Repair, or Replace? -That is the question

RepairReplaceLet’s face it, the cost of having to repair or replace your car windshield is about the last expense you were planning for. Unfortunately, there’s no predicting when that gravel truck you are riding behind or the uncovered lawn care truck in the next lane, is going to kick up a rock or some other debris. You hear the unmistakable sound of one of these little missiles as it rockets towards your windshield. You know it hit, but at first you can’t see any damage. You breath a sigh in relief only to discover sometime later, the tell tale star break or bulls eye you thought you had escaped. Here’s a guideline and some advice when deciding whether to have your windshield repaired or replaced.

Windshields, unlike most other parts of your vehicle, can not be recycled. The PVB layer laminated between the outside and inside layers of UV glass is a synthetic, resembling a soft plastic. For some, this alone is enough to make them opt for a windshield repair when at all possible.

The repair process works best on rock chips about the size of a quarter or less. Damage larger than the size of a quarter can still be repaired, but typically, the greater the damage, the more visible the result will be. Some glass technicians and shops will repair cracks greater than 12 inches in length. In theory, any length crack can be repaired but it is not wise to do so. A repaired crack will be quite noticeable and more importantly, it will refract light differently from that of a non damaged windshield. This can cause the driver to be distracted and potentially lead to an accident. If a traffic officer spots a noticeable crack on your windshield you will get a ticket even if the crack has been repaired. Insurance companies often use a 6″ or dollar bill rule when approving or declining a repair claim. They will ask you if the repair is smaller than a dollar, and if so they will approve the claim. My own shop does not do crack repair and we typically only repair rock chips which are about the size of a quarter or less. We do this because we can control the quality of the repair. Customers are most often satisfied and insurance companies always approve our claims.

  1. Repair windshield damage up to about the size of a quarter.
  2. If you do decide to have a longer crack repaired, make sure the crack is less than the size of a dollar bill and not in the driver’s line of sight.

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