It can be inconvenient to find that you need your van or car windscreen replacing, but don't worry, there is an easy way to go about it. Simply request a windscreen replacement price from a member of myWindscreen - one of the leading windscreen replacement networks in the UK. With more than 300 vehicle glazing technicians located UK-wide, going online and searching for 'windscreen replacement near me' will mean you can easily find a local expert technician. You will be dealing with a genuine windscreen replacement specialist, someone who can meet you at your workplace, your garage, your home or the roadside, to replace your windscreen without fuss. Our aim is to make getting your car windscreen replaced as simple and painless as we can. The moment you see that your windscreen has a large chip, a crack or is actually smashed, contact our experts and request a no-obligation replacement quote..
Replace or Repair?
This is the first question that all our technicians ask before proceeding to replace a windscreen. They operate on a 'repair first' basis, which means they will always see if a windscreen repair is possible before they advocate a total windscreen replacement. Cracked or broken windscreens cannot be repaired, they need to be replaced, and so do damaged side and rear windows.
In the immediate area of the driver's vision, a small amount of damage (up to 10mm in diameter) can be repaired; any larger than that and it's a replacement. Outside the direct field of view, the repairable areas of damage get a little larger.
If your car insurance includes windscreen cover, this means that the windscreen replacement cost is covered, as well as the cost of installation, but you may well be charged an excess. Once a windscreen has been removed from a vehicle, the glass itself cannot be recycled as it is a composite of glass and plastics, it therefore goes straight to landfill, which is something that we are keen to avoid if possible.
Repairing your windscreen is always the best option, but it's not always possible. The good news is that our experts can be trusted to give you reliable advice on your best course of action, whether that is to repair or to replace your windscreen. For further information, go online and request a quote today - there's no charge, and no obligation.
What does a windscreen replacement involve?
A replacement windscreen can usually be fitted by an expert technician within 1 to 2 hours, depending on how much cleaning up is required. The first part of the process basically involves removing the old windscreen and clearing the surrounding surface of any old adhesive and other debris. If there is a possibility of rain or poor weather, it may be necessary to bring the vehicle under cover. Many mobile windscreen fitters have a special awning on their vans to provide cover against the elements.
If the existing windscreen is intact, maybe just chipped or cracked, removal is usually a straightforward operation. The windscreen technician will shield the vehicle bonnet and dashboard from damage and dust with a protective cover. The wipers, rear view mirror and any cameras or sensors will be disconnected and removed as necessary.
The next step is to release the glass from the retaining seals and adhesive, using a set of specialised tools, and to pull the screen free using glass handling equipment. The site then needs to be cleaned thoroughly so that the new screen can be fitted correctly.
In cases where the old windscreen is shattered or broken, the removal process is a little more complicated. As well as cleaning up the site for the new screen, the inside of the vehicle will also need to be cleared of all remains of broken glass and debris. The replacement process for a shattered windscreen usually takes a little longer than a straightforward swap-out of a chipped windscreen.
Once the old windscreen has been removed, the new glass will have quick-drying adhesive applied around the edges, and then be carefully placed into position. The final steps are to reconnect the equipment that was disconnected, and the windscreen checked to ensure that everything is working correctly, and it is totally sealed.
What does it cost to replace a windscreen?
Windscreens vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. The simplest windscreens can be replaced from around £100 to £150, but once you get into the realm of sensors and smart windscreens, the sky appears to be the limit. Prices from £400 to several thousands can be quoted.
If your vehicle insurance includes windscreen and other glass cover, the cost of a windscreen replacement will be covered by the insurance company, but you may need to pay the excess. With some policies, the excess is waived. The good news is that windscreen claims on your insurance policy don't usually result in a premium increase.
Will your windscreen pass the mot test?
Having your car or van fail the MOT test for a windscreen problem can be a real nuisance, so before you go for the test, get your vehicle glass condition-checked by an expert. Even small areas of damage can cause an MOT fail, and if the damage is in a critical area, and too large to repair, then a replacement windscreen will be required.
