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5 Types of Windscreen Cracks, And What They Mean For You

As the owner of a vehicle, you can only do so much to prevent windscreen cracks and chips. When small rocks, hailstones or debris damage your windshield, having a plan of action can help you stay calm and will hopefully save your windshield. Whilst windscreen cracks will always need repairing, it is important to first identify the type and severity of the damage to ease your mind and then evaluate what steps to take next. If most damages are identified immediately, technicians are generally able to save you some cash and repair the windscreen rather than having to undertake a replacement.

There are many things in life you cannot control, but you are always in charge of how you react. Identifying the type of crack will help you deal with the damage. This will make the rest of the process easier, kinder to your bank account and will enable you to organise adequate time for the repair to be completed. When assessing the damage done to your windscreen, it is valuable to consider any degradation and wear that occurs over time and can worsen cracks or deceptively appear as one.

5 Types of Windscreen Cracks and Chips

1. Cracks

Cracks in car windscreens are surface damages caused by extreme temperatures, bad weather and road debris. In Queensland, it is illegal to drive with major cracks in the windshield, particularly if they impede your ability to safely manoeuvre the car. Cracks will first appear as a fine line in your windscreen but can take on many forms, including:

Stress Cracks

Stress cracks are typically caused by sudden and extreme changes in temperature without the application of external force or pressure through loose stones or objects hitting the glass. Your car’s windscreen expands in hot weather and contracts when temperatures drop. If this happens too quickly, the glass can’t keep up and can develop a stress crack. If a stress crack starts at the edge of the windshield, it may be difficult to repair. The chances are even slimmer the bigger the crack. So don’t waste time and contact a Novus windscreen repair professional at the first chance you get!

Edge Cracks

Edge cracks are often, but not necessarily all the time, caused by exposure to excessive heat. They may occur when the summer sun heats the metal and other materials surrounding the glass. This in return warms the edges of the windscreen whilst the middle stays slightly colder. Even the tiniest temperature differences can cause cracks to appear at the edges of the glass. It often starts with smaller cracks that quickly grow considerably large, at between 25-30 centimetres in length, which makes them a significant issue. A windshield with a significant edge will often have to e replaced entirely since edge cracks usually affect the seal of the windscreen.

Floater Cracks

Similar to edge cracks in size and severity, floater cracks begin in the middle of the windscreen – or more than 5 centimetres away from the edge. They come in all sorts of shapes and are often caused by temperature fluctuations. Floater cracks can extend across most of your windscreen, which makes them very dangerous. If you notice a crack appearing at the centre of your windshield, make your way to Novus windscreen repair professionals as soon as possible. They might just be able to save your windshield before the crack extends all the way to the edges.

Crack chip

Somewhere between a crack and a chip, crack chips are small cracks with a minimal impact point. Depending on the location of the crack chip, your windshield might just require a repair – as opposed to needing to be replaced. That is, as long as you don’t dilly dally and wait for the problem to become worse!

2. Chips

Chips are the most common form of windscreen damage we see here at Novus Autoglass. In windscreen chips, a small chunk of glass has come out of the shield. Usually, this is caused by pieces of rock or debris hitting the glass. Professionals also refer to this as a “stone break” or “pit”. Chips can usually be filled by a technician, as long as they don’t have any longer cracks extending from them, are less than an inch in diameter and don’t penetrate the glass all the way.

3. Bullseye

Bullseyes consist of a smaller circle, surrounded by a second, larger circle. It sort of looks like a circular chip with a cone in the outer layer of the glass. They’re essentially just a larger chip, where a piece of glass has been chipped out of the screen. Bullseyes occur when rocks or pieces of debris hit the windshield at high speeds and with a lot of force. If the damage isn’t symmetrical, it can also be referred to as a “half-moon” chip. One of the more common types of windscreen damage, Bullseyes are usually repairable, but it depends entirely on the size of the chip.

4. Stars

Stars are typically small chips with several cracks radiating out of their centre, making them resemble a star. Smaller star patterns can usually be fixed but may remain slightly visible. While the windscreen can be effectively repaired, this could lower your vehicle’s value. A replacement may be a wise choice if you’re looking to sell your car.

5. Combination break

If your windscreen has been badly damaged, maybe because of hail, or as the result of an accident, things get a little more complicated. Where the windscreen suffered a combination of breaks, repairs may become impossible. In this situation, a replacement is usually recommended, but it is best to discuss this with your technician first.

Understanding the damage

After identifying the type of crack or chip, it is important to understand and monitor the level of damage. This will help prevent further damage and reduce the cost of repairs. Here’s what to do:

  1. Take a photo – sometimes cracks can get worse over time, a photo from the date you first noticed the damage can be used to monitor this.
  2. Measure the crack – the size of the crack will help determine whether the windscreen needs to be repaired or replaced.
    Within 15 centimetres it is most likely able to be a repair
    Over 15 centimetres you will generally require a total windscreen replacement
  3. Inquire with a professional – Novus can assess the damage and determine future actions.

What to do until you get your windscreen repaired

A crack or chip in your windshield may not seem like a big deal, but they have the potential to get much worse and cost you a lot more money than necessary. So don’t put off repairing your windscreen and take your vehicle in to be assessed by Novus Autoglass specialists, so the damage can be repaired as soon as possible.

In the meantime, there are many things you can do to keep the crack or chip from becoming worse:

  • Avoid taping the damaged area as this can cause dirt to build up in the crack and make the repairing process more difficult, however, it is better than leaving it exposed.
  • Avoid air-conditioning, defrosting your windscreen or doing anything that will cause a sudden variation in temperature.
  • Avoid rough roads or slamming doors.
  • Don’t hose down, pressure wash, or do anything to your car that could get excessive water in the crack.
  • If the damages are so extreme that it interferes with your line of vision, avoid driving the vehicle altogether and let Novus’ mobile service team come to you.

Ultimately, it is vital to take action instead of ignoring your damaged windscreen – no matter the type of crack. This will prevent further damage to your car and with that, unnecessary costs. Although a glass repair can solve the issue for most types of windscreen cracks, a replacement may be the better option if the damage is hindering your line of vision or is too extreme.