Understand Windshield Repair Costs & When It’s Time To Replace

By Shawn Longmore •  Updated: 10/20/21 •  14 min read
Man Fixing Windshield

A windshield is an essential part of your vehicle and will most likely be hit by rocks and other debris, making it necessary to repair or replace it. The good news is that there are many ways to fix broken glass without replacing the entire window. This article will discuss auto glass crack repair and the cost of repair kits vs. hiring an auto glass technician, so let’s get started.

Can a repair save the windshield?

Yes, windshield repair can fix just about any type of windshield damage and is a worthwhile option to prevent further problems. The sooner you find a crack repair shop, the better. We suggest having windshield chip repairs within 24 hours if possible.

Why is windshield repair necessary?

Having a damaged front windshield can be dangerous, and repairing the glass will only help restore the structural integrity, ensuring it functions correctly during an accident.

You may not know this, but the windshield prevents the roof from caving in during a rollover accident, helps direct airbags properly when deployed, and also prevents flying debris from entering the passenger area while driving. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the weaker the glass gets making it more susceptible to break and not work as designed.

What are the benefits of glass repairs?

  1. It restores the windshield’s structural integrity.
  2. It prevents the glass from cracking further.
  3. It prevents you from paying for a new windshield.
  4. It keeps the original seal between the glass and car frame that the manufacturer installed.
  5. The repair cost is less than a replacement.
  6. Most glass specialists will provide a one-year warranty or lifetime guarantee on their quality. 

Can all types of damage to the front windshield be fixed?

No, there are some guidelines to help professional repair technicians determine if a chip repair is possible. However, it would be best to avoid cracks within the following categories to ensure a successful repair.

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Types of damage

Will auto glass damage be visible after it’s fixed?

Sometimes. The appearance after a repair will depend on the severity and age of the damage. Fresh breaks won’t have as much debris in them, making them look better after the fix.

Keep in mind; it’s not about the cosmetic appearance but more about restoring your windshield’s structural integrity for safety reasons. Plus, you’ll keep your windshield’s original factory seal intact.

Auto glass chip repair before and after photos

The before and after repairs below show how damage is much less noticeable after performing quality glass repairs. Still, as stated above, the severity and age play a role in the final appearance, so not all windshield repairs will turn out this good.

Star Chip Before
Star Chip Before Close Up
Star Chip After Repair
Star Rock Chip Before Close Up
Star Chip After Windshield Repair

What does it cost to fix a cracked windshield?

The industry is very competitive, and prices can vary between auto glass shops. Typically the average windshield repair cost can fall between 65 and 75 dollars. However, it depends on how much extra work is needed. The following items should help you better understand the pricing.

Can I fix the windshield with a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) kit?

Yes, you can! You don’t have to be a glass doctor or chip surgeon to fix glass, but doing it yourself could result in more damage. Therefore, we highly recommend having a professional handle the glass on your vehicle. It’ll be more convenient, and the finished appearance will be more exceptional since they’ll have professional tools designed specifically for this. Not to mention, it’s super affordable to hire an expert and avoid something possibly going wrong.

Do windshield repair kits work?

In short, yes. However, there are a lot of kits that will ultimately result in an unsatisfactory repair. Most of these are the do-it-yourself variety, so they aren’t professionally designed for auto glass. A DIY windshield repair kit will work if you have a small chip and don’t mind paying more than if you had it fixed at a professional shop. I would suggest finding out what it cost to have a professional handle the repair vs. buying a kit.

Speaking from experience, accidentally cracking out the windshield while learning to repair a chip isn’t a cheap lesson. Check out the YouTube video below by Chris Fix showing a windshield repair performed with a consumer kit. He does a great job on the repair and explains the process very well.

Where can you buy a windshield repair kit?

There are many places to pick up consumer-grade kits. I’ve found them at Walmart, Auto Zone, and Pep Boys. Amazon also carries some consumer and professional-grade kits. I recommend reading reviews and checking the price difference between having the work handled by a professional or doing it yourself. In the end, hiring a professional could prevent a headache and save you money.

