Can You Fill a Chip in a Windshield?


Keeping a Chipped Windshield from Cracking and Spreading

 

“It’s just a little chip,” you may be thinking. A slight chip in your windshield seems harmless enough, since it may hardly be noticeable at quick glance and doesn’t really affect your driving visibility. However, when neglected, even the smallest windshield chip can turn into a crack and spread—jeopardizing your safety, putting you at risk for a ticket and creating a much more expensive problem than you had before. With a windshield chip, it’s better to nip this one in the bud.

When your windshield is broken or shattered, as opposed to merely damaged, you should look to replace it immediately. It’s unsafe (and illegal in many states) to operate a vehicle with a broken windshield.

Get an Estimate

If your windshield isn’t shattered but has a sizable crack in it, you’ll still want to get it evaluated by a professional as soon as possible. Keep in mind that cracks more than 14 inches should never be repaired. While it might appear safe, the structural integrity of the windshield has probably been severely compromised. That means it could shatter at any time, injuring occupants of the vehicle or causing the driver to crash.

When to Repair

The Standard says windshield replacement is required in cases of damage:

  • That penetrates both the inside and outside layer of a laminated glass;
  • With three or more long cracks emanating from a single impact point;
  • On the inside lite (layer) of laminated glass;
  • Contaminated with visible impurities that cannot be removed through cleaning;
  • To the plastic interlayer;
  • In an area of the windshield where value-added features may be negatively affected by the damage and/or the repair process;

Repair technicians should consult and follow any vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before performing a repair on any value-added feature.

When To Replace

The following are situations where the windshield should be repaired:

  • Damage with a pit size greater than 3/8 inch (9 mm);
  • Edge crack(s) that intersect more than one edge;
  • Stress cracks.

Replacement is also required if the damage occurs in the Driver’s Primary Viewing Area (DPVA) if:

  • The diameter of damage is larger than one inch (25 mm); or
  • The finished pit will be greater than 3/16 inch (5 mm); or
  • The repair will be within 4 inches (100 mm) of another repair; or
  • If, in the technician’s judgment, the repair will affect the proper operation of the vehicle.

Stay Legal, and Safe

Beyond safety considerations, driving with a cracked windshield could violate laws in your state.

In New York, you won’t be able to pass inspection if you have a crack more than 11 inches long, or a star-shaped crack that’s more than three inches in diameter. In Virginia, you’ll fail inspection if there is a pit, chip or star break larger than 1-inches in diameter at any location in the windshield three inches above the bottom, or if a crack weakens the windshield so that one piece can move in relation to the other. So be sure to check the laws in your state.

bullseye-windshield-chip

How to Fix a Chip

Using a professional is always recommended. A qualified technician who follows the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) will ensure it is repaired safely and effectively.

A do-it-yourself fix is intriguing. However, most of the “affordable” DIY kits on the market can be comparable in cost to a professional repair when factoring in the time… not to mention the experience of a trained and seasoned technician. Keep in mind, they’re also using tools that cost thousands of dollars.

The technician will use repair techniques such as drilling and flexing and will fill the chip or small crack with resin, using proper methods of contaminate prevention and curing.

Who to Call?

To learn more about when a windshield can be repaired versus replaced, visit the website of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the safe repair of windshields. It established the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS™). That standard describes when repair of a windshield can be made.

Qualified professional companies on Glass.com can handle chip repairs large and small, simple or complicated. Most technicians offer in-shop or mobile services for your convenience, so find a professional near you at Glass.com. When it comes to a chip, always nip.

© 2019 Glass.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed written permission.

Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted.  You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.


Trey Barrineau

By Trey Barrineau

Trey Barrineau is the editor of Door and Window Market magazine (DWM). He edits and writes a wide range of content, from breaking-news items and first-person blog posts for the Web to 4,000-word, deeply researched features for print. He also manages DWM's social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. He came to DWM in December 2014 from USA Today. During his time at Key, Trey’s work has received national and regional recognition from the publishing industry. His 2016 coverage of Venezuela’s takeover of a U.S. glass factory was a 2017 finalist for the Jesse H. Neal Awards in the Best News Coverage category. In 2016, he won a silver medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Awards of Excellence for the Mid-Atlantic Region for a 2015 feature article on the lack of skilled labor in the door and window industry. Prior to joining DWM, Trey was a multiplatform editor and writer in USA Today's Life section from September 2000 to December 2014. While there, he won more than a dozen awards for outstanding headlines. Before that, he worked for more than 10 years covering news and sports at daily newspapers in North Carolina.

Trey is a 1988 graduate of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. In 2016, he earned the Fenestration Associate professional certification from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). He lives with his wife Jacqui and their occasional office-dog Siri in Northern Virginia.


4 responses to “Can You Fill a Chip in a Windshield?”

  1. I didn’t know that I might not pass an inspection if the crack on my windshield is longer than 11 inches. I’ve got a crack in my car glass that extends from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side, but it’s low enough that it doesn’t obscure my view, so I thought it wasn’t a big deal. I should probably find a windshield replacement service before my car gets inspected.

  2. Thanks for these tips. I chipped my car’s windshield. I am now looking up some auto body repair shop to help me repair it.

  3. I’m glad that you talked about making sure you check state specific laws about crack length. I have a small crack near the bottom of my windshield and I wasn’t sure what to do about it. I can see how it would be nice to just get it fixed, because I don’t know what the laws in my state are.

  4. I had no idea that your windshield could get stress cracks. It is important to understand this so you can get it repaired before it is too late. We need to replace our chipped windshield, so I’m glad I found your page.

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