Most Common Types of Windshield Damage
To determine what sort of damage has occurred to your windshield, it is necessary to identify the type of damage. The different types of damage are described in detail below with examples included for reference purposes. Keep in mind that most insurance policies will cover multiple types of damages - you don't need to try and diagnose the problem yourself!
Hail Damage Hail is a particularly dangerous form of damage due to its size and weight - it can cause significant cracks at high speeds which spread across the entire window if not repaired immediately. This category refers to any damage caused by hail or flying debris. For example, if there are small dents around the circumference of your windshield then this would be considered hail damage. If your vehicle parked when hailstones struck the windshield, you may also want to check the other windows on your vehicle for any damage.
Abrasions These are small scratches or scrapes usually caused by sand or grit kicked up by the tires of another vehicle. Abrasions should be treated right away to prevent them from corroding and forming cracks. To fix this type of damage, use an abrasive polish that is made specifically for your windshield. You need to ensure that concentrations of abrasives are not too high as they can cause more problems than they solve. Similarly, if there is any oil present (e.g., motor oil) then it needs to be removed before attempting to repair the problem area. In terms of removing these types of scuffs, a clay bar can be used to remove contaminants.
Chipping Chips are small pieces of glass that break away from the main body of the windshield. This is usually caused by pebbles or other debris flying up and hitting the windshield at speed. If your windshield keeps getting chipped in a specific area, it is most likely due to deeper damage already present underneath the chip itself. The best way to determine this is to look for any tiny cracks around the edges of each individual chip – these cracks may start off very tiny but they will inevitably become larger over time. In terms of fixing chips, you can purchase an advanced resin kit specifically designed for repairing your kind of glass. Quite often car manufacturers suggest not using these kits as they may interfere with proper windshield repair in the future.
Cracks are the most dangerous form of damage that can occur to your windshield. Although they may seem relatively harmless, over time they will grow bigger and compromise the structural integrity of your car's windshield. Professional technicians refer to cracks as spiderwebs due to their characteristic appearance. This type of damage usually occurs when chips or scratches penetrate deeper than is visible to the naked eye - you will need a trained professional with special equipment to fix it properly. It is also possible for these types of cracks to be caused simply by normal wear and tear over time (e.g., age).
Impacts are often considered worse than both chips and cracks due to them having a greater risk of causing injury or death. This is due to the glass breaking into larger pieces that can cause serious lacerations (e.g., flailing glass). Impacts are usually caused by heavy objects like hail, rocks, and even bullets. If you suspect this form of damage has occurred then it is important to seek professional assistance right away.
Crush Crushing occurs when there is too much pressure on the windshield (e.g., from another car). It often causes cracks which make driving extremely dangerous - people have been killed driving down the highway with their windshield shattered! This form of damage also increases your risk of sustaining an insect strike at high speeds which can lead to irreparable damage. If this type of problem arises, you should never remove the glass yourself as it can make the damage even worse.
Sun Damage This is a very common problem but not one that receives much attention. If your car is left in direct sunlight for long periods of time then the glass will start to fade, turn yellowish, and eventually cause cracks. Over time this type of damage can lead to hazing which makes driving dangerous due to decreased visibility, especially at night. To fix sun damage properly, you should use a professional-grade cleaner that uses chemical cleaners or polishes. Do not attempt to repair sun damage on your own - there are special treatments available that require significant know-how and experience to use correctly.