When your windshield breaks, your first thought might be, “How much is this going to cost me?” Looking at prices may be somewhat startling at first. Afterall, windshield replacements are only needed, on average, once every eight years. It’s highly likely that costs have increased since your last replacement.
Finding a good deal on a replacement windshield is easier if you understand what exactly you’re paying for. There are many factors affecting windshield prices, and the cost breakdown for a windshield replacement might surprise you.
Factors Affecting Windshield Prices
If you’re wondering how much windshields cost, the answer is simple: it depends. The typical range can be anywhere from $100 to $1000. That doesn’t narrow it down much, but once you break down the costs of parts, materials, labor, and other factors, you can get a better understanding of why the costs are what they are.
- Glass. Your vehicle’s windshield is far more than just a piece of glass. Windshields are made of laminated safety glass, which is designed to break in a spiderweb pattern instead of shattering, as tempered glass does. Windshields also add to a vehicle’s structural integrity. The glass also includes a frit band – the stripe of black dots around the base and edges of the glass. These help keep your windshield fitted properly and assist with UV protection. The frit and the blue shade band near the top of your windshield work to reduce glare and help you drive a little more safely.
- Adhesive. Urethane bonds the windshield glass to your vehicle. This adhesive is extremely strong and weatherproof, so it must be applied very carefully.
- Molding. The trim around the glass is called molding. While it is attractive and may appear decorative, molding is vital for weatherproofing, soundproofing, reducing stress damage, and keeping your windshield fitted tightly to your vehicle. You may also hear this referred to as trim, weatherstripping, or the alternate spelling, moulding.
- Windshield wipers. Regularly replacing your wiper blades is part of routine car maintenance. If damaged, replacing or repairing the blades or wiper mechanism may be necessary when replacing the glass.
- Your car’s make and model. The quality, features, and availability of parts play a major role in how quickly and affordably you can have your windshield replaced. Common off-the-assembly line vehicles will cost less simply because the materials are easier to come by. Rarer vehicles will be harder to repair, and you may need to find a specialist willing to work on your vehicle. Windshield prices for luxury, high-tech, and exotic vehicles increase exponentially.
- Technology. Some newer vehicles have heated windshields or use ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). These systems will need to be recalibrated when you install a new windshield, and of course, this requires a certain level of technician expertise. This calibration alone can have its own fees, and depending on the complexity of the project, may be pricey. Luxury vehicles are more likely to have these technological add-ons than older economy cars.
- Add-ons. Windshields on newer vehicles may include even more extras. Adding sensors, heaters, logos, tint, soundproofing, weatherproofing, and other technological advancements means that these windshield prices have gone up, in comparison to more basic windshields.
Labor and Business Operation Costs
- Service provider experience and certifications Experienced windshield installers may be a member of the Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC). This sets a standard of expertise, which generally indicates that your installer is more knowledgeable and less likely to make errors and can work with your unique vehicle.
- Cost of operating a business. No matter what shop you choose, it is ultimately a business, and there are overhead costs that will be rolled into the windshield prices.
OEM vs. Aftermarket Windshields
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are sourced from the same manufacturers that supply your vehicle’s original production. Since an OEM windshield is identical to the original, it will have the perfect fit, performance, and specifications for your vehicle’s make and model. Aftermarket glass is produced by a third-party manufacturer. It may not be an exact match, but it is often comparable and may have additional features. Quality, add-ons, and compatibility vary greatly, so be sure to do your research. OEM windshield prices may be higher compared to aftermarket windshield prices.
Should You Replace or Repair?
It might be more cost-efficient to repair your windshield, especially if there’s only a small amount of damage. As a rule of thumb, chips smaller than a quarter, or cracks smaller than a dollar bill can be repaired- as long as they’re not in the sweep of the driver’s side windshield wiper. Damage to glass can easily become worse very quickly, so you don’t want to wait too long. A full windshield replacement is an involved process, but it might be necessary if the damage is extensive.
Some insurers have specific guidelines about what can and cannot be repaired, so contact your insurance company before scheduling. Whichever you choose, the affiliates with Glass.com will take care to return your vehicle as good as new.
Understanding windshield prices involves recognizing the complexity of parts, materials, labor, technology, and vehicle-specific factors. Awareness of these factors will not only allow you to find the right price but also ensure that you choose the most suitable option for your car. You can use Glass.com to get a transparent quote and find professional service. Glass.com allows you to compare multiple price quotes from local companies in your area, all with a single search. The glass shops on Glass.com provide quality and affordable solutions for your windshield needs. Don’t let those windshield prices intimidate you; reach out now to schedule your appointment!