When Do I Repair or Replace My Windshield?

So your windshield has a chip

If you have driven through rural Saskatchewan, you are likely far too familiar with the “clunk” of a rock hitting your windshield and the star-shaped scar you see shortly after. Windshield damage can be a frustrating part of vehicle ownership and can turn a leisurely road trip sour in a heartbeat. Sometimes stone chips can appear insignificant, and you may think to yourself “I think I can leave this one alone” or “It’s not that big of a chip, I’m sure it will be okay”. However, unkept rock chips and cracks can grow and become far more costly and time-consuming for you to deal with. And that’s not even to mention the safety risks a chipped or cracked windshield can pose to you and your passengers. 

Windshields are an integral part of your vehicle’s structure and can affect how your vehicle reacts in an accident. Windshields assist with airbag deployment during accidents in a few key ways. Airbags are deployed when sensors detect a collision to reduce the impact on your body. When your windshield is chipped or cracked, it can reduce the accuracy of your sensors and prevent your airbags from deploying properly. Chipped or cracked windshields are also prone to blowouts in an accident which can lead to foreign objects entering the vehicle or worse, a passenger being thrown forward through the front of the vehicle. Lastly, windshields play an important role in the structural integrity of a vehicle’s frame. Windshields assist in buffering the impact of a collision and ensuring the vehicle’s roof does not collapse during a rollover.

Is my windshield road legal?

With all these safety factors at hand, it is important to take every chip or crack in your windshield seriously and consider whether they can affect the safety performance of your vehicle. In Saskatchewan, SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance) has created a guide to help illustrate the different types of chips and cracks while showing which defects would pass or fail an inspection. The two major components of a windshield inspection are the size and location of defects in the glass.

Size:

During an inspection, size typically takes the greatest precedence. Windshield chips that fall outside the main visibility areas of the windshield (e.g. where wipers sweep) are passable while chips inside the wipers’ area of coverage must be less than 13mm (1/2”) in diameter. Cracks in the windshield fall under similar parameters with cracks smaller than 50mm (2”) or that extending less than 50mm (2”) into the path of the wipers being passable. 

 

Location:

As noted in the previous section, the location of cracks and chips is crucial to a windshield inspection as well. Chips and cracks falling outside the path of windshield wipers are typically deemed passable and will not receive a citation.

When does my windshield need to be repaired or replaced?

It is important to note that law enforcement in Saskatchewan may distribute citations for chips and cracks that fail this inspection. When chips and cracks are larger than the passable measurements and fall within the path of the wipers, you are legally required to repair or replace the windshield. Another important factor to keep in mind is that although a chip or crack may pass an inspection, these blemishes in your windshield can often crack or grow into a larger more costly defect that will not pass the inspection. Some windshield imperfections can be fixed with simple repairs and fills. However, there are other factors that may contribute to a complete replacement of your windshield instead.

Depth:

Depth is another factor that is considered when reviewing a vehicle’s windshield. Auto glass is often a combination of multiple panes of glass that are fused together to increase sturdiness and the amount of shock that can be absorbed. When a rock chip penetrates multiple layers of your windshield, it can impact your vehicle’s ability to safeguard you from harsh outside weather. Depth of windshield defects can also amplify the safety risks of leaving the chip or crack unchecked.

 

Amount:

Windshields that have suffered multiple chips and cracks may cause safety implications even if they are repaired. Two or three chips, even when repaired, will take away the original stability of the glass. Lack of structural strength can lead to the shattering of the auto glass during a crash or collision. 

Getting a Superior Glass Replacement

Looking for a professional opinion on the imperfections in your windshield? Bring it to our shop! If you have a small crack in your vehicle’s glass, come see us before it grows into a big problem. We are often able to do simple fills to get your vehicle back on the road in no time.

 

Has your chip already grown into a crack? No problem! We do windshield frame replacements and glass installation as well. We install windshields to meet all manufacturers’ specifications for your safety. Superior Autobody is an SGI Accredited Collision Repair Shop meaning you can skip the SGI appraisal process and do your insurance claim from start to finish with us! Let us take the hassle out of your auto glass repair. Give us a call at (306) 382 3911 or stop by our shop on 1109 Avenue Q South in Saskatoon.

Superior Auto Body Saskatoon has been in business since 1961, and we have been an SGI APPROVED Autobody shop and have been SGI accredited since 1982. There are many reasons we have so many loyal longstanding clients from all over the city, but mostly it is the small, personal touches that we offer to people who have been unfortunate enough to require our services.