Can I Wash a Car with a Cracked Windshield?

I worked at a car wash when I was younger.

Tons of people drove through the car wash with cracked windshields.

Some made through it safe and some didn’t.

By “safe” I mean that some windshields didn’t show any sign that anything had changed. The crack on their windshield was as big – or as small – as when they entered the car wash. But in some cases the crack would spread to the point of no return.

If your question is “can my car’s interior get wet?” then the answer is: very unlikely.

Windshields are made up of a type of glass called “laminated safety glass.”

It is a type of glass used on windshields due to the possibility of human impact to the windshield in case of an accident. This curved “piece of glass” is actually made up of two pieces of glass combined by a plastic layer (called polyvinyl butyral – or PVB) that is laminated between the glass for safety.

The combination of the two pieces of glass with the PVB makes the windshield incredibly resistant to impact and/or penetration of objects. Unless of course you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in this position:

Get a minor windshield repair with Auto Glass City in Florida.

Get a minor windshield repair with Auto Glass City in Florida.

When you get a crack on your windshield, chances are that the crack is only on one layer of glass, usually the outer layer. So, when washing your car the water would not get through the other two layers (PVB and other glass layer) and your car’s interior would be safe from any water entering it.

However, even in the event that both pieces of glass are cracked in some way, it is very likely that the PVB plastic layer did not brake during the impact. This plastic layer is flexible and very strong – even difficult to break through on purpose and with a hammer.

If you want to check out the flexibility of this type of windshield safety glass, I recommend watching this video (make sure to turn your volume down first) showing how these audio waves can brake the glass. It really shows the glass moving back and forth while being held together by the center plastic layer.

In the event your windshield was pierced through by a sharp or extremely heavy object, then you probably already know that water can get through and you wouldn’t be so stupid as to run it through a car wash – am I right? I hope I’m right…

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The risk of washing your car

If all you have is a crack – small or large – you run the risk of it getting much larger by going through a car wash. We call this the “run.”

If the crack runs throughout your windshield it may impact your visibility and your car would no longer be safe to drive.

If you’re in Florida you’ll want to book an appointment with someone like Auto Glass City and have your windshield replaced soon. We come to your home or workplace and replace your windshield, which is most likely covered for free under your auto insurance comprehensive coverage – regardless of your deductible.

This means that no matter what your deductible may be (usually $500 or $1,000) the law requires that your insurance company waives this deductible when it comes to windshield damage. That’s right, you will not pay one cent to have your windshield repaired or replaced.

If you decide to wash your car with your windshield cracked, it is best that you do it manually and avoid putting pressure against the windshield.

You don’t want to be driving around with a cracked windshield for a few reasons. The main one is safety.

With a cracked windshield, the integrity of the windshield is compromised a great deal. The windshield is not only an important part of the structural support to the roof of the car, but it also serves as support for airbag deployment – imagine if you were to experience a collision – the risk of injury or death will automatically increase.

Auto glass expert Bob Beranak says “…the majority of vehicles on the road today do rely on the windshield during airbag deployment in some way.”

Whatever you do, get your car washed soon! How many times can you febreze it out?

Want to book your windshield replacement in Florida? Click here.

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