It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: whether a dump truck on the highway ended up scattering debris or a pothole appears out of seemingly nowhere, you find yourself treated to an alarming crack! And just like that, your windshield has a crack or a chip in it. The damage has been done. But the real question is whether to repair the chip, or to replace the windshield entirely.
Replacements can be expensive. But sometimes they’re unavoidable. And sometimes, it’s better to know if the damage can be repaired for far less. Here’s how to tell the difference between a crack needing a repair or a windshield replacement, and what to ask a professional repair shop about.
The size of chips and breaks that can be repaired may vary depending on your repair shop. Most shops, however, can make easy, clear repairs to small damage such as:
Chips no larger than 1 inch in diameter
Star breaks no bigger than 1.5 inches
Breaks no bigger than 1.5 inches
Surface pits no bigger than 0.13
Cracks up to 3 inches long
Whether the chips and breaks are large or small, be sure to repair your windshield right away. Waiting will only allow the damage to grow.
Some breaks are much more obvious than others. Long, thick cracks or shattered glass—such as if a ball or large rock hit your windshield—indicate that you’ll need to replace your windshield, and fast. These severe damages are hard to miss, and can become dangerous if left unchecked.
However, these breaks aren’t the only reason you may need to replace your windshield. Even if you have small chips, it may be good to replace your windshield rather than repair them if these chips or cracks cover the driver’s line of vision.
You may also want to replace your windshield if:
The damage is at the edge of the glass
The windshield is old and has lots of dents from debris
You have low visibility when driving, even when your car is clean inside and out
You may find that replacing an old windshield brings new visibility to your drive, especially if your windshield has been pitted with sand and dirt over the years.
Whether you replace or repair your windshield, it’s best to have this done right away. Otherwise, dust and debris can collect in the cracks and either worsen them or make repairs more difficult.
If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask us! We’d be happy to give you an estimate and recommend the types of repairs to keep you and your car safe.