'So my windshield has a crack. Can I still use my car?’ [Newbie Guide]

Updated May 03, 2021 | Same topic: Beginner's Guide

Many people have a hard time seeing clearly on the topic.

A car’s greenhouse (the part comprising all windows, pillars, and the roof) plays an important role as far as the occupants are concerned. Apart from shielding you against the elements, it’s also responsible for outward visibility that makes safe driving possible, as well as contributing to the car’s structural integrity.

Cracked glass

A cracked glass on your car is more than just a source of annoyance

Given that, the glass parts of the greenhouse are also among the most prone to physical damage from impacts. This proves useful in emergency situations when immediate access to the cabin is necessary for rescue or retrieval purposes, but it also means that a wayward rock or any other blunt object can easily damage them in an otherwise uneventful driving scenario.

Say you’re driving a cautious distance behind a large cargo truck, when a stone lodged between the rear wheels is suddenly loosened and flies toward your windshield. Having no time for evasive action, you watch in horror as the projectile strikes the front glass and leaves a crack on the glass surface. Pulling over at a safe spot to assess the damage, you begin to wonder whether it’s safe to continue driving the car.

Damaged windshield

A damaged windshield compromises outward visibility

That will depend on the size and location of the damage in question. If the crack happens to be directly within your field of vision, enough to block your view of the road ahead, it might be dangerous to continue. On the other hand, if the damage is located along the top or bottom edge of the glass, it should be safe to keep driving until the windshield can be repaired or replaced.

However, if you notice a small crack beginning to spider its way across the rest of the glass, that’s a cause for concern. The same is true for multiple cracks, or if the damage is located at the extreme edges where the glass meets the metal frame that holds it in place. A car’s windshield is made of laminated glass that prevents it from shattering on impact, but factors such as motion flexing, moisture, and temperature changes all exert stress that worsens the effect as time goes by.

Windshield crack spreading

If the damage is small yet steadily spreading, it will eventually cause the glass to shatter

Any damage sustained by the windshield compromises its ability to protect the car’s occupants. It’s important to have it assessed by a competent auto glass repair service to determine if the glass can still be saved or if it needs to be replaced altogether.

We’ll crack the mysteries of car ownership with more tips at Philkotse.com.

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Joseph Paolo Estabillo

Author

Joseph has been a member of various car clubs since he got his driver's license in 2004 – old enough to remember riding in taxicabs with analog meters, but his fascination with cars goes way back. After nearly two decades of working in broadcast media, he shifted gears by coming on board as Philkotse’s first Filipino member and staff writer in 2017.

Apart from his role in Philkotse as Content Team Lead, Joseph has written episodes for Drive, which has been airing on CNN Philippines for five seasons running. He has also delivered content for various car dealerships based in the U.S., spanning multiple brands such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, Dodge, among others.

Keeping his hopes high and his revs low, he dreams about owning a Kei car when he retires. Hates slow parkers.

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