You may not think about your windshield very often when you drive. That is, until the glass becomes obscured, dirty, or broken. Debris can be cleared from your windshield and fog will dissipate, but what about permanent damage to the glass?

Some types of windshield damage can be repaired, such as small rock chips, but certain damage requires full replacement. In this blog, we list seven signs that you need professional windshield replacement.

1. Driver's Side Damage

Once windshield damage blocks your view while driving, you must seek immediate repairs. If your windshield exhibits damage across your line of sight as a driver, it needs to be replaced. Driving with your windshield in this condition could compromise your ability to drive safely and may violate traffic laws in your state.

2. Cracks

Most windshield repair is intended to buff out rock chips and similar damage. Cracks or shattered sections, however, may be unrepairable. Cracks that are more than two inches long, that touch the frame in two places, or that appear deep definitely require glass replacement.

3. Extensive Damage

If you have multiple unaddressed chips, it's possible that you'll need to replace your windshield rather than repairing it. If any of the chips have cracks forming around them, the damage is likely too deep in the glass for rock chip repair. Have an automotive glass specialist assess the damage to determine your next best step.

4. Glass Haze

Not all windshield damage takes the form of dents and cracks. If you notice a white haze on the glass that doesn't wash away, the polyvinyl butyral (PVB) glass treatment may be compromised. PVB is a thin, invisible layer of plastic that makes it so that when automotive glass shatters, it turns into crumbs instead of shards. If the PVB is coming off your glass, you'll need your windshield replaced to ensure your safety in an accident.

5. Internal Damage

Repairable windshield damage only appears on the outside of the glass. Internal glass damage almost always occurs due to impact inside the vehicle, such as an item hitting the windshield when you slam on your brakesto avoid a collision. If you can feel the raised edge or dip of a crack or chip when you touch the glass from the inside, you'll need a replacement.

6. Missing Pieces

You may be able to cover a broken window with a tarp until you can get a replacement, but the same principle does not apply to your windshield. If any portion of your windshield is missing, you need immediate glass replacement. Holes in your windshield can let in pests and moisture.

Worse, missing pieces mean that the entire pane of glass is vulnerable to breakage. Depending on the size of the missing piece, the lack of a full windshield may even compromise the structural integrity of your car's frame.

7. Pitting

During use in extreme conditions, such as through heavy construction sites and on winter roads, debris can begin to affect the surface of your windshield glass. Road salt, gravel, and blowing dirt can cause pitting over time.

This pitting may or may not be visible when you look at your car from the outside. However, pitting can change the way that light hits your windshield, making it difficult to see clearly while driving. From inside your car, pitting may look like many tiny rock chips that create a glare when in direct light.

If you notice any combination of these warning signs, have your windshield replaced by a reputable automotive glass expert as soon as possible to improve the safety and appearance of your vehicle.