Windshield Repairs vs. Windshield Replacements

Has your car's windshield been dinged by a rock? Rock chips are extremely common, especially if you live in an area with lots of truck traffic or where roads are regularly "graveled" for added traction in the snow. While some rock chips on the windshield are merely cosmetic nuisances, others obstruct vision or become full blown windshield cracks. Should you repair the windshield? Should you replace it?

Windshield Safety Concerns

First, let's take a quick look at the windshield's role as far as safety goes. Obviously, you need to be able to see through your car's windshield in order to drive safely. With this is mind, your state may have laws or regulations dictating at what point your windshield must be repaired or replaced.

In addition, your insurance company may have specific policies in place regarding windshield coverage. For example, Safety Insurance requires all glass companies to submit digital photos of windshield damage as proof-of-loss on glass claims. From there, the windshield damage is assessed as to the appropriateness of a repair or replacement. Typically, if the damage is outside the "critical viewing area," minor in nature such as a chip or small crack (less than three inches), and doesn't impair the operational safety of the car, then a windshield repair is appropriate.

The windshield is also a structural component of your car that acts as a safety device. For example, the passenger side airbag is designed to bounce off the windshield as part of its deployment. The windshield also supports the roof in a rollover as well as keeps the car's occupants from being ejected in a crash. If the windshield pops out in an accident, guess what could happen? The airbag won't deploy as designed, the roof could crush, or occupants could be thrown from the car!

Windshield Chip Repair versus Windshield Replacement

Because of the safety role that your windshield plays, you may or may not have a choice about replacing it. If you can't see out of the windshield due to rock chips, cracks, pitting, or any other reason, you need to replace it. If the windshield is structurally compromised, you need to replace it.

However, windshield replacements need to follow all federal motor vehicle safety standards. The adhesive used to bond the windshield to your car must be the correct type, the car and the glass must be primed properly, and the adhesive must cure sufficiently before your car is safe to drive. If the windshield must be replaced, look for a quality auto glass replacement shop that prioritizes safe installations.

If the windshield has a minor rock chip that doesn't obstruct your view, it's a good candidate for repair. Repairing a windshield is generally preferable to replacing it when the damage doesn't compromise safety. Not only is the procedure faster, it is also less expensive with fewer safety concerns. Your insurance company may even waive your deductible and cover the entire cost of the repair.

One caveat though: repairing windshields requires drilling into the glass which could cause further breakage and may lead to a replacement. A good auto glass company takes this into consideration and usually applies the cost of the repair to the cost of a replacement. So, even if your windshield can be repaired, look for a quality auto glass replacement company that prioritizes safety. Should the repair go bad, your car will be in good hands. For more information, contact a car servicing professional.