Windscreens have been generating press lately.
Not many people give them a second thought. The windscreen has evolved in the last ten years, though. Windscreens are thinner than they were in previous years, but they are still costly to replace if a chip develops and turns into a crack.
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With companies investing heavily in advertising across all mediums for you to call them out as soon as you notice the slightest chip, you may be wondering if it’s worth the price. Below, we explain the constitution of modern windscreens, and why fixing a chip as soon as it appears may be a more cost-effective solution in the long-term:
Modern Windscreens are Thinner
Surely windscreen glass is uniform, people may say. Not so –over the last decade, windscreen glass has become much thinner and, as a result, more prone to fractures.
As windscreen glass has changed, so has the way it breaks. Every time a windscreen has a chip in it, it takes the form of a star made up of thousands of smaller microcracks. They’re invisible to see, but they’re definitely there, in the very centre of that star.
Once there, those microcracks will continue to grow depending on a variety of factors. But while it’s impossible to predict when a chip would become a crack, the formation of thinner glass means that a crack will definitely appear at some point in the future.
Chips can be classed as ‘living damage’. Research shows that the temperament of modern windscreens means that a damaged one has a reduced instant failure strength of up to 70% when compared against an undamaged one, making it a case of ‘if’ and not ‘when’ a chip turns into a crack.
Every Chip Becomes a Crack
Thinner glass means weaker glass, so say the experts. Like metal fatigue, small stresses affect microcracks present in the chip, with enough pressure causing instant failure in the glass.
Common sense dictates that every bump, jolt, sudden stop and more weighs heavily on these microcracks. In short, it isn’t able to stand up to the rigours of driving conditions and other external influences over a period of time, depending on how much the car is used.
A number of consumer surveys by specialist windscreen companies support claims that a chip’s natural progression is to become a crack.
What’s more, results often underline that the vast majority of participants notice that a chip eventually became a crack within a matter of weeks up to six months.
Educating the Public
These same customer surveys also pinpoint that the majority of people were oblivious about the lightweight nature of modern glass in cars, and the serious implications stress on a small chip could have.
Not many people understand how a variety of different conditions can affect microstresses in a windscreen chip and shatter the car’s glass.
Temperature changes provided by a car’s air conditioning help contribute to creating cracks from windscreen chips. Living damage could be encouraged by temperature conditions, whether hot or cold, and also cabin moisture.
The way a motorist drives and where can also have a significant impact. If somebody’s journey features a number of bumpy roads, then naturally those jolts on the car will reverberate through to the windscreen, and worry the chip. The more erratic someone drives, the quicker the chip will become a crack.
A Cracking Deal
Though some advertisements may appear alarmist, the majority of companies that specialise in windscreen repair are actually trying their best to save people money in the long run.
There are two options available for people that find a chip on their windscreen. They can either get it looked at and fixed as soon as possible, or leave it, ride their luck and pray it doesn’t become an unsightly crack.
If people opt for the latter then they’d best save up. Replacing a windscreen can be costly, and as soon as it does crack, then they’ll have no other option but to invest in a brand new windscreen.
Image provided by mr-chip.co.uk
Written by John Meadowcroft