Clear windshields and mirrors without damage are a must for safety, as well as for maintaining the appearance of your car. Know the signs that your car needs glass replacement so you can act quickly.
Front windshield damage is the most common and often the most hazardous. Rock chips, both minor and severe, will affect most windshields at some point. Those that are smaller than an inch or so across can often be repaired, while larger cracks and chips may result in the need to replace the entire windshield.
There are other issues that can affect a front windshield. Collision cracks and shattering require replacement. Hazing, such as from sandblasting on dirt roads or from the etching of faulty windshield wipers, also means that the windshield must be replaced.
Rear windshields are less prone to chips, but cracks can occur during a collision. When this happens, the glass must be replaced. In many cars, rear windows are prone to snow accumulation, and the weight can damage the seals. This leads to leaks. Seals can sometimes be replaced if there is no other glass damage.
Another issue that can affect a rear windshield is the failure of the integrated defrosting wires in the glass. Often, failure of these means that a new windshield is needed.
The driver and passenger side windows are even less prone to accidental cracking. When one of these windows is broken, it is nearly always due to an accident, such as a wreck or wayward thrown object, or due to a car break-in. Chips around the edges of the glass are another issue, which can lead to water leaks and poor sealing.
Replacement of a side window can be involved, as the door panel must be removed to both clean out the broken glass and to fit the window. Motorized windows may also require extra work to make sure they are aligned with the motor correctly.
Exterior mirrors may not be a windshield, but they are still a glass component that can be replaced by most auto glass services. Collision is the most common thing that leads to broken mirrors, as they can be knocked off or cracked if you are sideswiped or even as a result of getting knocked in a parking lot. Adhesive failure is also sometimes a problem that causes mirrors to come loose.
The degree of damage indicates the extent of the repair or replacement. A collision may mean the entire mirror and housing must be replaced, while a cracked mirror can simply be replaced without the need to replace the housing.
Contact a glass replacement service for more assistance.