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I recently had a windshield stone chip on my RAV4. Unfortunately, I was able to book a time for repair in the dealership 3 weeks after the chip appeared, not sooner than that. I immediately after the chip appeared covered it with transparent tape to prevent dirt in the area of the chip. The chip looks like a star: there is the location where the stone hit and several <2cm cracks, so I assume it is repairable.

The solution of adding a tape wasn't however even a semi-permanent one. When driving in the rain and having to use the windshield wipers, the combination of water and wipers caused the transparent tape to fly off. So, I drove for some distance until I decided to put a new piece of transparent tape again over the chip. Unfortunately, according to weather forecasts there's a chance of slight rain before I finally have the time for repair.

Did I do correctly when I decided to cover the stone chip with transparent tape? Should I keep on adding new pieces of tape as old ones fly off due to water and windshield wipers? Or are they able to clean the stone chip area before the repair?

I have avoided automatic car wash before the repair because a car wash would almost surely cause the piece of tape to fly off; is this a correct decision?

  • I've never heard of people putting tape on their windshields to keep it clean. It's unconventional, but if the effort of replacing that tape for the next 3 weeks is easier than cleaning the affected area before the repair, I don't see any harm in it. – cory May 25 '17 at 17:27
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The web sites say you should use tape and it may effect the repairs if water goes into inside layer. Carwash can make water and cleaning agents to go inside the crack due to use of pressurized water jets.

The question I would ask is if you need to get it repaired. My windshield has several chips and they just stay there and dont do anything.

It costs about 200-300USD to change the windshield of RAV4 according to: https://www.glass.net/cars/toyota/rav4 According to this site https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-repair-windshield.htm it costs $70 to $115 to repair the chip.

So 2-3 chip repairs and you will start losing money on next one. Also one thing to consider is if your insurance will cover it if the crack widens and you have to get windscreen replaced. It may be more profitable to not get it fixed at all.

  • I think insurance definitely affects the economics: repair is free for me, but replacement costs 200 EUR for me (the insurance deductible). I don't believe your price estimate is correct, though; I have a more expensive heated windshield, and there is some advanced technology behind the windshield (camera and rain detector). I have already decided that repair is my option, given that it is free for me. Thanks for the answer, perhaps it will make somebody reconsider repair if they don't have glass insurance! – juhist May 28 '17 at 14:58
  • It is more expensive in Finland perhaps autojerry.fi/hinnat/tuulilasin-vaihto-hinta/toyota/rav4 but if repair is free then of course you should get it repaired. As I mentioned, tape is the recommended method to keep water and dirt into the chip/crack until you can go ti repair shop – Evren Yurtesen May 28 '17 at 16:35
  • It depends on the country. In Australia, even a small chip in the windscreen makes the whole car legally unroadworthy until it is repaired. I.e. you can't sell/transfer ownership of the car, or register it if it is not already registered. – CJ Dennis Aug 18 '17 at 1:57
  • That seems to be incorrect. It would be unreasonable to reject a car because of a tiny chip. There are rules about sizes and locations of chips and cracks. See; vehicleinspectionsaustralia.com.au/via-blog/2015/1/22/… – Evren Yurtesen Aug 18 '17 at 6:14
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So obviously a piece of tape isn't going to prevent a chip from "spider-webbing" into a crack if you hit a pothole or a speedbump or something. I don't think dirt is going to further the damage in the short term. If you never intended to replace the windshield its a moot point, since crack formation is borderline inevitable anyway.

The one thing that your piece of tape could be affecting is water. Water can potentially make its way into the crack, and if it froze afterwords, it might widen it. On the other hand, it might act as a conduit for the water: condensation forms under the tape, then gets in the crack, then freezes. Mind you I've never SEEN this happen, it just seems like something that could happen, if you think about it.

Short Answer: No I don't think its worth it to cover the chip with tape. You don't gain any additional protection by having the tape there. If the chip is fillable, any proffesional will clean the area off before they attempt to fill it.

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