If you're wondering, “can I drive with a cracked windshield?” The short answer is no. Not only will you put your safety at risk but also you might violate your state's regulations, and the longer your wait on the crack, the bigger the crack gets, the higher the repair costs.
Windshield glass might get cracked due to a variety of reasons. For example, you might be driving, and the car in front of you kicks up a small rock that immediately creates a small crack on your windshield. Similarly, if you don't securely close the vehicle's hood, it might suddenly open, causing some cracks on your windshield.
Whether the crack is minor or major, you must take care of it immediately to prevent dealing with risk situations. Did you know that some states prohibit driving a vehicle with a cracked windshield? Let's dive into the details and help you answer the question, “can I drive with a cracked windshield?”
Can I drive with a cracked windshield?
Although some of us might have minor cracks in the windshield, we don't know that this minor crack can immediately develop into a larger one, putting your life at risk. There are many complications of driving a vehicle with a cracked windshield, and you are not recommended to drive your vehicle if it has a cracked windshield.
Let's take a closer look at why you should not drive a car with a cracked windshield:
1. Safety issues
Although some minor cracks might not sound very dangerous, and they will look harmless to you, they're not. These minor cracks can evolve and become huge cracks in the windshield. As a result, there is a very high chance that this windshield might pop up in your face and the faces of passengers driving with you.
Therefore, if you're not worried about your safety, you should be worried about the safety of the passengers. This is extremely critical if you're driving kids to school or having some elderly passengers.
2. Legal issues
Many states prohibit driving a vehicle with cracked windshields. Therefore, if you don't want to get a ticket from your local police, you must immediately take care of the crack.
3. Visibility issues
Depending on the location of the crack, some windshield cracks might significantly impact your visibility. Therefore, if you are not at risk of a cracked windshield, you might be at risk of getting involved in major car accidents.
4. Effects other systems
Windshield cracks might impact the advanced safety system in some vehicles, especially if you're driving a modern vehicle with sensors. Therefore, you must never wait on a cracked windshield. According to experts at motor1.com, “A crack or chip in just the right spot could limit the effectiveness of your car’s safety systems.”
Experts indicated that the majority of modern vehicles are equipped with front cameras. Therefore, any small crack in the windshield can immediately impact the behavior of the camera. Therefore, if you rely heavily on the camera for your driving, ignoring the cracks will significantly result in a very bad writing experience.
5. Cost issues
The more you wait on a small windshield crack, the higher the potential that this crack will become bigger. Therefore, you will expect to pay much more on labor costs because you might end up replacing the entire windshield.
Furthermore, if you are driving a modern vehicle equipped with some front cameras or probably other sensors, replacing the windshield doesn't end by changing the glass only. You might need to replace or re-calibrate all the other components.
In some scenarios, re-calibrating these components might require a specific level of mechanical skill sets, and you won't be able to get the windshield replaced at a small independent shop where labor cost is much lower. Instead, you will need to get it done at a dealership to find experienced mechanics.
Recalibration is not a simple job, and it differs significantly depending on the severity of the problem. For example, sometimes, you might need only aesthetic calibration where your mechanic relies on specific target boards and lasers to recalibrate the camera. However, there are some instances where you have to re-calibrate the camera dynamically by performing a test drive, which requires much higher repair costs.
Can I minimize the cracked windshields?
If you're not ready to repair the windshields for any reason, it might be a good idea to invest in what's known as windshield hacks to minimize the cracks. Some experts recommend putting some super glue to help maintain the cracks from getting bigger and prevent them from chipping off.
Of course, if you decide to go with the Superglue, you must be careful about where you park your vehicle because the Superglue might get expanded, causing further negative consequences to your windshield instead of fixing it. You will also need to avoid extreme temperatures like very hot or very cold.
Cracked windshield repair costs
Once you're ready to fix your vehicle's windshield cracked, the next question you might ask yourself is how much it will cost you to fix the cracks.
The short answer is it depends. Depending on the severity of the crack and whether it's major or not, you can pay between $60 and $400. More specifically, some mechanic shops fix a single crack between $60 and $100. On the other hand, if the crack is major and it needs a complete replacement to the entire windshield, that's where we expect to pay up to $400.
