Does this happen to you? You're driving on the highway and all of a sudden you hear a loud 'ping'. Next thing you know, you're scouring your windshield to see if there's a chip somewhere!
A windshield chip may be something small and you may still be able to see through your windshield but it should really be addressed promptly. Small chips can easily be repaired but if left untouched, may grow to be a large crack in the windshield. At that point, the whole windshield needs to be replaced.
Of note, your insurance company may cover the cost of repairing a chip and that usually doesn't increase your premium at renewal time!
Your windshield is actually an important safety component of your car, and most provinces require the windshield to be assessed during a safety certificate inspection. The windshield contributes to the overall strength of your car during a collision. Imagine your car's frame without any windows. Can you see that these side pillars and roof are susceptible to collapsing when struck? The windshield provides additional support to the roof and pillars.
Another function of the windshield is to keep occupants in, thereby minimizing the chance of passengers being ejected during collisions.
One final note about windshields—over time, they are more difficult to see through as the glass becomes etched with very tiny abrasions (like sandblasting). We don't notice it too much as we adjust to the condition of the windshield. In older, high mileage cars, it's especially apparent if you stand near the windshield on a sunny day and look very closely at the glass. You'll see the small etchings. Usually, you don't notice how big of a difference it is until you replace it with a new windshield. The view is MUCH clearer!
So, if you have a chip or crack in your windshield or have noticed that it doesn't seem as clear anymore, consider having your windshield repaired or replaced.
Image via freedigitalphotos