If your windscreen fails the MOT test, you will probably be under time pressure. It's easy to feel obliged to accept a windscreen replacement or repair from the garage who did the test, or they may choose to bring in their own choice of windscreen replacement operator. It's better for you to be in charge of the process. Get your windscreen checked out beforehand by one of our expert technicians. If it turns out that you do need a replacement windscreen, you can get the work done at a time to suit you, to the standard you expect, by your technician of choice.
The windscreen - an advanced piece of technology
The earliest cars did not have windscreens - car designs were based on carts and coaches, and early drivers usually relied on goggles to be able to see clearly when at the wheel. This was just about adequate when vehicle speeds were very low, but as speeds increased, the goggles proved ineffective.
ENTER THE WINDSCREEN
The answer was the windscreen, and when windscreens were first installed, they were made from a flat panel of ordinary window glass. Their function was to shield the driver and front passenger from rain, wind and flying debris. As car speeds continued to increase and the roads became busier, it became apparent that the glass was itself a hazard in a collision. The panes would break into sharp splinters on impact, and many people suffered severe injuries to faces and limbs from flying fragments.
The initial solution was to replace the window glass with toughened glass, which was harder to break. This introduced a new problem - when toughened glass does break, it tends to form long dagger-shaped pieces, with even more potential for injuries.
THE MODERN WINDSCREEN
The solution that was finally arrived at was the one that we are benefitting from today - our modern windscreens are a sandwich of layers of toughened glass with a thin polymer (plastic) sheet in the middle. Modern glass is more likely to chip on impact than break. If it does break, the shards that are produced tend to be small and cube-shaped, and they are retained by the buried plastic layer. This results in the 'spider's web' effect of crazing you often see on broken windscreens.
A VITAL PART OF THE CAR'S STRUCTURE
If you look closely at your car's windscreen, you will see that it is actually quite a complex shape, and so transparent that you wouldn't know it was made from several layers of material. The flowing shape and total transparency is achieved by heat and intense pressure of a moulding process used during manufacture.
It is against the law to drive with a weakened windscreen, for the simple reason that roughly 30% of the car's structural strength is achieved through the screen's shape and form. Any damage, even a small chip or a scratch, can develop into a crack through changes in temperature or hitting bumps hard, which can mean that your vehicle becomes structurally unsafe.
Left unrepaired, small chips will also fill with water and dust, which can be hard to remove. If the windscreen is repaired with resin, trapped dirt will make even the most expert repair remain visible.
A damaged windscreen needs to be repaired in a timely manner, otherwise a simple repair will turn into a windscreen replacement, which is a much bigger job. When it comes to windscreens, timely action can prevent bigger problems in the future.
Windscreen technology is developing all the time, with many of the developments motivated by the move towards self-driving (autonomous) cars. Rain and light sensors, which operate the wipers and switch on the lights automatically, are already commonplace. Heated windscreens are already making defrosting the car convenient on cold days - you can detect a heated windscreen by looking for very faint wavy lines within the glass. Heated windscreen wiper docks are also fairly common.
Window tints for aesthetics, privacy and to prevent dazzle when the sun is low in the sky have been popular for a long time. Solar reflecting coatings are already applied to the internal core of the windscreen to deflect the sun's rays, and prevent UV light getting inside the vehicle. This protects the interior materials of the vehicle from fading in sunlight and keeps heat out, improving the efficiency of air conditioning. Heads-up displays (as used in aerospace and military aircraft) are not yet common, but they are available in some high-end vehicle models. As the technology becomes cheaper and more readily available, the time will come when they are standard on most vehicles, which should help to improve road safety, while there is still a human driver at the wheel.
However clever the windscreen technology is, the screens themselves are still made of glass, and liable to get damaged in everyday use on the roads. For the foreseeable future, stone chips and scratches will continue to happen, and windscreens will still get damaged beyond repair. It's a good job the myWindscreen technicians will be there to assess your windscreen problems. Can it be repaired or do you need a replacement windscreen? You can rely on our experts to make the right decision, and to offer you a value for money service. Wherever you are in the UK, contact us now for a free, no-obligation quote for your windscreen replacement.