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Repair or Replace? How to Determine If You Need a Windshield Replacement

You swear it was just a tiny nick in your windshield this morning. Now, a crack has begun to snake its way across the glass.

Try as you might, you can’t ignore the broken windshield. And you shouldn’t neglect to fix it, either — cracked glass can make an accident even more dangerous.

All that’s left to decide is if you need a repair or a full-on windshield replacement. Here’s how to determine which service you need.

1. Do the Dollar Bill Test

For starters, you’ll have to consider the size of the crack or chip in your windshield.

Grab a dollar bill to help you determine the next step in the process. If you can fit the entire crack beneath the dollar bill, then an expert can probably repair it without a full windshield replacement.

Anything larger than that will probably mean that you need your windshield replaced. Although every car will be different, the average cost of such a service hovers around $215. Windshields with more advanced features will be pricier to replace, though.

Of course, you might be able to use insurance to cover the damage. Check your policy to make sure it will reimburse you for windshield replacement.

2. Consider the Location of the Crack

Next, you will want to assess the location of your windshield damage.

If the chip has appeared in front of the driver, then you’ll need a full replacement. Even the tiniest mark can impair the driver’s vision, making the vehicle unsafe on the road.

On top of that, your windshield serves as a major safety restraint while you drive. Don’t ignore a drivers-side chip just because it’s small — repairing it could save your life.

Damage at the ends of the windshield should also raise the alarm. While you can repair more central chips, a rift on the corner of your windshield will likely require a replacement.

That location, in particular, will destabilize the entire sheet of glass — it might even shatter unexpectedly. So, head in for a repair if you find a corner chip.

3. Count the Number of Chips

Some car owners are unlucky enough to have multiple damaged spots on their windshields. Count them up — if you have less than three, then you should be good with just a repair.

Less than three small cracks should only necessitate a repair, as well. However, if even one of those rifts stretches longer than a dollar bill, then you will need a windshield replacement.

4. Tally the Age of Your Windshield

Finally, you might want to skip the mobile repair unit if you have an old, chipped windshield. Even if it’s a small crack, age factors in here. You’re usually better off swapping your glass out for a new pane.

Examine the windshield for any tiny divots that may have appeared before the crack itself. They will give away the fact that you need a windshield replacement.

Is It Time For a Windshield Replacement?

Now that you’ve gone through our checklist, you probably have a clearer idea as to what your car needs. Is it a repair or a full windshield replacement? Either way, we can help you.

Contact us today to set up your windshield service. And, in the meantime, read up on our blog for all the windshield-centric info you could need.