What to Do About Windscreen Stone Chips
Like any windscreen damage, stone chips should not be ignored because there is always the risk of the damage becoming bigger. Not all windscreen damage requires the glass to be replaced, depending on the size, depth, and location of the damage, a repair could be possible but only if it is attended to as soon as possible. And this is true for most windscreen stone chips too.
What Are Windscreen Stone Chips?
As the name suggests, it is usually a stone or pebble that causes a stone chip in windscreens, but some other form of debris can also be responsible. It is usually a vehicle in front of you or passing you that kicks up a small stone or other debris, which then hits your windscreen. Many times, the object is so small and moving so quickly that you don’t even see it, but you hear the sharp crack as it hits the glass. If you’re fortunate, there is no damage, but it helps to carefully inspect your windscreen after such an incident, as the damage could be quite small, or not visible from inside your vehicle. And when it comes to stone chips in your windscreen, small is every bit as problematic as large.
Can Windscreen Stone Chips Be Repaired?
Many forms of windscreen damage, including stone chips, can be repaired. Factors that influence repairability are the size, depth, and location of the windscreen damage. Depending on the resulting damage – which could be anything from a crack to a bull’s eye, star, or crater – the size and location are strict determiners of a repair being possible. If it is too big, too close to the edge of the windscreen, or within the critical vision area (CVA), a repair might not be possible. Similarly, the depth of the stone chip or crack also affects the repairability, but this is regardless of actual size or location: if the damage has reached the laminate or second layer of glass, a repair is not possible.
Unfortunately, most forms of windscreen damage can expand or grow if ignored, with moisture, changes in temperature, changes in the internal pressure of the vehicle cabin, along with vibrations caused by driving all contributing to this. So, what starts as a 15mm stone chip that can be repaired could easily become a 120mm long crack that cannot be repaired. Water or dirt that becomes trapped inside the stone chip can also have an influence, resulting in a more visible repair, and causes a slight distortion in the glass, or negatively affects the structural integrity of the glass. The sooner you have the stone chip assessed, the greater the chances are of a quality repair being possible.
Are They Dangerous?
Regardless of size, stone chips in your windscreen can be quite dangerous:
- The chip and fine fracture lines can reflect light, temporarily blinding you or even distracting you enough that you aren’t paying proper attention to the road ahead of you.
- They can create blind spots that weren’t there before, making it difficult for you to see parts of the road.
- They affect the structural integrity of the glass and given the important role the windscreen plays in preventing serious injury in the event of an accident, this could be very dangerous for you or any passengers in the car with you.
Having any stone chips in your windscreen repaired as soon as possible reduces or eliminates any risk.