Your car's windshield protects you and your passengers while also providing a clear view as you are driving. Damage means that you must replace the auto glass. Know the common causes of windshield damage so you can work to prevent them.
1. Road Debris
Road debris is likely the main cause of most auto glass damage. Rocks tossed up by tires, gravel flying from the back of a truck, or even sandblasting on dirt roads can all lead to damage. The most likely type of damage is a rock chip, which can usually be repaired if it is less than a couple of inches in diameter. Sandblasting, which leaves small pits all over the window, can't be repaired so a new windshield is necessary.
2. Windshield Wipers
Old or improperly used windshield wipers are also a major cause of auto glass damage. Old wipers can scratch the glass, leaving behind etch marks that will eventually obscure the view through the window. Another issue is using wipers on dry glass, as this scrapes dirt across the windshield and also causes etching. Avoid these problems by replacing wipers regularly and always using wiper fluid when operating the wipers on otherwise dry glass.
Even a small fender bender can result in cracked glass. The car body itself may have minor or even no visible damage, but the force of impact can cause a crack to form in the windshield. Sometimes the crack isn't visible for several days following the accident. Another issue is that the impact can break the seal that holds the windshield in place, which means water will begin to leak in around the edges of the windshield unless you have it repaired.
4. Tree Branches
Falling tree branches, or other debris for that matter, can shatter a car windshield. Although auto glass is impact-resistant, it isn't impact proof. Avoid parking under heavy tree cover or beneath other items that in danger of falling, particularly during windy weather.
In some climates, hail damage is a real concern. If your area is prone to large hail, it's a good idea to park under cover when possible. A garage or a carport will help protect the auto glass. A small chip in the glass from a hailstone can be repaired, but large cracks or multiple hail strike chips will mean that you need to replace the windshield.
Contact an auto glass service in your area if your windshield has suffered damage.