Most of us have experienced the annoyance of a stray stone flying up while driving from a passing vehicle, only to have it land on the windscreen and leave a ruddy, old chip.
It’s never ideal, but yes, it happens. The real question is do you always have to get it repaired, and in the instances that you do, realistically, how long can you wait?
Whilst we’re in the business of windscreen repairs, the core of our service is offering good, honest value to you, so we’re going to cover this topic as openly and as objectively as possible. We also understand that repairing your windscreen is an inconvenience, so you’ll only want to do it when absolutely necessary, so we’re here to help you make an informed decision – and to save you from waiting too long and doing some real damage!
The obvious first port of call when deciding how long you can wait (or whether you need to get your windscreen chip repaired at all) is to assess the size of the chip. If the chip is immeasurably small, it is less likely to immediately crack and spread so you may have a little leniency on when you get it looked at by a professional.
However, the more you drive your car (causing vibrations in the windscreen), the more extreme the temperatures (icy weather or hot days) and the more dirt the chip is exposed to (these can prevent the effectiveness of repairs later), the less time you have to wait.
For small windscreen chips
If you drive carefully and infrequently, the weather is mild and you keep your windscreen as clean as possible, the crack will realistically last a good month or so. However, the majority of us that drive do so regularly and may not always keep our car squeaky clean (and we most certainly can’t control the weather!), so in usual cases, you should get it looked at within a fortnight, maximum.
For larger windscreen chips
However, for bigger chips, you’ll need to get it looked at much sooner as these are much more likely to crack and spread, since water and dirt are more able to get into the space within the glass. Anything measurable – eg. from 1-2mm upwards – would be classed as a large chip, and these should be seen within a 7-10 days, maximum. However, if you notice the chip suddenly spread into a crack, your windscreen is showing serious vulnerability in that area, so you need to get it seen to immediately.
Preventing windscreen damage while you get it fixed
One thing that you can do no matter the size of your windscreen chip is to do prevent dirt getting into the chip as much as possible. One simple trick is to cover the chip with just a little bit of sellotape, but keeping a cloth and some cleaning fluid handy in your car also works. Sellotape also reinforces the area and can seal off the area preventing water from getting in the chip, which has the potential to freeze in cold weather and crack the glass.
The one important thing to note is that the sooner you get your chip or crack repaired, the better, since there are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of the damage worsening, from the weather, to dirt to simply the impact of driving your car. If you are unsure of whether your chip is too small to be repaired or not, the best thing is to consult your local windscreen repairmen such as ourselves, and just ask. If it’s too small to fill with our UV-activated resin, we’ll let you know and we won’t charge you a penny, but if it does need fixing, we can sort you out right there and then.
Given that it’s that time of year on the roads when salt gritters are often frequenting our highways, you are at a much higher risk of chipping your windscreen than normal – so do be careful out there! Stay back from trucks that could drop loose debris or big vehicles that could spit up stones from the road.
If you do get hit, try not to wait if you can – you can call us out on the same day, so there’s no need to wait to get to the shop! But if you do forget to sort it, clean it and seal it. Please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0800 232424 or fill out our contact form for a quick reply from our experts!