Your windscreen is not only an expert bug-catcher and shield between you and the elements, it plays an important role in the structural design, integrity and overall safety of your entire vehicle.
Your windscreen can house interlinked ADAS safety sensors and technologies, and is paramount in preventing your roof from collapsing in an accident. So, windscreens are pretty significant. Even a minor compromise to your windscreen health could pose serious risks.
Windscreen damage is one of the most common vehicular frustrations (second only to ridiculous petrol prices and locking keys in the car). We’re going to explore the most common windscreen damage dangers, and what to do about them.
Stones and other road debris
We are the land of roadworks, gravel shoulders and chipped windscreens. It’s extremely common for stones, gravel and pebbles to be thrown at speed by the tyres of other cars or trucks. These solid projectiles can easily cause pesky cracks or chips to your windscreen. To get into the physics of how this occurs, we’d have to talk about tangential velocity and centrifugal force – let’s not do that.
Basically, road debris can get caught in the tread of a tyre, as the tyre rotates, by the time the stone has reached the top of the tire, it will be travelling at twice the speed of the vehicle. As the stone is propelled backwards and upwards straight towards your windscreen, the impact is magnified by the speed at which you’re travelling as you collide.
Windscreen damage from road debris usually occurs from vehicles travelling in front of you, or passing you. Avoidance is mainly luck. But you can protect your car from debris if you take extra care on unsealed roads, keep a safe distance from cars in front, and reduce your speed when being overtaken. You may (literally) dodge a bullet.
Extreme Changes in temperature
Windscreens may be super-tough; but they’re still glass, and glass doesn’t like pressure. We experience some fairly wild temperatures throughout Australia which can cause windscreen glass to contract or expand. The main cause of these extreme temperature variations are humans, therefore avoidable:
- Don’t leave your windscreen in direct sunlight on a sweltering hot day and then blast the aircon inside. Try and park in the shade or use a sunshade where possible. Allow hot air to escape the vehicle and use the aircon to lower the internal temperature gradually if your windscreen is red hot.
- Never defrost your windscreen with very hot or boiling water on an icy day. In extreme cold it’s not recommended to blast your car heater either. Use your defroster to allow the windscreen to warm up gradually. Chattering teeth are better than a shattering windscreen.
If your windscreen is already weakened by a small crack or chip it is more likely that severe cracks or even shattering can occur from rapid temperature changes. Make sure you get your windscreen repair done as quickly as possible, and well before winter and summer!
Storms and bad weather
Mother nature can be unpredictable, and we enjoy many styles of her fury. Thunderstorms, cyclones, dust-storms, bushfires, mini-tornados, snowstorms and hailstorms can all send road debris, unsecured items, tree branches, or balls of ice hurtling towards our windscreens. Sometimes it even rains fish! We’re a diverse climate. It’s best to avoid driving in storms and bad weather, and secure your vehicle in a garage or undercover area wherever possible. Maybe think about moving if it starts raining fish.
Incorrect windscreen repair or installation
Shoddy workmanship is a huge danger. A poorly installed windscreen could literally pop out at any time, particularly in an accident or any of the scenarios mentioned above. In modern vehicles, the windscreen is used as a support surface for your airbags to ensure they’re positioned correctly on deploy. If a poorly installed windscreen pops out as an airbag inflates, both windscreen and airbag are of no protection.
If a windscreen repair is carried out incorrectly, or poor quality adhesives and resin are applied, it’s not likely to renew the integrity of the glass. You’re at risk of diminished safety, damage recurring and spreading further, or premature windscreen replacement. If you’re going to do it, get it done right; and by someone who offers a decent warranty (ideally lifetime).
Low Quality Glass
Cheap and cheerful isn’t a great approach when it comes to windscreen glass. Poor quality aftermarket glass is more likely to bring with it manufacturing defects and weaknesses. They may not be visible; but when they are there, weak spots can easily become big fat problems. Windscreen glass quality can vary significantly, the best way to avoid dodgy glass is to carry out replacements with a reputable certified company. Work with experts who source quality glass that meets Australian standards, the Australian design rules, and vehicle manufacturer guidelines.
How to avoid windscreen-busting culprits
You could either park your car in the garage wrapped in bubble wrap and never drive it…ever; or keep your windscreen maintained, and a couple of bucks aside to call on a reputable professional in the event of windscreen damage. It happens to everyone. Most minor cracks and chips can be repaired by a Novus technician in 30 short mins or less, even when we come to you with our fully mobile service; because we seriously know our windscreen stuff.
Novus Auto Glass are the windscreen repair experts. Specialising in windscreen fixing, windscreen replacements, glass restoration and other services, Novus can help you get back on the road. Call 13 22 34 to bring Novus to your door.