Types of Car Windshield Cracks- Should You Repair or Replace?


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Windshield Cracks

From star breaks to long cracks and bull’s eye chips - what are the types of windscreen cracks? And what should you do about them?

Not all windscreen damages are repairable - but not all of them require a total replacement, either!

Did you know that your windscreen is responsible for holding up 40-45% of your car's entire roof?

When you take that into consideration, you can understand why it’s SO important to keep it maintained, especially when something less-than-ideal happens. Our cars are moving at incredibly high speeds every day (not over the speed limit, mind you) and flying objects or debris can inevitably spring up off the road or off the back of another car onto your windscreen. But then you need to make the decision: should I repair or replace this?

Hopefully, after this read, you’ll have a better idea. First, we’ll talk about six different types of cracks and chips you’ll come across. Next, the factors to consider surrounding repairing or replacing.

1.    Combinations

So we’re going to be talking about a whole lot of cracks - long cracks, star cracks, half-moon cracks and more.

A combination is, as the name suggests, a combination of two or more cracks. As you can imagine, a combination of cracks is a lot more serious (and is going to cost you a lot more) than if you have one type of crack.

The thing about combination cracks is that they’re usually spread out across your windscreen. You could have one type of crack bleeding into one another, so you’ll need to get it replaced ASAP.

2.    Bull’s eye

A bull’s eye crack is one of the most common windshield chips. It’s when a circular object whacks your windscreen straight on and causes a circle-shaped chip.

It looks like it sounds: like somebody has taken aim and shot your windshield straight on target: Bullseye!

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3.    Star break

When you have a circle of cracks that have occurred from a singular chip, that’s a star break. All the cracks spread out from the centre and will elongate over time.

Longer cracks mean a weaker windshield - and that’s a big problem.

It’s better to get this sorted out sooner rather than later. Depending on the depth of the chip, you can repair a star break crack early on. If left unattended, you’ll end up having to replace the entire windscreen.

4.    Long crack

Long cracks are the ones you should pay special attention to. They need immediate attention if they’re longer than 15cm. In our opinion, you should opt for immediate repair even if they’re a few cm’s off 15cm.

Long cracks don’t take long to get longer.

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5.    Floater cracks

A floater crack suspends somewhere off the edge of your windshield. A crack that is at least 6cm away from the outer line of your windscreen is considered a floater crack.

The damage becomes more serious the closer the crack is to the centre of the windscreen.

Floater cracks require immediate attention - they spread like wildfire and could impact the strength of your windshield.

6.    Half-moon

A half-moon chip will look, as its name suggests, like a half-moon. This happens when a non-circular or half-circular object hits your windscreen creating a semi-circle half-moon chip. These chips can also be referred to as partial bullseye chips.

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To repair it or replace it?

Now, your mechanic is hopefully going to be upfront and honest with you about whether they can repair a minor crack instead of replacing the whole screen. Unfortunately, some people may prefer you to opt for the more expensive option: replacement.

No matter the crack or chip, it all depends on depth and size. The rule of thumb is that if the crack obstructs your vision in any way (and no, not just when you look straight ahead) you need to get it replaced immediately.

The damage that can result from a damaged windscreen is far more costly than just replacing it in the first place. You never know when a small stone is going to fly up and turn your tiny chip onto a window-wide crack. The rule of thumb is that if a crack is longer than a R20 note, you need to get it replaced.

Your mechanic should be able to properly advise you, but don’t be anxious about asking around for quotes and opinions.

Yours in affordable car insurance,


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