By Lauren Reid
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018
Will nail polish fix a chipped windscreen? Can safety glass break?
MYTH: You can repair a chipped windscreen with nail polish
Using nail polish to fix a chipped windscreen seems like a simple trick, but according to RAA motoring expert Mark Borlace, this one is just an old wive’s tale. Even worse, using nail polish on your windscreen could make repairs more costly.
“If it sounds too good to be true – remember, it usually is,” Mr Borlace says.
“You could actually contaminate the chip and cause it to be unrepairable, so what might have been a simple repair job turns into a whole windscreen replacement.”
Instead, place some clear tape or a ‘saver patch’ over the chip to stop dirt and other contaminants from entering the chip until it can be fixed.
MYTH: Windscreen safety glass can’t break
If you’ve ever been in a major crash you’ll know safety glass can actually break, but the difference between safety glass and normal glass lies in how it breaks.
Vehicle windscreens use laminated glass which is actually two sheets of glass with a ‘sandwiched’ laminate between the two.
So when a windscreen is hit by a force that would normally break it, the glass can shatter but it will generally maintain its shape and integrity, or break into small, safer pieces.
MYTH: It’s safe to drive with a cracked or chipped windscreen
VERDICT: Varies on a case-by-case basis
Windscreen damage can be classified into six main types – cracks, stars, horseshoe chips, bullseye chips, crater chips or a combination of all five.
Generally speaking, cracks are considered to be the most serious type of windscreen damage as they represent an actual fracture in the underlying glass, rather than superficial damage to the outer layers of laminate that protect a windscreen.
If the crack is small and not in your windscreen’s Critical Vision Area – which stretches 150mm either side of your steering wheel – then it’s generally still safe to drive short distances until it can be repaired by a qualified auto glass technician.
The sooner it’s dealt with, the better the chance of a successful repair and less out-of-pocket expenses.