Beyond White Picket Fences

« Back to Home

When To Get Your Windshield Repaired Vs. Replaced

Posted on

There's nothing more disheartening than driving down the road only to have another car's tires spit a rock up into your perfect windshield, chipping it. Sometimes the chip is minimal and doesn't cause further cracking, but it's not always easy to tell which kind of chip is going to stay a tiny chip and which is going to transform into an ugly crack. Here are a few tips for determining if the chip needs to be repaired or if your windshield needs to be replaced.


The location of the chip is an important factor in the repair vs. replace debate. There are two types of chips or cracks that are most likely to require a complete windshield replacement. First, if the chip is accompanied by a crack that extends into the outer edge of the windshield, it's more likely to cause bigger problems down the road. That's because cracks at the edge of the windshield compromise the structure of the entire window. Second, a chip that ends up in the driver's field of vision is problematic. A chip in this area, which is sometimes referred to as the driver's primary viewing area or DPVA, usually requires a repair or replacement because it violates most states' driver safety regulations. If the chip is outside these two areas, the odds that it's repairable go up. If not, you may be looking at a windshield replacement, which averages around $250 when not covered by insurance but can cost as much as $1000 in higher-end cars with high-tech windshields. Luckily, many auto insurers cover at least one windshield replacement per year.

The Type of Damage

The type of damage in the glass also is a factor in whether or not the windshield can be repaired. The types of chips that are easiest to repair are stars, bullseyes, and half-moon chips. A star chip is one that has a middle impact point in the center with tiny cracks radiating outward that are no longer than three inches. As the name suggests, the bullseye chip is shaped like a small bullseye, a middle impact point with tiny round cracks radiating outward. The half-moon is basically half of a bullseye crack.

Other types of damage are much more difficult to repair. Those include cracks, spider cracks, and surface damage. Cracks are fairly self-explanatory. They are thin, meandering breaks in the surface of the glass. Spider cracks are the same but have many tiny cracks radiating outward without an air pocket. Surface damage includes gouges and scratches that have removed a glass layer from the windshield without cracking it.

To learn more, contact a windshield repair company.