There’s nothing more unsightly than a cracked windshield. Not only can it obstruct your view while driving, but it can also jeopardize the integrity of your entire windshield.
However, cracks usually start as small stone chips that happen while you drive unless something massive hits your windscreen. If you do not get this fixed, it can spread and become a crack.
Washing a car with a cracked windshield may not be the best idea if you want to avoid further damage for several reasons. Let’s take a closer look at these and answer your question, “Can I go through a carwash with a cracked windshield?”
What Causes Windshield Cracks?
Usually, something that hits your windshield can cause it to crack. Depending on the size of the object that hit your windshield and the speed at which you were driving, the crack will be more or less severe.
At times, vehicles traveling at high speeds can pick up road debris and launch it into the windshield of others. These are causes of significant windshield cracks and damage.
However, sometimes, you may find that your windshield cracked while stationary and with no signs of anything hitting it.
This is usually a sign of a small stone chip that has graduated to a full-blown crack. Stone chips occur when small rocks hit the windshield.
They can be barely noticeable, with only a tiny white dot marking the spot. However, they can worsen due to a change in temperature, a sudden jolt like hitting a pothole, or excessive pressure on the windshield.
The heat from direct sunlight or cold glass due to air conditioning, cold weather, or even cold water causes a windshield to expand and contract. These changes can suddenly cause the chip on your car’s windshield to crack.
Likewise, you shouldn’t jolt your vehicle when driving or even closing the car door. You should also avoid going through a car wash.
What Are the Dangers of Washing My Car With a Cracked Windshield?
If you have a cracked windshield, washing your car can be problematic. Whether a manual or automatic car wash, each has some risks.
Exerting Pressure on a Cracked Windshield Can Cause Further Damage
When you wash your car, you must use pressure to clean your windshield. Although you may not be adding extra pressure to your windshield, any additional pressure can cause the crack to spread out. Therefore, you may have a bigger problem than you started with.
Water Can Seep Into Your Car Windshield
If your car is washed with a cracked windshield, water can seep into the crack. It will not get into the car because windshields are made of laminated glass two-layer thick.
The water will get into the outer layer of the glass and make it impossible to repair. In this scenario, you’ll need a total windshield replacement.
If the Crack is Bad, You Risk the Entire Windshield Caving in
If you have been ignoring that your windshield is cracked, you could find yourself without one if you go through an automatic car wash.
Large cracks can compromise the integrity of the windscreen and the structural support of the car, and additional pressure can cause the entire windscreen to cave in.
Not only is this a danger to you as you are in the vehicle, but it will also allow the water to get in, causing even more damage.
Does This Mean an Automatic Carwash Causes More Damage to a Cracked Windshield?
People decide to wash vehicles when they have a cracked windshield all the time. The people at the car wash can attest to this.
Sometimes, they can go through it without reporting any further damage, and sometimes a small crack can completely ruin the windshield. Therefore, it is in your best interest to avoid car washes.
You should always inspect the glass on your windshield before going to an automatic carwash. Even the smallest stone chips can spread due to being placed under too much pressure.
When the rollers in an automatic carwash start washing your car, they could also be hiding small rocks in them that get picked up from the ground. If these hit your windshield or window, it could cause the stone chips to spread out.
The final decision lies with you. A safety inspection every time you go to the car wash may seem too much work. But, what would you rather deal with: dirt on your vehicles or having to replace a windshield?
What if I Wash My Car?
If you decide to wash your car instead of taking it elsewhere, you must take precautions to prevent further windshield damage. You cannot avoid the whole windshield, especially if dirt is on it. However, you can avoid putting too much pressure when you wash it.
You can even try placing a piece of clear tape over a tiny crack to prevent water from getting into the first or inner layer of glass.
You need to remember, though, that you can’t protect a cracked windshield forever and will have to get your windshield fixed eventually.
Do I Have to Get a Cracked Windshield Replaced or Repaired?
The answer may differ depending on how bad the crack is and how far it extends. You can repair a small crack. However, newer vehicles have sensors on the windshield, and you cannot fix a break close to these sensors.
The best time to repair a windshield is as soon as you get a stone chip and before you get your car washed. Doing this will prevent you from replacing your windshield when the crack inevitably spreads.
Repairing a windshield is always more affordable than replacement. However, your car insurance may cover the costs. Therefore, you should not hesitate to repair your windshield for fear of the cost.
Windshields are more than just pieces of glass. Therefore, you should not prioritize car washes over windshield repairs.
If your windshield is cracked, you should repair it before a complete break. Do not think that just because the crack is on the outer layer, it is not serious. Before the crack gets worse, it is best to have it repaired.