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Hearing a loose chipping fly up off the road and hit your vehicle is one of the most frustrating things that drivers have to put up with. Unfortunately there’s never a way of knowing when you’re going to get caught out and whether your vehicle will sustain any damage. Those drivers who do get unlucky however might well be left with a chip or a crack in their windscreen or one of their side windows.

Windscreen repairs/replacement

Skilled technicians are often able to repair chips and cracks in the windscreens of vehicles within a matter of minutes. The important thing is to ensure that the job is carried out as soon as possible, as it is all too easy for a chip to turn into a crack or for a small crack to spread. In certain situations, where a piece of glass is beyond repair, it is necessary to remove the broken pane and replace it with a new sheet of glass.

Windscreen damage

When windscreens suffer damage they are designed to stay intact – this is for safety reasons and helps to ensure that if an object strikes the windscreen, it will not shatter and obscure the driver’s view. If a vehicle was travelling at speed and the driver suddenly lost all vision out of the front of the car, the situation would more than likely end in an accident.

Side and rear glass is not the same

With side and rear windows, the situation is somewhat different. They are not laminated with the same Poly Vinyl Butyral (PVB) coating that is applied to windscreens and allows specialists to repairs small chips and cracks without the need for a replacement screen. While side and rear windows are still extremely strong, they are made of toughened glass in most vehicles and this is designed to shatter on impact rather than remain in once piece. It is for this reason that it is not possible to make repairs to side windows.

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Window replacement

If your one of your side windows or your rear screen has shattered then don’t panic because a specialist will be able to fit a replacement within a short period of time. One of the first steps is to protect the bodywork and the interior of the vehicle to make sure that no further damage is caused. Once this is complete, any pieces of glass that remain in the vehicle can be removed. It’s important to clean not only the floor and the area around the window, but also the interior door panel as shards can fall behind it. Once all of the shattered glass has been removed, the new side window can be simply and quickly slotted into place. It is important that only glass that meets the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standards is used as a replacement. All that’s left now is to ensure that the window mechanism is opening and closing properly and that’s that. Glass repairs can usually be organised through the internet or over the phone within a matter of minutes and so if you do run into trouble there really is no need to panic.

Article contributed by Simon Hardman, a car mechanic dealing mainly with windscreen repair. Sees too many times people leaving cracks or chips too long that turn into much bigger problems.