Repair costs differ significantly depending on where you get the job done. For example, if you get the work done at a small independent shop, you won't pay as much as someone else who is getting the job done at a dealership here. This is because of the high labor costs at dealerships.
States regulations regarding cracked windshields
As we indicated earlier, some states have specific regulations addressing it was similar to the cracked windshields. For example, Illinois prohibits driving a vehicle that has problems that could impact the driver's visibility.
Although their regulation doesn't specifically state issues with a cracked windshield, it directly falls under the same regulation when the cracked windshield impacts your visibility. Therefore, to prevent getting a ticket in Illinois, you must ensure that you don't drive a cracked windshield vehicle.
According to the Illinois vehicle code, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle when the windshield, side, or rear windows are in such defective condition or repair as to materially impair the driver's view to the front, side, or rear.”
On the other hand, if we look at Pennsylvania’s regulations, we will see some restrictions on driving a vehicle that has shattered glass. So Pennsylvania relations are more directed towards the glass with sharp edges, which could cause risks to other people and vehicles.
How do windshields get cracked?
Understanding how windshields get cracked helps eliminate the problem in the first place. Therefore, it is important to take a look at the following reasons for cracked windshields:
1. Small chips
The most common reason for windshield cracks is small chips. We often notice a very minor chip in our windshield, but we don't think that it's a major issue. However, most chips turn into larger cracks in a very short time.
Therefore, it is worth investing in small fixes to eliminate or contain any minor chips. For example, you might want to try injecting some resins inside the chips, which is not a huge investment.
2. Larger debris from the road
Another common reason for windshield cracks is debris or rocks from the road. For example, you probably drove behind a truck that suddenly threw a stone or a rock or even small debris that damaged a small portion of your windshield.
Experts indicated that most roads debris does not cause significant windshield damage when much debris or rocks is hitting the windshield simultaneously, resulting in a significantly damaged windshield.
3. Extreme weather conditions
When the other is extremely bad outside, it can negatively impact your vehicle in many different ways. For example, when it's a very stormy or rainy day outside, there might be some debris or larger elements that could hit your windshield by accident. Similarly, when the temperature is extremely hot outside, it might, in some scenarios, cause some cracks or shattering in your vehicle's windshield.
4. Repairs mistakes
Most little more experts recommend never to try any of the DIY's on your vehicle unless you're 100% comfortable that you can do the job. Mostly, I did not work the first time, and there is a very high chance you can introduce some mistakes. Depending on the type of the mistakes, the consequences might require extremely high repair costs.
This principle applies to changing your vehicle's windshield, and that's why you don't want to do the job yourself unless you can do it or unless you have done it before.
Even dealing with smaller cracks or minor chips might lead to larger problems. For instance, if you tried to take care of any minor cracks, you can by accident introduce larger fractures in the windshield that wasn't there before.
5. Car accidents
Getting involved in major car accidents can easily lead to significant damages to your windshield. However, the majority of car accidents lead to small crack spots. Therefore, it might lead to situations where you need to install a new windshield.
What to do if you have a cracked windshield?
If your vehicle has a cracked windshield, you need to resolve the issue immediately before it gets more complicated definitely. Depending on the situation, solutions can be different.
For example, if your windshield has only a minor chip, you can easily take care of it by filling it with resin, which your mechanic can help you with. However, if the issue has to do with major fractures or cracks, then depending on the depth of the crack, you can decide what needs to be done.
Experts showed that you don't have to replace the windshield in some locations around your vehicle's windshield if the crack is less than 10 millimeters. However, if the crack is larger than 40 millimeters, you'll need to install a new windshield in other areas.
Note that to determine whether it's legal to drive your car with a cracked windshield. Usually, the regulators will look at the depth of the crack and the amount of risk exposing to you and the surrounding people. That's why cracks on the driver's side that block visibility might be treated differently than other cracks on the passenger's sides.
When your vehicle’s windshield gets cracked, you must immediately take care of the issue to avoid putting yourself at risk. If you’re still thinking, “can I drive with a cracked windshield?” You should think twice.
Not only will you be at risk of major glass cracks, but also, you should think about complying with your state’s regulations that prohibit driving a vehicle with a cracked windshield. Furthermore, the more you wait on the small cracks, the bigger it gets, the higher the repair costs.
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