Windshield Replacement Cost & Getting The Best Quality For Your Money

By Shawn Longmore •  Updated: 02/24/23 •  21 min read
Windshield Replacement Cost Banner

Windshield Replacement Cost

Windshield replacement costs are becoming more expensive, and for many cars, a replacement price can be over $1000 before including additional features. It’s a noticeable jump compared to prices in previous years. So if you’ve replaced your windshield in the past, you know what we’re talking about!

By the end of this article, you’ll better understand what a windshield replacement costs with and without insurance and what factors play a role in the overall price. In addition, we’ll cover a unique product designed to help prevent windshield damage from occurring!

Average Cost Without Insurance

The price of replacing an automobile’s windshield has been going through the roof for several years. The average windshield replacement cost without insurance was $179 for OEE (Original Equipment Equivalent) in the 1990s and early 2000s. That number jumped to more than $400 after 2007 and has skyrocketed in recent years. However, basing the windshield price on standard vehicles sold in the U.S. today puts the average cost without insurance around $375.

Average Cost With Insurance

The average cost of a windshield replacement with insurance depends on your coverage type and deductible. Window replacements fall under your policy’s comprehensive portion, covering everything except collision damage. In most cases, deductibles can range from as low as $100 to as high as $1000. Your deductible will determine how much of the total bill you pay out-of-pocket.

Factors Behind the Prices

There are many factors contributing to the ever-increasing price of auto glass replacements. For example, the type of glass installed, the need for new molding, advanced driver assistance systems, and other features such as an acoustic inner layer have contributed to the increased cost of windshield replacements. Let’s look at these additional factors to understand better why prices have skyrocketed.

Banner With Different Types Of Glass

Glass Types

Replacing a windshield requires choosing from three different types – OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), dealer, and aftermarket. All types must meet safety regulations, but quality and cost can vary greatly and should be considered when making the decision on which to choose. Below is an overview of each type of glass to help with your purchase decision.

  1. OEM windshields: OEM windshields offer the highest level of quality available and are built to the exact specifications of the original equipment that came with your vehicle. These premium windshields are more expensive than other replacement options, but a warranty often comes included in the cost. With OEM replacements, you can be assured of perfect fitment suited for your specific make and model. They provide superior performance and protection from road debris and hazardous conditions on the road.
  2. Dealer windshields: Dealer glass is designed to replicate the quality and specifications of the original automotive glass installed on your vehicle at the manufacturer. Dealer glass usually includes the automotive manufacturer’s logo on the lower corner of the glass and it’s priced slightly higher than OEM glass. The quality of dealer glass is equal to OEM windshields and surpasses aftermarket glass in terms of resistance and durability.
  3. Aftermarket windshields: Aftermarket glass comes from companies other than the original manufacturers. It’s usually less expensive than OEM glass but still designed to fit like the original. Quality can differ greatly and may not meet the quality of OEM or Dealer windshields, which is why it’s important to select a reliable manufacturer to ensure that you get a product that is both safe and high quality.
  4. Generic windshields: Generic and aftermarket windshields are often used interchangeably, though they can differ substantially. Generic ones typically come from large manufacturers who sell them under an array of brand names. On the other hand, aftermarket windshields come from more specialized companies.

    The quality of generic compared to aftermarket windshields fluctuate depending on their maker. Some meet the same degree of excellence as the latter, whereas others may not be as reliable. Therefore, it is wise to select a trusted provider with an established history of producing top-notch windshields.

    One positive aspect of utilizing aftermarket windshields is that they’re made by manufacturers that possess specialized insight into creating models suited for certain vehicles. This can comprise improved fit & greater overall quality than generics would provide.

It’s essential to consider quality, fit, and price when selecting a windshield replacement. Whilst Dealer windshields present superior quality, for some vehicles, they may be an unnecessary expense. OEM and aftermarket versions offer more economical options and adhere to quality standards, so they’re suitable for your vehicle. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you can spend and what your exact requirements are.

Windshield Seal / Mold Banner

Molding / Windshield Seal

The windshield seal, also known as molding, is a rubber or plastic strip that lines the edge of a windshield. During a replacement, adding new molding along with the windshield is essential for several reasons.

