Should You Replace or Repair your Windshield?

It has happened to most of us: we are driving down the highway and CRACK! A rock flies right into the windshield. It’s a pain and annoyance that once meant you had to replace the entire windshield. Luckily, with new technology, chips and cracks in the glass can be repaired and salvaged, depending on the severity of the damage.

Whether you should replace or repair depends on several factors such as length, depth, and location of the damage. Let’s go over how to make the decision between replacement and repair.

How Soon Should You Fix Your Windshield?

It is easy to want to put off repairing a little chip in your windshield, especially if it doesn’t obstruct your vision. Windshields need to be replaced or repaired as soon as possible. A small crack can spread if you hit a pothole or are driving down a bumpy, unpaved road.

In many states it is illegal to drive with a cracked windshield. It is an integral part of the overall structure and strength of the car, and damage should not be ignored.

How to Tell When Windshields Can Be Repaired?

Windshield repair is a process where resin is inserted into the chip or crack, then cured and polished for strength and clarity. If you are obsessive about the appearance of your car, repair may not be the right option for you. Windshield repair serves to protect the glass from further damage, but does not always look perfect, and can leave a slight blemish in the glass.

Repairs are a great way to save money and salvage a windshield, but there are limitations. Not all cracks and chips can be repaired. Sometimes a full replacement is required. It depends on the size, location, and depth of the damage.

Size – A general rule of thumb to follow is any chip smaller than a quarter or crack shorter than three inches can be repaired. Depth, location, and expertise of who is repairing the glass also come into play, but usually any damage larger than the sizes mentioned needs a full replacement.

Location – As a rule of thumb if there is damage in the following areas you will need a full replacement:

·      In the drivers line of site: a repair can cause distortion in the glass, this is fine in other parts of the windshield, but in front of the driver can inhibit their vision

·      On a side or back window: most side and back windows are made of tempered glass, which cannot be repaired like the laminated glass used for windshields

·      Obstructing sensors: damage that blocks the view of lane control, automatic braking, rain sensors, etc. cannot afford to be distorted, they need clear vision to function properly

·      Damage to outer edge of the glass: cracks spreading to the edge of the windshield compromise the structural integrity of the glass

Depth – Windshields are made up of three layers. Two layers of tempered glass sandwich a middle, inner layer of polyl-vinyl butyral. If the chip is deeper than the inner layer it is too deep for repair, and must be replaced.

If you are unsure if you should repair or replace your windshield you can consult with a repair and replacement service such as They will examine your car and even give you an estimate for how much it would cost to repair or replace it.

Where To Get a Repair

Depending on your location and personal need there are several options for where to get servicing:

·      New car dealer

·      Automotive glass specialist

·      Mobile glass repair and replacement – come to your home

·      General glass service

DIY Repair

If you are comfortable and have some experience in auto-repair, you can try to replace a windshield by yourself. Repair kits are available with materials similar to those used by professionals to insert resin injections into the glass. This is the cheapest option, but these kits are lower quality than the material and supplies professionals have.

If you are concerned about the appearance of your windshield, this is probably not the best option for you.


Repairing a crack or chip can save you a lot of money, but sometimes it is necessary to replace the entire windshield. No matter what the solution, it is important to your safety to take care of it as soon as possible.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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