If your windshield is cracked or chipped, remember that this sort of damage gets worse with time. Cracks gradually spread, growing larger, while chips often end up with cracks radiating out from them like a spiderweb. If you want to keep your windshield from getting worse, here are a few things that you should and shouldn't do.

Don't: Go Through A Car Wash

It's a good idea to keep your windshield clean when it's damaged, but a car wash is not the right way to do it. Water can infiltrate the crack or chip in your windshield, putting pressure on it and causing it to spread. For the same reason, you should avoid driving in heavy rain if possible.

Do: Tape Up Damage To Keep It Clean

Although you shouldn't go through a car wash, you also don't want dirt to get into the crack or chip. Once dirt gets into windshield damage, it can be very difficult to get out again. A crack that's dirty can't be repaired and will mean replacing your entire windshield. Instead of washing your windshield, protect the damaged area by placing clear tape over it. Use a piece just large enough to cover the damage.

Don't: Subject Your Car To Jolts

You're probably already avoiding potholes, and that's good for your windshield; when the body of the car gets jolted that stresses the damaged part of the windshield, speeding up the spread of the crack or chip. But don't overlook other sources of jolts for your car. Try to close your doors gently, avoid rough or gravel roads, and don't listen to bass-heavy music if you can feel it shaking your car.

Do: Park Indoors Or Under Shade

When your car sits in the sun for a long time, it can get very hot; then, when you come back and turn on the air conditioning, it's quickly cooled down. These speedy temperature changes cause the glass to expand and contract, causing your crack or chip to spread. Parking under shade can make a big difference; parking indoors is even better, as it can minimize not only the heat of the summer sun but also the cold of winter.

Don't: Drive With A Crack Or Chip In View

Even small chips that are in your line of sight can distract you and add precious seconds to your reaction time should anything happen while driving. For this reason, if your windshield damage might obstruct your vision, you shouldn't drive your car at all until you can get it fixed.

Do: Contact Your Insurance And A Repair Shop Right Away

The longer your windshield remains damaged, the more likely you'll need a full windshield replacement. Waiting gives cracks and chips time to spread and water and dirt time to get into the damaged area, so it's important not to postpone having your windshield fixed. Contact a professional service, like Hometown Auto Glass, to schedule an appointment.