  1. To Prevent Water and Air Leaks: When properly installed, this molding acts as an effective protector against any potential water leaks, helping to create an optimal environment for your driving experience.
  2. To Restore The Appearance: A new windshield molding can give your car a much-appreciated facelift. If the current one is discolored or deteriorated, replacing it could amplify the vehicle’s aesthetic appeal and overall look. Beyond just rendering a more polished look to your car, you’ll be restoring its original vibrancy with new molding.
  3. To Ensure a Proper Installation: Installing windshields correctly is critical for safe driving. The molding ensures a secure fit and correct alignment to the car body, creating a proper seal so the windshield doesn’t move or misalign. Neglecting this step can lead to an inadequate fit, making it dangerous to drive.
  4. To Prevent Wind Noise: The molding in some windshields will cover the gap between the edge of the windshield and the body of the car, which helps eliminate wind noise caused by air flowing over this gap at high speeds.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Banner

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are a group of safety technologies created to help drivers prevent collisions and accidents. Certain ADAS utilize sensors and cameras placed on or near the windshield to gather data about the vehicle’s environment. During glass repair, these tools may get bumped, resulting in needing recalibration – typically costing up to $300 or more. Below is a list of various ADAS installed on vehicles that should be calibrated after a replacement.

Types of ADAS systems

  1. Forward Collision Warning (FCW): FCW uses an advanced camera system mounted on a vehicle’s windshield for sensing objects in front of the car. If a potential collision is identified, an audible and/or visual alert will be triggered to let drivers know that they should take action to prevent the crash from occurring. This technological advancement helps keep drivers safe on the road by increasing their situational awareness and keeping them from dangerous collisions.
  2. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): ACC utilizes sensors to track the range between itself and the car in front. ACC can modify a car’s speed to keep a secure distance from the vehicle ahead of it without the driver needing to manually apply the brakes or gas.
  3. Lane Departure Warning (LDW): LDW uses cameras mounted on the windshield to detect and monitor a vehicle’s position while on the road. If the system detects that the vehicle is drifting out of its lane, it will alert the driver with an audible and/or visual warning, giving them a chance to take corrective action. LDW is just one of many advanced safety features designed to help protect drivers and reduce traffic accidents on our roads.
  4. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB): AEB is a technology that senses potential collisions ahead. It uses sensors mounted on the windshield to detect objects on the road and can apply brakes automatically to mitigate or avoid the impact. This helps car owners drive more safely and efficiently, preventing accidents from occurring.
  5. Rain-sensing wipers: Rain-sensing wipers use sensors that are mounted on the windshield, allowing them to detect raindrops. This system can determine the rain intensity and adjust the windshield wipers’ speed accordingly. These wipers ensure that they can keep up with the changing precipitation and provide optimal visibility for drivers in any weather condition!

These ADAS systems are created to maximize driver safety and minimize the chances of an accident on the roads. Proper calibration of sensors after installation is essential in order for the sensors to provide precise details of the surrounding environment around the vehicle. Ensuring these components are correctly aligned will create smoother, safer journeys for all those involved.

Types of Calibrations Explained

It’s essential to note that only experienced service technicians should perform calibration of the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) with the right equipment and processes. If incorrectly calibrated, safety issues may arise and the ADAS may not function as intended. Common ways to calibrate sensors include visual targeting, ultrasonic wave propagation, multi-camera imaging units, laser scanners, LiDAR technology, and RADAR alignment. Optimal ADAS performance depends on correct calibration. Below are the two common methods to calibrate sensors.

Static Calibration: Static ADAS features must be tested through a CSC (Camera and Sensor Calibration) Tool in a workshop setting. This specific calibrated environment requires the use of specialized, sensitive equipment. As a result, no driving is necessary to get the desired results.

Dynamic Calibration: Dynamic ADAS, also known as Mobile Calibration, is all about customizing a vehicle’s driving performance. This is done through the use of a hand-held unit that is connected to the car. After connecting the device, you need to drive the vehicle at a prescribed speed and distance under optimal weather conditions so the system can learn how to respond to abnormal factors on the roads. Automotive manufacturers must meet certain requirements for calibrating dynamic ADAS systems. With static advanced driver assistance systems, comparable regulations must be followed too.

