It seems like the only time you ever discover a chipped, cracked, or broken windshield is when you're already in hurry to get somewhere. Calling for mobile or on-site windshield repair and replacement is the fastest solution, but there's still a mandatory wait for the work and for the adhesives to set and cure properly. Aside from waiting for the repair or replacement to be completed, you might want to wait at least a few hours to do any of the five following activities.
In general, even the fastest adhesives and crack-setting resins need at least a full hour to cure enough to handle the pressure and vibration of driving the car. Trying to drive too soon after a repair can lead to a failure that further damages the windshield. Once a crack or chip is repaired, it cannot be repaired again. If you drive too soon and ruin it, the only option left is to replace the entire windshield. Some adhesives require a much longer wait before you can drive even a short distance, but these adhesives tend to offer advanced bonding and gap-filling features that make it well worth waiting for the longer cure time.
2. Wash Your Car
Handwashing is fine within a few hours of most windshield repairs and replacements, but watch out for commercial car washes. The pressure applied by the brushes, vacuum units, and even the sprayers used in touchless washing facilities can all damage adhesives even after they're safe for driving. Give your car at least 24 hours, or preferably three to four days, before you take it through an automated car wash to clean it off.
3. Get in an Accident
No one plans to get in an accident, but staying off of major roads and limiting your driving time after a windshield repair or replacement does reduce your risks. Even though most adhesives cure within a few hours to a strength capable of supporting the windshield, the total strength of urethane or resin isn't gained for at least eight hours in most cases. This means that getting into an accident because you drove too soon after repairs could result in more damage to the car and greater injuries. Windshields play an important structural role in supporting a car's frame, which is why most windshield repair services will only fill small cracks. Waiting at least eight hours until driving in traffic again gives you the greatest protection in case of an accident.
4. Close All of the Windows
Small windshield repairs are mostly visual and rarely structurally important, so you can open and shut your windows as you like as soon as the repair is done. However, when large cracks are filled or you have the entire windshield replaced on site, keep at least one window cracked open an inch for the first 24 hours. This prevents your car from pressurizing inside and pushing outward on the windshield glass as the adhesives are curing.
5. Replace Requirement Stickers
Finally, give your windshield repair a few days to settle in before replacing all of your most important stickers that require a trip to an inspector or dealership. There's always a small chance of a repair failing so that you must replace the windshield instead. Waiting until you know for sure if you're going to keep the windshield the way it currently is can save you a lot of driving back and forth to retrieve new copies of the same stickers and automated passes. This is especially true when you're replacing an entire windshield in the first place and are concerned about it failing and needing a second replacement.
Contact a company that offers windshield repair services for additional advice.
Although most car owners understand that a cracked or chipped windshield can be a hazardous thing, few understand exactly how serious the damage can be. From structural weakness to improper repairs, it's in your best interest to understand exactly how these cracks affect your car and what you should do about them. This site will help you understand just that. I've spent most of my life in the garage, and I've seen first-hand how a crack or chip in the windshield can affect the car and the integrity of the glass. I hope the information here helps you understand why it's so important to address it right away.