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Windshield Repair vs. Replacement

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Windshield Repair versus Replacement

This is a deliberation many consumers face after their windshield is damaged. Maybe the damage is widespread and the ability to repair is questionable. Or maybe it’s a brand new car and you think replacing the windshield will keep it in top-notch condition. In this article, we will cover some of the factors that should be taken into consideration before you take action in repairing or replacing your windshield.

Repair First

First, let’s take a look at the advantages of windshield repair as outlined by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA):

Cost savings – windshield repairs usually start around $50 and go upwards from there, whereas your typical replacement will cost hundreds.

Green Practice—not only does windshield repair save you money, it helps save the environment too. Even though some glass shops recycle, a windshield requires a considerable amount of materials in order to be manufactured.

Safety—cars today are manufactured to extremely high standards, so factory equipment is usually best. Replacing the factory glass means replacing the superior factory seal, which can be avoided by repair. If the replacement is done with poorly, there is risk the windshield will not provide structural integrity in the event of an accident.

Quality—Repairing original equipment ensures you maintain the quality factory parts. When a windshield is replaced, many companies and consumers will opt for less expensive options that might not offer the same features (yes—your windshield has features. Keep reading to see what kind).

When it’s Time to Replace

Now let’s take a look at the replacement side: Some chips and cracks are not repairable because the structural integrity of the windshield has been comprised too much by the damage. Therefore it will have to be replaced for safety. Check out our article on repair to find out what the size limitations are. Another instance when the windshield should be replaced is when the chip or crack is along the edge of the windshield, again affecting structural integrity. Lastly, if the chip or crack is within the sweep of the driver’s windshield wiper, it will likely distort the driver’s view of the road and compromise safety—even after repair. The ROLAGS national standard detailing types of damage that cannot be repaired. If your windshield is disqualified from repair for any of the above reasons, or your local windshield professional determines that repair is not possible, you should ask a few questions before the
windshield is replaced.

Get an Estimate

What to Look For

A professional replacement using quality products is imperative to vehicle safety as the windshield provides structural integrity to the vehicle and plays an imperative role in a car’s restraint system in the event of an accident. Registered Companies—The Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) sets specific safety standards that must be followed during windshield installations to ensure a proper and safe install. Companies that have been validated through the AGSC had undergone a mandatory review, onsite inspection and random audits to check their compliance with the standard. Certified Technicians—Even if the company itself is validated, you should ask if the technician installing your windshield has been certified through the Auto Glass Safety Council.

The not-for-profit group trains and certifies technicians to follow their protocols which were developed in partnership with the American National Standards Institute. Quality Glass—When first contacting the company that will handle your windshield replacement, ask what type of glass they will be using. Quality and cost are generally high to low, respectively. Your car may have come from the factory with options like a thermal interlayer (to provide a more controlled climate), UV filtering features, an acoustic interlayer (to reduce noise), spots for cameras and sensors (lane departure, automatic braking).

Taking the Next Step

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of whether your windshield needs repair or replacement, it’s time to contact your local glass shop. When searching, keep an eye for affiliates displaying the NWRA badge or AGSC badge. This means that they hold themselves to the repair or replacement standards that were discussed earlier.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Daniel Snow

Daniel Snow serves as the Vice President of Operations for and is also a contributing editor. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from George Mason University and has a background in the real estate industry. After high school, Daniel even worked at a family-owned glass shop for a short period of time and is an Auto Glass Safety Council certified installer. In his free time, Daniel enjoys being outdoors, especially around the water where he can be found surfing, fishing, and boating. He has a passion for bringing old vehicles back to life and loves working with his hands to restore cars, boats, and motorcycles. Find out more about Daniel on Linkedin.

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12 Responses

  1. Thank you for letting us know that you want to replace your windshield if the structural integrity of it has too much damage. The glass on the front of my husband’s car was damaged and we haven’t sure if should repair it or order a replacement. Since the damage definitely affected its structural integrity, we’ll definitely be looking into windshield replacements.

  2. I recently got a giant crack in my windshield, and my friend suggested that I get the whole windshield replaced before something else can happen. I have never had to do that before and was wondering if I should get it replaced or if I should get it repaired. That is good to know that it will have to be replaced if the structural integrity of the windshield has been compromised. Thanks for the information!

  3. I didn’t know that it’s time to replace the windshield if there are some chips and cracks. My brother cracked his windshield last night because he ran into a tree. My dad suggested having his windshield replaced and shared this article with him. It says that he should look for a professional to have it replaced.

  4. It’s great to know when to get a new windshield. I’m glad that I know the Auto Glass Safety Council has specific safety guidelines. When we get our windshield replaced, I’ll be sure to look for those.

  5. What I liked the most was when you said that one of the advantages of windshield repairs typically cost somewhere around $50 whereas replacement usually costs hundreds. That’s the reason why I’ve decided to just get my windshield repaired. Aside from the idea that it only has a chip in the topmost area of the glass, having it replaced is expensive. Thanks a lot. My windshield was chipped after a kid threw a small pebble on it. I can’t drive it around if it looks like that. It’s horrible. I’ll bring it the professional right away.

  6. That is really interesting that sometimes a windshield can’t be repaired, so it has to be replaced. That would be something that would be important for me to find out so that I can have safety in my car. I will have to ask someone who does windshield repairs if it needs to be replaced or not.

  7. Thanks for pointing out how your glass should be replaced if it is anywhere near the wiper because it will cause a lot of problems with its integrity. My son’s windshield got cracked by a baseball the other day. The chips and cracks are right on the wipers, so I think he should have it replaced as soon as possible.

  8. Thank you for explaining that some chips can’t be repaired. I have a chip in my windshield, but I think that it’s grown to the point that you can’t get it repaired. I’ll be sure to talk to whoever will replace my windshield about different sizes of chips and which ones would be more possible to repair.

  9. It would be good to have my windshield repaired first to help me save hundreds on a replacement. If they can repair my glass effectively for a cheaper option then I would love to have it done. Maybe I should look for someone who can repair my glass for me soon.

  10. Repairing my mobile vehicle’s windshield will be the top priority after reading this since you mentioned that it saves on costs and I need to save on money for minor repairs. Since you did mention that it is a green practice, I might consider this since I realize that glass is hard to make and needs many resources. Because you said that it’s usually safe to repair car glasses, I’ll try to look for an auto repair shop as you pointed out if they are good enough at repairing minor cracks like what I have on my car.

  11. Maybe it’s a good idea to repair my windshield glass since you mentioned that it saves on costs and I need money right now. Because you also stated that it’s a green practice, I might get to lower my carbon footprint this way. As long as a good repairman does it for me, I do agree that it is safe as you said.

  12. It’s good that you mention that it’s important to have your car’s windshield replaced if it cracked along the edge. My windshield recently got cracked along one of its edges, so I’m thinking about having it replaced next week. I’m going to look for a good provider of windshield replacement services in my area to use.

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