Quick Fix vs. Full Replacement: Windshield Chips & Cracks

September 5, 2017

A damaged windshield can not only look unsightly, but it can obstruct your vision on the road and weaken the windshield itself along with the structure of the car roof. Regularly inspecting the windshield for cracks or chips is an important part of car maintenance. It's also pretty easy since it's something you're always looking at!

Here's how you know if your windshield should be repaired or replaced.

Image Courtesy of Flickr

When to repair your windshield

Tiny chips and scratches can usually be repaired by a skilled auto glass technician. Windshield sealant is poured into the gap to seal the glass and restore clarity while also preventing the damage from growing. It is important that you have even the tiniest scratch sealed immediately, as it can cause a glare in your line of vision that would prevent you from seeing properly while on the road. 

A good sign that chips or cracks are repairable is to check it using a quarter. If the damage is thinner than the side of a quarter and not longer than an inch or so, it can likely be successfully filled with sealant.

When to replace your windshield

If allowed to grow, tiny chips and cracks can extend and cause the glass to break completely at high driving speeds. Large cracks that have formed on a windshield usually can’t be sealed successfully, and the entire windshield will, therefore, need to be replaced.

Recently, I suffered a chip on the very edge of my windshield that turned into a crack across the passenger side, seemingly out of nowhere. So, can a crack on the edge be repaired? Unfortunately, no. Cracks that form at the edge of the glass are not repairable even if they are tiny, as the sealant would not bond to one side of the glass, creating a weak spot. 

RepairPal is working to mend the lack of trust consumers have in the car repair industry by providing them with in-depth knowledge and resources that connect them with dependable and reliable car repair shops near them.

Our goal is to establish an auto repair process that is less stressful and much more trustworthy for everyone involved. Our website hosts a car repair Estimator that gets rid of that "ripped-off" feeling. We also provide matches to local Certified shops that are guaranteed to do repairs with quality parts, a fair price, and a trained, awesome staff.

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About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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