The windscreen is arguably the most noticeable part of any vehicle. A chipped, cracked, or broken windscreen will catch the eye of a passer-by just as easily as an unusual number plate. It is also an equally important part, and any vehicle owner recognises the value of having a clear one.
Like any other part, there is a probability your windscreen will take a beating over the lifetime of your vehicle. It could be a small chip or even a huge spider crack. Either way, you will need to replace it as it is illegal to drive with a damaged windscreen, especially if it affects the ability to see the road. One of the first things you’ll have to consider is the cost of getting the job done.
Hold on there about the estimated cost, and let us review a few things about windscreens.
A windscreen protects the driver from the elements while still conveniently allowing them to peek outside. Its purposes are pretty straightforward and include;
- Shielding the front seat passengers from external objects such as stones, rain, dust, debris, and insects.
- Making the car attain a more aerodynamic body.
- Offering additional support to the car’s roof.
Regular glass, when subjected to extreme conditions, will more than likely crumble or shatter. That is why carmakers use tempered glass in windscreens and even car side windows. For close to a century now, manufacturers in Australia and other regions have used laminated glass to make car windscreens.
Laminated glass car windscreens are made by two sheets of glass bound together by a plastic agent referred to as polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The bound glass sheets are heated up to high temperatures and then let cool for further binding and hardening. This is important as it makes the glass shatter-proof.
The design and process of creation allow the glass to absorb shock rather than react to it. In the event that the screen is broken, any apparent risk of having shards of glass flying around to cause injury is purged. Since we are talking about damage, it important to identify the appropriate cases when a replacement is needed or when a repair is enough to straighten things out.
Should you Replace or Repair your Windscreen?
The right course of action depends on the extent of damage to the windscreen. Some faults on the vehicle’s windscreen may be minor, while others are serious and cannot be overlooked. Ideally, you should have a professional check the damage your windscreen has sustained and then determine the necessary course of action. This could range from basic chip repair through to full replacement.
Car owners can justify just about anything, and in many cases, they have reasons why a little scratch or chip on the windscreen is nothing to worry about. Note that time should never be a factor to consider. Just because your neighbour Jim did not repair or replace his windscreen for a whole year when it broke does not mean that a 3-day old crack on your car should be ignored.
As a rule of thumb, windscreens that have more than three cracks require replacement in most cases. Replacement is also the appropriate option if a crack extends to at least half the depth of the screen or there is a hole or shatter on the glass that affects the driver’s vision. If the damage is very minimal, the most appropriate action is a repair. Note that not all damages have the same effect. A chip may seem small and negligible but could turn out to be serious depending on the location.
There might not be any immediate effects of not replacing a defective windscreen, but it may set you back a lot more money to fix with time. Getting a new windscreen or repairing your current one as soon as possible helps retain your car’s current value. This not only applies to the physical value but also the aesthetic value of your car.
The Cost of Windscreen Replacement
Windscreen replacement cost is not written on stone. In the actual sense, the cost depends on the expert doing the replacement and the quality of the windshield being fitted. The vehicle make and model or age may also play a role, but they will not influence the price as much. Other factors that may affect the windscreen repair or replacement cost are the windscreen size, the nature of defects, and your car’s windscreen availability.
All these factors considered the current figures in cost in Australia range between $250 and $1000. Windscreens that utilise modern technology such as Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems are at the higher end of this price estimate.
Car windscreen replacement doesn’t take long in many auto repair shops: you can drive in and out of the shop in a few hours. To avoid any inconveniences, though, you can go ahead and book a spot before actually visiting the repair shop.
It may also help expedite the process by giving the service provider all the necessary information about your car.
Things to Keep in Mind When Replacing Your Windscreen
If your car is part of your insurance package, you might be in luck. Some insurance providers (may also depend on the insurance policy cover) will completely offset the costs of windscreen repair or replacement under vehicle accident coverage, while others will only subsidise part of the cost (so you still need to pay the excess).
Evaluation by a professional
An ordinary vehicle owner may not easily understand the extent of damage on a windscreen. This highlights the need for an expert. A professional inspection will help you determine whether or not the windscreen needs replacement. Some may recommend a trusted place to get that screen replaced or suggest alternatives to perform a replacement.
The need for re-calibration
Some modern auto-mobile companies have serialised their original parts such that when they are moved or replaced, re-calibration must be done to regain the initial functionality. This is another reason why windscreen replacement is exclusively left to experts. For instance, cars with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are equipped with safety-measure windscreens. These are fitted differently (calibrated) from standard windscreens.
Your windscreen’s technology
A car may be only suited for specific windscreen technologies. You should always ensure that the replacement windscreen is compatible with your car before it is fitted. If your windscreen had rain-sensing technology, you should replace it with an equivalent.
Remember to perform a test drive after the whole deal is done to confirm that the replacement has been completed properly. In case of any issues, contact the repair shop or windscreen expert that installed it as soon as possible.