A cracked windshield can pose a major safety hazard and the damage will worsen if not repaired quickly. The cost to fix a crack in your windshield varies depending on the type of windshield repair needed. You can repair a small chip or crack before they spread out by having the repairs completed as soon as possible. In other cases, the damage will be too severe and the windshield will need to be replaced.
Rock Chips and Cracks
Chips and cracks usually occur when gravel or small debris hits the windshield, typically leaving a visible mark. Rock chips are quite simple to repair. It is important to have a rock chip repaired as soon as possible. Ignoring a rock chip will allow dirt and debris to get inside the impact point, which can lead to a more difficult repair and eventually a crack out.
Most rock chips and cracks can be repaired. The size, type, depth and location of the damage are four factors to take into consideration. Results vary based on the age, amount of contamination and the severity of the damage. A certified windshield repair technician will evaluate these factors before deciding whether your windshield can be repaired or not.
Most shops should be able to repair rock chips about two inches in diameter and cracks around 16 inches long. Any crack larger than 16 inches can not be repaired safely, and the windshield should be replaced. All cases are determined on an individual basis. Be sure to ask a trusted auto glass technician for their professional opinion.
Types of Damage
There are many different types of windshield damage. Some chips can be repaired easier than others. A Star Break (short cracks extending from an impact point), a Bulls-Eye (circular damage resembling a bulls-eye) or a Half-Moon (a partial bulls-eye that is not completely circular) can all be easily repaired. A Combination Break (a star break with a bulls-eye), a Clover Leaf (resembles a clover leaf) or a Bee’s Wing (resembles an ‘X’) will take more time and expertise to repair. Most chips or cracks that can be covered with a “loonie” can usually be repaired easily. Multiple cracks are more difficult to repair than a single crack and sometimes the windshield will need to be replaced.
A windshield repair technician will consider either repairing or replacing a windshield when the damage is in the driver’s line of sight. It is possible in some cases that the repair will decrease clarity and reduce visibility. Some repairs may leave behind a scar, some discolouration or unevenness, possibly affecting the driver’s ability to drive the vehicle safely.
If the technician can not see the chip or crack, he may not be able to repair the damage successfully. A crack that is at or near the windshield’s edge will affect the strength and integrity of the windshield, and may need to be replaced.
Windshield damage that cannot be repaired:
- Inside of the windshield
- Damage on both layers of the glass
- Damage over sensors or internal antennas
- Multiple cracks
- Long cracks (over 16 inches long)
- Contaminated damage (water, dirt and debris inside the glass)
- Cracks or chips on the edge of the windshield
- Damage that affects the driver’s ability to drive safely (driver’s line of sight)
Most of the time the repair can be done at your home or your work. A windshield repair technician will inject a resin into the damaged area. Once cured via an UltraViolet light, the resin will harden and prevent the chip or crack from spreading out any further. The repair process usually takes less than an hour and will cost anywhere from $40 to $100, depending on the type of damage and the company that you use.
If you fail to repair the rock chip in time, it will eventually spread into a crack, going all across your windshield. Small cracks can be repaired but it depends on the length, the age and the width of the crack. Most cracks smaller than 16 inches can be repaired, if performed by a certified windshield repair technician.
How much does it cost to replace a windshield?
When a crack has spread all across your windshield, it is time for a replacement. The cost to replace a windshield varies on the vehicle’s make and model. Replacing a windshield on a modern car or SUV will cost anywhere from $150 to $500, and even more if it has an antenna, defroster or various sensors built into the glass. Windshield replacements can be done at your home or you can bring your vehicle to a glass shop. It is important to not drive your vehicle for at least 24 hours after a replacement, to ensure the urethane has had a chance to cure.
Is driving with a cracked windshield dangerous?
Yes. Your windshield holds a lot of structural integrity of the vehicle. Not only does it protect you and your passengers from rocks and debris, it also helps protect the occupants in an accident. The roof of the vehicle can collapse or the airbag deployment could shatter the damaged windshield, creating additional hazards and injuries in an accident. It is important to replace your cracked windshield as soon as possible.
How to get a windshield repair quote?
It’s now time to do some research. Obtaining a quote is fairly easy and should not take that much time, thanks to the internet. It is important to do a price comparison among different glass shops. Obtain a list of local auto glass repair shops near you. Read their online reviews to learn more about their reputation and their quality of workmanship. A shop that can come to you and complete the repair in a timely and professional manner will usually have higher ratings than a traditional brick and mortar location.
It is better to choose a shop that specializes in auto glass repair as opposed to a dealership or auto body shop that may just outsource the work and charge you a marked-up price.
Many auto glass shops will have an option for you to request a quote online. This saves you the hassle of calling and waiting on hold.
Once you’ve gotten a few quotes, it’s time to start comparing prices to determine which option best suits your budget. Be careful as to not base your decision solely on price; cheaper does not always mean better. As they say, you get what you pay for. A glass repair shop that has a poor reputation will cost you more in the long run than a shop that costs a little bit more but has an excellent reputation.
After you’ve made your selection, it’s time to book the appointment. Some shops will let you book an appointment online and others may require you to call ahead. Use the quote you were given as the basis for the price. Keep in mind that the quote may change due to unforeseen circumstances.
Questions to ask an auto glass repair shop:
- What type of warranty do you offer?
- Do the materials used meet or exceed motor vehicle safety standards?
- Are you a certified and licensed auto glass shop?
- Do you offer a mobile service or do I have to bring my vehicle to you?
- How long will this take?
- How soon after my glass is repaired or replaced can I use my vehicle?
Tips and Tricks
- Repair your rock chips as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of the damage expanding and needing a replacement.
- Find a windshield repair service that offers a guarantee on repairs. Some companies will offer to apply the cost of the repair towards a replacement, should the repair fail. Others will offer a money-back guarantee. This gives you peace of mind when repairing your windshield.
- Try to keep a safe distance when following other vehicles, especially semi-trucks and gravel trucks.
- Avoid any large potholes or speed bumps while driving with a damaged windshield.
- Refrain from using the air-conditioning or defrost on the windshield, prior to having your rock chip or crack repaired.
- Repair or replace your damaged windshield promptly. This improves the vehicle’s resale value and keeps you and your passengers safe.
Thank you for reading! We hope this post has helped you with your windshield repair research.