It happens to everyone: you're cruising along on the highway in your RV and suddenly you hear something small hit the windshield and a ding appears as if by magic. While dings in the glass may not seem like a big deal, they pose a significant threat that many RV owners can underestimate. If your windshield is dinged, it's important to understand what you can do to prevent serious windshield damage further down the line.
What Exactly Is A Ding?
Dings are small chips in the outer pane of glass on your RV's windshield. They may resemble a bullseye shape or simply look like a small starburst of cracks converging on a central point. As you drive, vehicles in front of you pick up small rocks and other debris with their tires, which then fling it backwards. When a large piece of debris or a very fast smaller piece hits your windshield, dings can be formed by the impact.
Rarely does the damage extend beyond the outer pane of glass, since the inner pane is covered with a tough, impact-resistant coating. However, breaking the outer glass can expose this coating and cause it to wear away slowly, so future dings may be more likely to penetrate to the inner pane if the problem is left unattended.
How Else Can Unrepaired Dings Put Your Windshield At Risk?
Dings rarely stay small forever without repair. If your windshield has even a small crack, it will tend to grow over time as you drive. Eventually, it may become large enough to compromise your windshield and require a full replacement. Since RV windshields are so large and heavy, the added pressure means cracks tend to worsen more quickly than in smaller windshields. Stress cracking is much more likely in a windshield weakened by dings than in a pristine one.
If a ding is allowed to grow into a crack, the repair process can be much more risky. Some RV windshields simply do not behave well when they are being replaced, and further damage can be caused by even a skilled technician attempting to put in a new pane. New glass is more likely to be damaged by normal wear than the factory default, as well.
How Are Dings Repaired?
Fortunately, you can skip the whole window replacement headache by taking quick action when your windshield is dinged. Though the majority of the process is best left to professionals, the first step to repairing the damage is one that you take yourself: locate some clear RV tape at an auto store or RV stop and cover up the ding to keep out debris. Once you've done this, take your vehicle in to a qualified mechanic posthaste.
Once the window technician has your vehicle, the repair process is relatively simple and affordable. Damaged parts of the windshield are cleaned and filled with a special resin that will dry to the same color and transparency of your vehicle's glass. In the case of longer cracks, small holes will be drilled to facilitate pouring the resin into the hard-to-reach areas. Repairing one ding may cost as little as $50, and you can expect to pay around $10 more for each additional damage spot you have repaired.
Once the resin is poured, the technician will cure it with a UV light and polish it in order to improve appearance and waterproof-resistance. At this stage, you may opt to have a waterproof coating added to your window in order to improve visibility during storms, or you might elect to simply drive away in your fixed-up RV.
If your RV has a case of the dings, consider taking it to your local mechanic at a site like http://www.centralglassutah.com for a quick repair. A small fee and a little time out now is better than spending hundreds on a new windshield and losing your vehicle for several days, don't you think?