Car Window Cracks: Should You Repair or Replace?

Car Window Cracks: Should You Repair or Replace?

You’ve noticed what you think is a smudge on your windshield or windscreen. Upon further inspection you’ve realized it’s more serious. Something has struck your windshield and you have significant damage. Or you’ve recently noticed you can feel the rain — inside your car! You’re not sure what to do. Maybe you’re not ready or can’t afford to for car window replacement right away. Maybe you don’t know if you need to bring in the professionals. It’s important to weigh your situation and then examine your options.


Dig into your pocket and pull out a quarter. Compare the quarter to the chip — is it bigger or smaller? If the chip is bigger than a quarter, most service providers will suggest a replacement. Is it smaller? Chances are you can get away with a quick repair. A technician will use a resin that expands to fill the crack. Does it interfere with the driver’s line of sight or is it larger than 15mm? If the answer is yes to either, this a safety issue. Your ability to accurately view the road is affected and therefore your vehicle won’t pass inspection. It’s time for a car window replacement.

Chip to Crack

You decided to wait and now that chip looks bigger, longer and wider. You now have a crack. Dig into your pocket again and pull out a dollar bill. Is it the size of the bill or smaller? If it’s smaller, you’re in luck. Service providers tend to green-light those and repair the crack. Is it larger? Most service providers will not bother to attempt a repair in this situation, as this has a tendency to make matters worse. You would have a line of sight that is not clear due to the material used to fill the crack as well as the dirt that would have accumulated inside that crack. The result would be a failed inspection. Both your insurer and service provider will insist on a replacement. Location is also important. Cracks that are on the edges of your window mean a car window replacement is needed.


You’ve noticed rain coming into your vehicle or moisture build-up inside your car. The seal may need to be repaired. Luckily, this can be remedied without a car window replacement.


This varies from dealer to dealer and whether or not you choose a part that is OEM, Non-OEM or After Market. To get an idea of the cost related to replacing your windshield, take a look at the below data collected by MSN Auto relating to four 1998 autos.

Vehicle Dealer | Price | Automotive Glass Shop Price

Toyota Camry | $550.00 | $350.00

Ford Explorer |$1,300.00 | $400.00

Chevrolet Corvette | $920.00 |$650.00

BMW 540i | $650.00 | $500.00

OEM vs. Non-OEM

Simply put, an OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer windshield means you’re getting a windshield that was made specifically for your vehicle, while Non-OEM is generic. There’s debate on the quality of Non-OEM parts. There are those in one camp who believe that Non-OEM’s are made to the same standards and therefore are just as good as OEM just cheaper. You have those who stay away from Non-OEM, asserting that the same standards are not enforced and the quality is not the same.

There is some good news: your auto insurance usually covers the cost of car window damages. Repairs are covered and typically free to the customer. Car window replacement is covered when deemed necessary. Depending on your insurer, you may need to pay a deductible. If you reside in a Zero Deductible State like Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, or South Carolina, your insurance provider cannot legally charge you a deductible to replace your window.

There’s even more good news: Window repairs are no-fault claims. This means your insurance rates will not increase.

So what’s the bad news? The deductible depends on how you structured your insurance plan. Did you choose a higher deductible in order to pay a lower premium? Or did you choose a higher premium in order to pay a lower deductible? Depending on your plan, deductibles for can run as low as $300 or as high as $1000.

Is it important to fix or repair windshield cracks?

Windshields are not your ordinary windows. Besides being aerodynamically produced by manufactures to improve speed, windshields offer a great deal of safety to the occupants of a vehicle. Your windshield provides you with cover from the elements such as wind and rain. They provide you with protection from dust, bugs, gravel and rocks. Windshields offer all these things while allowing you a clear line of sight of the road.

It’s important to consider the protection your windshield provides during a roll-over accident and its relationship to airbag deployment. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation, they believe your windshield offers support to your roof during a roll-over. Your windshield also absorbs a lot of the force of your airbag when it deploys. These factors mean that having your windshield in top condition is of vital importance, and any significant damages should be repaired immediately.

Instant Windscreens & Tinting is Australasia’s largest independent fitting business serving customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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