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Common Questions

How long does it take to fix a chipped windshield?

On average, stars or bullseyes can be repaired in under 10 minutes, and more complex damage can take 15 – 20 minutes. This time can also depend on the outside temperature. If the windshield has been in the sun and overly hot, the technician will need to wait for the glass to cool a little before inserting resin. Hot windshields are known to crack more efficiently during the repair process, so it’s best to let the glass cool down first.

How long will it last?

Having quality materials and a skilled technician is helpful. I’ve personally seen repairs made with a 3M product that looks almost as good as new 15 years later. The main thing is finding a quality glass shop and technician who has the experience and uses high-quality products.

Is there a warranty?

The vast majority of auto glass repair companies do not provide customers with warranties for their services. Usually, when a provider offers a guarantee, they will state it’s only for a certain amount of repairs (around three to five). After that, most will discount a new auto glass replacement should the cracks spread or break further in the future.

What if the window breaks after the repair?

When I was personally fixing glass, I would typically handle close to 200 customer jobs per month. Yet, surprisingly enough, I would have customers come back months later requesting a new windshield for free when the repair failed.

As a skilled and knowledgeable glass specialist, I always felt confident fixing windshields and never thought any would fail. However, nothing is guaranteed, so most techs only offer a discount to replace failed repairs. Think about it, the original glass surface had pre-existing damage, so it doesn’t make sense to provide a free windshield for a failed repair.

Can the summer heat cause the crack to spread?

The summer heat can be just as bad for those windshield chips as the winter cold. So here are some tips to help temporarily save your windshield if it’s cracked and hot outside.

Can snow and ice cause a crack to spread?

Yes, turning on the defroster to thaw out your windshield can cause the legs of a crack to spread, especially if the damage is low and close to the defrost vent.

Warm air blowing through the vents causes the area around the crack to rise in temperature faster than other areas. Therefore, it’s best to warm the glass slowly to avoid additional damage.

Is there a way to stop a windshield crack from spreading?

It’s possible to stop a crack from spreading further. However, if the chip is growing, there’s not much you can do to prevent the damage from spreading. Therefore, it’s best to have your windshield replaced immediately.

Can filing a windshield claim increase my insurance premium?

An insurance claim for windshield repair alone should not cause your rates to go up. I’ve talked with insurance agents locally after one of my customer’s rates went up shortly after I filed a claim for them. The agent explained that it wasn’t the windshield repair alone but several other factors on their policy over the past year. They were on a special discount if they didn’t file more than three claims within a year. Unfortunately, my claim for the windshield repair pushed them over this limit. I ultimately had the discount reapplied for my customer by canceling the claim and charging a lower cash price.

Is driving with a cracked front windshield illegal?

Cracked windshields can be illegal. It depends on your local state law and the location of the damage. In most places, a crack in the front windshield must be 7 inches or longer to fail inspection. If the break is less than 7 inches, it may still fail if visibility is severely compromised. With that, you should always check with your driver’s license bureau or claims department to learn about state laws.

Is it possible to prevent rock chips from happening?

I wouldn’t have thought so, but while researching, I found a company named ExoShield which appears to have a product designed to protect the windshield from rocks. Like the screen protector you buy for a cell phone, they have a film intended to cover the entire front windshield. I’ve never used ExoShield, but it looks promising. Check out their short video below.

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Let’s talk!

In conclusion, cracks are inevitable. However, regardless of how small the damage might seem, it could eventually lead to more significant problems down the road. So don’t wait! Let Auto Glass Locator help keep your windshield free of imperfections and your family safe. Our windshield repair specialists are ready to assist with any questions and provide mobile service to your home or business. Call us at (877)-781-6961 now or enter your zip code in the search box below to speak to our mobile shop closest to your home or office. We’re always happy to chat!

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Shawn Longmore

Shawn is the founder of Auto Glass Locator and enjoys providing articles related to automotive parts and services. His mission is to make it easy for everyone to find all the information they need in one spot. Each year he continues to help more people find great deals on auto glass and other automotive services.

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