Should Your Windshield Be Repaired or Does It Need Replacement?

It’s a beautiful morning, you’re slamming that caramel latte, rocking out to AC/DC and the traffic is sailing smoothly. Suddenly, flying gravel from the long-haul truck in front of you lands on your windshield. A crack forms. Most drivers tend to ignore a chip or a small crack, if they can still see through it. But they may be placing themselves at risk. How do you know when you need to get a windshield repair?

Chips and cracks on your windshield should not be ignored and it’s recommended that you speak to or visit an auto glass repair shop to get some professional advice. They can give you the best advice about whether to simply ignore the chip or crack, simply repair it, or to get get a full windshield replacement. Here are the five main aspects an auto glass professional will consider:


The windshield is a crucial component that supports the structural integrity of your vehicle. If the damage is large, it may weaken its safety functionality, placing you and your passenger at risk. If the crack actually reaches the inner plastic layer, it’s advisable to consider a replacement over auto glass repair.


The small crack that you forgo repairing may interfere with the driver’s primary viewing area. This area is the part covered by your moving windshield wipers. Glass technicians may not recommend an auto glass repair if the ding or scratch is within the driver’s line of vision, because even small obstructions can affect your ability to see what’s ahead of you. Even a fairly small chip could be the difference between stopping in time when something crosses the road ahead of you, and hitting a pedestrian or animal.


A few years back, even the tiniest of shards legally meant that you had to replace the entire glass. Newer inventions and technologies changed this notion. The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) set by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) indicates that chips with less than one-inch diameter and cracks less than 12 inches can now be repaired. This means fewer people need auto glass replacement these days, but it’s important that you consider all of the five factors being discussed here.


The position of the chip may determine if you require an auto glass repair or window replacement. Most glass professionals will recommend you seek out windshield replacement services if the crack is near the frame. A chip at the corner has a higher risk of shattering the entire glass block as you drive. If automated sensors are affected, you may have to replace the glass as well.


Chips and cracks that have damaged the laminate cannot be considered for repair. This is because the damage has already extended to the inner plastic layer affecting the structural integrity of the windshield. Any damage to the internal layer, even with the external glass padding intact, demands a replacement. If you’re not sure how deep your auto glass damage is, that’s a good time to call the shop and ask for some advice. Even sending in a photo can help you get the right information from a professional.

Auto Glass Repair vs. Replacement

Fixing a crack early enough prevents it from spreading further and causing more damage. A windshield repair takes approximately 30 minutes it costs a lot less than full glass replacement. To complete a windshield repair, a glass technician injects a clear glass resin onto the chip. The resin is heated up, it fills the crack, and it is polished to ensure a smooth surface. A careful repair will restore the windshield’s integrity and makes it look a whole lot better as well.

Windshield cracks that are greater than twelve inches are often replaced. It is important to note that the auto glass replacement process takes time as you must wait for the adhesives to bond firmly with the frame. You also have to choose between getting an OEM glass, an aftermarket OEM substitute, or a generic alternative. Some Insurance companies may cover the cost of replacement for you. Call the shop and ask them the best way for you to go.

In Conclusion

Driving with a cracked windshield puts you and your passenger in danger if an accident happens, because the stability of the windshield affects your car’s structural integrity. A damaged windshield can also shatter unexpectedly and interfere with your visibility, especially when you are driving at highways cruising speeds. Before any of this happens, consider repairing or replacing your damaged windshield.

Need help to figure out what you need? Read more about our repair services. And feel free to give us a call or drop us a note here – you can even send us pictures of your damage.


  1. […] cracks the windshield, for instance, and the crack is more than a foot long, you’ll probably need to replace the glass. Alternatively, if the windshield wipers or fluids need to be replaced, talk to them about coming […]

  2. JARET SZIMONISZ on May 9, 2020 at 3:04 am

    thanks for sharing!

  3. […] vehicle accidents in the U.S. alone. Not only does this make for costly repairs such as replacing windshields with foot-long cracks, but it also comes at a tragic human cost. Imagine how this number might be […]

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  8. Zachary Tomlinson on June 30, 2020 at 4:59 am

    Thank you for helping me understand when a windshield needs to be replaced. I find it concerning to learn that having a small crack on a windshield could expand and do further damage if left unattended. My friend told me that his windshield got cracked by a baseball bat and he’s curious if it’s fine to leave it as is. I’ll share this with him and suggest that he get windshield replacement asap.

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