DON’T CRACK UP: TAKE CARE OF YOUR WINDSHIELD AND IT’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU
Windshields do more than keep out rain and bugs. They protect against ultraviolet rays, reduce road noise, keep a vehicle’s interior cooler, and add structural strength that helps protect passengers in a collision or rollover.
If you take care of your windshield, it will take care of you. Here’s how to make sure your windshield stays in good working order:
1. Keep it clean. Use non-ammonia cleaners with soft cotton or microfiber towels to remove road grime and dirt without causing streaks. Avoid ammonia-based and abrasive cleaners, especially if your car has aftermarket window tinting. These products can scratch and may cause tint films to peel.
2. Inspect it regularly. When cleaning the glass, inspect it for chips or cracks shaped like a star or bullseye, and tiny white spots called micro-pits that develop from airborne particles hitting the glass at high speed. Get small chips and cracks repaired right away before they get bigger or become contaminated with dirt.
3. Use a certified glass specialist. Do-it-yourself windshield repair kits are sold in many stores, but the job may be better left to an expert. Professionals use more sophisticated tools and resins that can help ensure a satisfactory repair.
4. Replace it when necessary. A windshield needs to be replaced if it has chips that are bigger than a quarter or in the driver’s line of sight, or cracks more than a few inches long. Replacement costs vary by location and type of glass, but you get what you pay for. Less expensive windshields from cut-rate installers might not meet automakers’ specifications, which could jeopardize your safety.
5. Choose a replacement installer wisely. Most insurance companies use a third party to handle windshield replacement claims. These auto glass claims managers often recommend glass repair shops, but the car owner has the final say over who does the work. To ensure the best possible outcome, use only a trained and certified auto glass specialist.
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