Acoustic Windshield Banner

Acoustic Inner Layer

Acoustic inner layers for windshields are an additional feature for cars that offer noise reduction and thermal insulation. They come at a higher cost when in need of replacement, so if your car requires this feature, be prepared to pay a higher price.

What is an acoustic inner layer?

The acoustic inner layer is an integral component of current automotive windshields, designed to provide effective noise reduction within the cabin. This layer is made from a specialized polymer material with impressive sound-absorbing properties, delivering superior acoustic insulation for a more comfortable ride.

How does it work?

A laminated windshield is equipped with an acoustic inner layer situated between two layers of glass. When soundwaves from outside the vehicle strike the windshield, a portion of it is reflected by the external layer, while the remainder is absorbed by the inner layer before dissipating, ultimately reducing noise entering the vehicle’s cabin.

What are the benefits of glass with an acoustic inner layer?

Automotive windshields with an acoustic inner layer provide numerous benefits, such as reducing the amount of noise entering the vehicle’s interior, making it easier for drivers and passengers to communicate and enjoy music or conversation. Studies also show that a quieter cabin area while driving helps reduce fatigue.

Why does it cost more than standard windshields?

An automotive windshield with an acoustic inner layer typically costs more than a standard windshield for several reasons.

  1. The materials used: The acoustic inner layer of a windshield requires expensive materials to enable its effective absorption of sound waves. It’s made out of a specialized polymer material formed with advanced manufacturing processes and specialized equipment. This makes it more costly than the material used in a standard windshield.
  2. The production process: Laminated windshields with an acoustic inner layer require more complex production processes than ordinary windshields. This includes additional steps, such as additional quality control, to meet the necessary standards for the acoustic properties of the inner layer. To ensure these standards are maintained, more stringent measures must be put in place throughout production.
  3. Higher demand: Premium and luxury vehicles often require windshields with an acoustic inner layer, creating a higher demand which can lead to increased costs. The limited supply of specialized windshields may mean a price increase for these vehicles.

Overall, automotive windshields with acoustic inner layers cost more due to the added value they bring in terms of comfort, noise reduction, and production difficulty.

How To Save Money

Automotive windshields are vulnerable to chipping and cracking due to impacts from debris such as stones and other small objects kicked up from the vehicle you’re following down the road. One of the best ways to save money on windshield costs is to add a nano-ceramic film or protection film to the outer layer of your windshield.

Banner For Windshield Protection Film Section

What Is Windshield Protection Film

Windshield protection film is a protective layer that will help guard against rock chips and other debris that may cause minor damage by forming a barrier over the windshield. This technology can help reduce, or in some cases eliminate, the cost of any potential future repairs.

Let’s look closer at how windshield protection film is made and installed, how it helps, along with how to maintain it.

How Is It Made?

The windshield protection film is made by laminating multiple layers of polyurethane together, which creates a durable and flexible material that is resistant to impact and abrasion.

How Is It Installed?

The film is cut to fit the specific shape and size of the windshield and applied to the surface using a special adhesive. The film is designed to be self-healing, meaning small scratches and dents can be repaired by applying heat to the affected area.

How Does It Protect?

Once the film is installed, it provides a layer of protection that distributes the impact of the debris over a larger area, which helps lessen the chances of cracking or chipping.

Is It Easy To Maintain?

Maintaining windshield protection film is very easy and only requires soap and water. Additionally, it does not require any special maintenance or care.

Who Makes It and How Long Does It Last

There are several manufacturers of windshield protection film on the market. Below is a list of the top five manufacturers listed on the web, along with the average lifespan of the film provided.

