The Clearest Indication It’s Time to Replace Your Windscreen
Not all windscreen damage can be repaired; the size, depth, and location of the damage are the key factors that are looked at before deciding whether the windscreen can be repaired or needs to be replaced. There are also a limited number of times a windscreen can be repaired with the general guideline being that if there are signs of eight or more repairs anywhere on the windscreen it would need to be replaced. The reason for both is not only because almost all types of damage weaken the structural integrity of the windscreen, but also because windscreen damage – and any repairs to the damage – can also affect the driver’s ability to see clearly when driving. And the clearest indication it is time for you to replace your windscreen is not any damage to it but rather interference to visibility when driving. Let’s look at some causes of visibility interference.
Your windscreen is subject to a microscopic battering each time you drive, shielding you from both visible and invisible debris: dust, sand, stones, and any number of objects kicked up by other cars, or blown about by the wind. In time this battering leaves you windscreen covered in small craters: windscreen pitting. Larger craters will be noticeable to you, but most windscreen pitting will only become obvious when light hits the windscreen at a certain angle, almost blinding you. This is because the tiny craters refract light, and the worse the pitting is, the worse the glare created by all these craters is. Another obvious sign of significant windscreen pitting will be when driving through the rain and you notice the wipers aren’t as effective at clearing water from the windscreen as they once were. This could be because your wipers need to be replaced, but if the problem persists even after replacing your wipers, the likely cause is windscreen pitting allowing water to pool.
Cloudy or Milky Patches on the Windscreen
Cloudy or milky-white patches appearing on your windscreen, or around the edges of the windscreen, are a very visible indication that your windscreen needs to be replaced. And soon. Your windscreen is made from two pieces of glass bonded together by a very thin layer of plastic: laminate. When the glass starts to separate from the plastic – also referred to as delamination – it often results in hazy or white patches appearing on the windscreen. Classic delamination usually happens from the edges of the windscreen, so the haziness would start anywhere along the rim of the windscreen and gradually expand, but any damage to the windscreen can also cause delamination if the damage is large or deep enough to damage the laminate layer. The laminate layer is what helps prevent your windscreen from shattering into sharp splinters and shards, so if you notice signs of delamination you should have your windscreen replaced urgently, since it won’t only interfere with your driving visibility, it also puts you at risk of serious injury should the windscreen glass break.
Previous Windscreen Repairs
Windscreen repairs aren’t perfect; they fill chips and cracks to prevent them from expanding, and to also make your windscreen more secure again. But they also result in a small amount of distortion of what you can see through the repaired glass. This is mostly insignificant and hardly noticeable, except in instances where you’ve had a larger crack or chip repaired, or had lots of repairs done in the same area. You will still be able to see through the glass where the repair was done, but the distortion can result in you having difficulty judging the location or distance of objects around your vehicle. This is one of the reasons for limiting the number of repairs that can be done to a windscreen, especially in the driver’s critical vision area.
Even if you were able to have your windscreen repaired in the past, if you become aware of areas that distort visibility too much – or have any problems seeing through your windscreen clearly when driving – make time to consult an autoglass professional for advice on replacing your windscreen before it gets worse.