracks and chips within this area of the windscreen will obscure the driver’s vision far more than those located around the edges of the glass.
Here at The Windscreen Company we specialise in windscreen repairs for all kinds of damage. Our experts will be able to advise you on the most cost effective and safe method of repair, to ensure that where possible, a repair is undertaken rather than a full windscreen replacement.
However, if a windscreen replacement is required to restore the integrity of your vehicle and assure your safety, we can liaise directly with your insurer to make sure you aren’t left out of pocket. Simply get in touch today to find out more.