After your windshield is replaced, there are a number of factors that determine how long you need to wait before driving. Temperature, humidity, and adhesives are three of them and all factor into the "drive-away" time. Read more to know when it is safe to drive your vehicle following a windshield replacement.

Can I Drive Immediately After My Windshield is Replaced?

You cracked your windshield. It could have been a rock from the truck in front of you, an errant throw by the neighbor playing catch, or a manufacturing defect to blame. Regardless of the “how,” it is now time for a windshield replacement. The easy part is scheduling an appointment with Auto Glass Express. After their friendly technicians meet you at a convenient location to replace your windshield. They perform the work, make sure the insurance claim is submitted, and hand back the keys, now what?

How soon can I drive my vehicle after the windshield was replaced?

As with many things in life, it depends. Most companies will have a standard drive-away time that is anywhere from 30 to 75 minutes. But some windshield replacements can take up to 24 hours to dry. The technician performing the windshield replacement will always have a minimum amount of time in mind, but there are significant factors that affect vehicle drive-away time. In most cases, Auto Glass Express will recommend 60 minutes for a safe drive-away time.

TemperatureA view from inside a car, focusing on the driver's hand on the steering wheel. The driver is wearing a watch and multiple rings. The dashboard displays illuminated gauges, and the scenery outside is a lush, green, tree-filled area, blurred to indicate motion.

The summer season brings warmer temperatures and higher humidity which means faster curing times for the windshield adhesives. It also means that there is a shorter working time as the application process is quicker. With a quick application and fast curing time, the vehicle can be used sooner than if it were cold temperatures where the opposite is true.

In the winter, especially below 40 degrees, adhesives, cleaners, and primers work at a much slower rate. Technicians may use different procedures for cold-weather installs and adjust their process as well. In some cases, the adhesives, cleaners, and primers may need to be warmed during the replacement process so they can serve their intended purpose and work properly. In other cases, the technician may use different products altogether based on the temperatures. Whatever is decided, the minimum drive-away time in winter months is longer than it is in summer months. And it is ultimately up to the technician completing the windshield replacement to determine when everything is safe. As they not only consider the temperature, but also the type of adhesive and the humidity when determining an appropriate drive-away time.

Dangers of Not Following Directions

When driving your vehicle before the minimum drive-away time is reached, complications do exist. If you are involved in an accident or collision, the windshield might not remain in place if the adhesives did not have adequate time to dry. This presents safety issues because the windshield provides structural support to the vehicle’s roof and is an important safety feature. Without a windshield in place, the roof can collapse onto the occupants or they can be ejected from the vehicle through the windshield opening. Additionally, the windshield provides support for airbag deployment. Without proper support from the windshield, the airbags may be ineffective.

Next time service work is done to your windshield, consider these factors and inquire with the windshield replacement technician about a safe drive-away time. They will give you a minimum amount of time that should pass after your windshield has been replaced. And after hearing from them, you’ll know exactly when you can safely drive your vehicle.