Glass is everywhere. It is on windowpanes in your home, in your kitchen cookware, and in that expensive vase on your coffee table. You simply cannot live without glass. Aside from your home or workplace, glass is also a major component of your beloved vehicle. The main windshield, the windows, and the rear windshield are all made of glass. There may come a time, though, when the glass might crack or break altogether, either from a collision, pebbles on the road or manhandling of the vehicle. When it does, do you always have to replace it or can you repair it? Read on to know more about the basics of glass and repair vs replacement scenarios.
What is Glass?
Glass is made by combining grains of silica (which is what sand is made of) with limestone and soda ash. The soda ash brings down the temperature at which the silica melts and the limestone gives the glass its final solid shape. The process is carried out in manufacturing facilities at extremely high temperatures. The reaction causes the grains of the silica to come together and bond tightly. This is how you get the ordinary glass. To make toughened glass that is used in automobiles, the molten glass is cooled at a rapid rate so that the result is a much stronger glass that could withstand harsher conditions.
Why Does Glass Break?
Even though the silica grains have a tight bond, the space between them is never 100% intrusion-proof. The toughened glass on cars does not break easily, but over time, constant exposure to dust and debris makes the space between the grains larger. After spending thousands of miles on the road, these weakened gaps, when targeted by a particle larger than the grain size, such as a pebble or a stone chip, further broaden, causing the glass to crack. The larger the impact of the object, the higher is the chance of the grains being further separated from each other, consequently breaking the glass.
Can You Repair Cracked Glass?
If there is a minor crack on your car’s windowpane, it might be possible to get it repaired. As a rule of thumb, any crack which is smaller than the size of your palm can be repaired. Of course, every crack is different and the final word on the durability of the repair should come from your auto repair shop. Typically, the auto repair service personnel would seal the areas surrounding the crack to prevent the adjacent grains from widening the gap that is created by the crack. So, your glass might still look cracked, but the damage would not spread further. Repairs are, of course, cheaper than replacement, hence you could go for it if you want a quick and easy fix.
When Should You Replace Broken Glass?
Cracks larger than your palm should not be taken lightly and must be replaced at the first chance. If you continue to drive around with a huge crack on your windshield or even your car windows, there are high chances of the glass being shattered at the slightest touch of a forceful object. The larger the crack, the more vulnerable the glass becomes and even small flying pebbles can then set it off and cause it to shatter into pieces. Hence, if you see an extremely large crack, immediately talk to your auto service station for a replacement.
The toughened glass on your car is there for a reason, which is, shielding you from external influences, be it the weather, the dust, or even bad drivers around. If there is a crack in any of the windows or the windshields, your safety is compromised. Call your windshield repair service and get it fixed before something major happens. Be safe out there on the road, call as soon as you need a windshield repair.