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.
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.
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.