Ensuring your vehicle is roadworthy isn’t just about making sure the engine is in good condition, the windscreens are a key part of this.
A damaged windscreen can put lives at risk. They are there so you can see the road ahead and pedestrians around you, but they are also essential to allow the proper deployment of airbags, a safety cornerstone of almost all modern-day cars.
Causes of a damaged windscreen
Windscreens aren’t, of course, indestructible. Sooner or later they may chip, scratch, or crack and this can occur through several different methods. Here we are going to look at 4 of the most common causes of a damaged windscreen.
1. Debris on the Road
One thing you can’t control in terms of protecting your windscreen is loose debris on the road. Whether it’s rocks, gravel, stones or litter tossed out by other road users, if they are thrown up by vehicles in front of you, there’s a real chance these projectiles can hit your windscreen as you’re driving. If you’re going at any real speed at all, the impact can cause the screen to chip or even crack. You can limit this by keeping your distance from the vehicle in front of your car and reducing your speed as vehicles overtake you.
2. Poor Installation or Quality
Not all windscreens are created equally. Glass of a lesser quality can mean there are some stress cracks in the glass itself. These cracks, often initially invisible to the naked eye, usually start to appear at the edges of the windscreen, especially if it hasn’t been installed properly. Remember it’s the structural integrity of the glass that helps the car’s structure overall, so if it’s compromised this can have devastating effects. When getting your screen installed, make sure the technicians are fully trained and are using glass that meets OEM standards.
3. Temperature Changes
While the windscreen is there to protect you (to some degree) from the outside temperature, this can also cause a problem for the screen itself. If you leave your car sitting in direct sunlight on very hot days, the glass may well expand to a point where it cracks. If there are sudden temperature changes, these can also create problems. If you use boiling water on a frozen windscreen or crank up the air conditioning on hot days, this can cause the glass to contract or expand and crack.
4. Bangs and Crashes
Even a clear windscreen won’t necessarily prevent you from having a road traffic accident. Hitting an animal on the road or a bird flying in the air will cause damage to your windscreen. To prevent this, always remain vigilant and ensure your windscreen is clean. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure the wipers are in good working order.
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