  1. 3M: 3M is an industry leader in automotive product manufacturing, offering a specialized windshield protection film that is top-notch. The ultra-clear film offers superior protection against rock chips and other debris for up to five years. 3M’s windshield protection film surpasses all expectations, providing long-lasting durability without compromising visibility.
  2. XPEL: XPEL manufactures windshield protection film renowned for its self-healing properties, providing remarkable shielding from rock chips and scratches. This transparency-optimized coating is tough enough to resist wear and tear, having an average lifetime of around seven years.
  3. LLumar: LLumar provides high-grade automotive films for windshields – offering protection from rocks and other types of debris. Their films boast a standard 5-year life expectancy, allowing drivers to enjoy their durable and reliable protection during road trips and daily drives. With LLumar, drivers can benefit from intense protection, providing them with increased safety when behind the wheel.
  4. Exoshield: ExoShield has created a one-of-a-kind, self-healing polyurethane film designed to conform securely to windshields and offers long-lasting protection that’s 6X more resistant than glass. The film is transparent, so drivers can have an unobstructed view of the road while also being sturdy enough to endure various elements over time. ExoShield stands by its product with a limited warranty which covers manufacturing malfunctions and any premature deterioration of the film coating. Keeping the windshield pristine requires proper maintenance routines as well, such as forgoing harsh cleansing products or coming into contact with sharp edges that could damage the coating.

Windshield protection film can have a range of life expectancies, which vary according to the quality of the film, the installation process, and environmental factors. Manufacturers provide guidelines for maintenance and care to ensure that the film lasts as long as possible. Following the manufacturer’s maintenance guide is essential for extended use.

Auto Glass Services We Provide

Key Takeaways

Let’s Talk

Making choices for auto glass on your vehicle doesn’t have to be a hassle, and we hope this page was helpful in your decision process!

If you have any questions about our auto glass repair or replacement services, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the local auto glass shops in our directory by clicking the “Find Local Shops Now” button. Customer service representatives are available and ready to help with your auto glass installation or repair needs.

Customer Feedback

David L. - Great service. Thanks!

Darlene Nash - They really knew what they were doing and did it efficiently. Highly recommended!

Jeff D. - The service was ok, but I had to wait an hour longer than expected for them to show up.

Jacob G. - I'm glad I found this company for taking care of my Kia Soul's windshield repair needs quickly and professionally.

Raymond G. - I had the front 2 windows replaced on my 2004 Toyota Tacoma by these folks. Absolutely no issues. It feels like I'm driving a brand new car!

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.

Keep Reading

Should You Avoid a Cheap Windshield Replacement Under $100?

Should You Avoid a Cheap Windshield Replacement Under $100?

Should you avoid a cheap windshield replacement under $100? First, you should know that the average windshield replacement cost is around...

Need a Reliable Auto Glass Shop? See How We Can Help Fix Your Broken Glass!

Need a Reliable Auto Glass Shop? See How We Can Help Fix Your Broken Glass!

You can expect expert quality services from each auto glass shop listed in our database. These experts are thoroughly trained and held to high...

What Is Laminated Safety Glass? Important Windshield Info!

What Is Laminated Safety Glass? Important Windshield Info!

Laminated auto glass has many excellent benefits and has been in use for several decades. This special type of glass is manufactured by combining

Safety Questions To Ask Your Windshield Replacement Provider

Safety Questions To Ask Your Windshield Replacement Provider

Believe it or not, front windshields serve a much bigger purpose than just allowing you to see outside of the car when you're driving. They also protect you...

A Tesla Windshield Replacement Cost in 2023 is Far from Free!

A Tesla Windshield Replacement Cost in 2023 is Far from Free!

A Tesla windshield replacement cost will vary depending on which model you drive and the exact glass getting replaced. Having glass damage on...

Wind Noise After A Windshield Replacement | 9 Things To Check!

Wind Noise After A Windshield Replacement | 9 Things To Check!

Hearing wind noise after a windshield replacement clearly shows that something didn’t get handled properly during the installation process. These 9 items will..

Don't Miss Out!

We appreciate your readership! Enter your email to get notified when we post a new article. Join thousands of others, and start building your automotive knowledge with us today.

By entering your email address, you agree to receive emails from Auto Glass Locator when we post a new automotive-related article. We'll respect your privacy, plus you can unsubscribe at any time, and we promise never to spam!