Pane in my Glass
July 10, 2011 6:51 PM   Subscribe

I cracked my windshield. On the inside. Two years ago. A week ago it's gotten worse. Do I need to replace? Needlessly long DIT.

A solid glass "air freshener"* hanging off my rear view mirror wanged up and cracked my windshield a few years ago after my Saturn hit a ubiquitous pothole in Buffalo after a Superbowl party. I've ignored it since then, kinda. I called a car-glass repair place and they said you can't do the simple suction-sealing-fix-thing if it's on the inside. Okay. So I've ignored it. It's been no problem since then...until now.

Recently, while I was (over)cranking my kayak down on the roof of my car, the crack spread. Just one of the "spider" veins is now out to about 12 inches. The rest of it is fine. It's in the right-middle of the windshield and so has been completely out of my field of view. It is not detectable (by way of running a fingernail over) on the outside. I don't know if that matters.

Do I need to replace the whole windshield? Can I continue to ignore it?

I've passed inspections with the previous spider-crack. What about this enlarged one?

Also, for bonus points...I'm planning on going up in to Canada in a few weeks - if I ignore it (as I'm wont to do) is there any remote chance the border guard will go "hey, we don't allow windshields like that in Canada!"...?

*For the curious, it was a ridiculous terrible smelling fake fishbowl with little plastic fish in it and blue tinted oil. Do not ever put solid dangerous items hanging off your rearview.
posted by carlh to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
If the crack is spreading, you need to replace the windshield soon. Not only for inspections, but for safety. One wrong bump in the road, and your windshield can shatter.
posted by xingcat at 6:57 PM on July 10, 2011

Replacing a windshield is going to cost a lot less than you probably think. Like $200. Just replace it.
posted by kindall at 7:13 PM on July 10, 2011

Plenty of insurance companies will replace a cracked windshield for you with no deductible. It's a better deal for them for you to be driving around with an intact windshield with clear visibility than not. It's probably a better deal for your safety, too :)
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:19 PM on July 10, 2011

Check with your insurance, too. A rock hit my windshield recently (and not for the first time) and my insurance paid for the suction-sealing repair thingy. However, they told me if the repair technician determined the crack couldn't be repaired and the windshield had to be replaced, I would have to pay a $500 deductible. When the repair technician came, he told me if any of the cracks in my windshield spread and I needed a replacement, I should just pay for the replacement out of pocket because it would be way less than $500 (as kindall said). I also agree with xingcat. You don't want to fuck around with this.
posted by pupstocks at 7:20 PM on July 10, 2011

New windshields are great not only because they're uncracked, but because they're clearer without all the pitting that develops over the years, and smoother so your wipers work better. Pair a new windshield with some fancy silicone wiper blades for extra benefit. You can sure continue to ignore this, but it will get worse. If you put a new one in, you'll be happy (once you forget the price).

About border guards - I bet they don't have rules about windshields, but they may have unwritten rules that people driving crappy unkempt cars get a little more ... attention?
posted by fritley at 8:39 PM on July 10, 2011

In some states, you can even choose to replace your cracked windshield with a used one, from a salvage yard/second hand glass place. That would bring your cost for replacement down to about, or even under, $100, straight out of pocket. You might notice minor pitting on a used windshield, but no worse than what you've already got on your cracked one.

Takes 30 minutes for an experienced tech to do the job. So, change it.
posted by paulsc at 8:40 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, for future reference, you can usually add no-deductible glass coverage to your car insurance for a negligible cost. This gives you $0 windshield replacement even though your collision deductible may be $500.
posted by chazlarson at 8:53 PM on July 10, 2011

Sorry I didn't reply last night but these are all great points. Alright, I'll have to just bite the bullet and get the thing replaced.
posted by carlh at 10:08 AM on July 11, 2011

FYI - your windshield is made of two layers, with a layer in the middle of transparent adhesive (maybe polyurethanish). So even if it cracks, it's not going to shatter like a broken side window. It may be annoying to see out of, but it takes a hell of a lot of abuse to bust through a windshield (think moose, or brick, or repeated beating with a golf club by a spurned lover).

(Worked in an auto glass warehouse for 4 years - never heard of installing used junkyard front windshield glass either, usually it is broken very badly in the removal process.)
posted by kpht at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2011

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