When to get a Windshield Repair vs. Windshield Replacement

Imagine driving down the highway; the sun is shining, and the road is clear. Suddenly, a small rock flies up and hits your windshield, leaving a noticeable chip. Now, you're faced with a decision: repair or replace?

According to the US National Windshield Repair Association, depending on the type and location of damage, the windshield could be  repaired.

What should you consider before contacting your auto glass professional? This article will guide you through determining whether a windshield repair or replacement is the best option for your vehicle, ensuring safety without compromising quality.

Determining Factors for Windshield Repair vs. Replacement

When faced with windshield damage, the decision between repair and replacement hinges on several key factors. Understanding these can help you choose the most appropriate and safe option for your vehicle.

Size of the Damage

When the chip is smaller than a quarter or crack occurring from the chip is less than the size of a dollar bill, it's usually considered safe and effective to opt for a repair. This small-scale damage can typically be fixed quickly and cost-effectively, restoring your windshield's integrity and clarity.

However, a replacement becomes necessary if the impact damage is larger than a quarter and cracks extend longer than a dollar bill. Larger cracks or chips can compromise the windshield's structural integrity and visually impair the driver's line of vision, making your vehicle unsafe to drive.

Location of the Damage

The location of the damage on your windshield plays a crucial role in determining whether repair or replacement is the most suitable option.

  • Driver’s Vision: If the damage is directly in the driver’s line of sight, even a small chip can lead to a replacement. This ensures clear vision and prevents any potential hazards while driving.
  • ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance System) cameras: Chips or cracks in front of the ADAS cameras can affect their operation. When damage occurs here a replacement is required.
  • Windshield Edges: Damage near the corners of the windshield can spread rapidly and weaken the overall structure. In such cases, replacing the windshield is often the safer choice.
  • Passenger Side: If the damage is on the passenger side and outside the driver's vision, a repair is more feasible, provided it meets the size criteria.

Extent of the Damage

Typically, up to 14 inches of chips or minor cracks are considered repairable. This limitation ensures the repair maintains the windshield's strength and doesn't obstruct visibility.

However, if there are more than three chips or major cracks, it’s time for a replacement. Multiple points of damage can significantly impair the windshield's effectiveness and clarity and pose a risk during driving.

Understanding Windshield Repair and Replacement

Navigating the windshield repair and replacement processes can be straightforward once you understand what each entails. This section provides an overview of both procedures, helping you to make an informed decision about the best course of action for your vehicle's windshield.

Windshield Repair

The repair process typically involves injecting a clear, curable resin into the chip or crack. This resin is then cured and polished to restore the strength and clarity of the glass. The process is quick, usually taking about 30 minutes, and can often be done at your convenience.

Windshield Replacement

When a replacement is needed, the entire windshield is removed and replaced with new glass. This process requires precision and expertise to ensure the new windshield is installed correctly and safely. It's crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of your vehicle, especially in the event of a collision.

Vehicles equipped with ADAS features will require calibration after replacement. Selecting a company that can provide both replacement and calibration, is generally the best option for your auto glass replacement needs.

Legal and Insurance Aspects

Navigating the legal and insurance aspects of windshield repair and replacement is integral to the decision-making process.

Legally, driving with a significantly damaged windshield can be a safety hazard and could be prohibited in many states. This rule underscores the importance of addressing windshield damage promptly.

From an insurance perspective, coverage for windshield damage varies by policy. While some policies offer full repair coverage, others may only cover replacement under specific circumstances. It's essential to consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and any potential out-of-pocket costs, ensuring compliance with legal standards and maximizing your insurance benefits.

Advantages of Repair and Replacement

Exploring the advantages of windshield repair and replacement is key to making a well-informed decision for your vehicle. Each option offers unique benefits tailored to different types of damage and considerations for safety, cost, and convenience.

Repair Advantages

  • Cost and Time: Repairs are generally more affordable and faster than replacements.
  • Insurance: Many insurance policies cover windshield repairs fully, often without a deductible.
  • Visibility: Proper repairs restore the windshield’s visibility and strength, provided the damage is minor.

Replacement Advantages

  • Safety: A new windshield ensures maximum safety and structural integrity, especially in severe cases.
  • Visibility: A replacement offers the highest level of clarity, which is especially important if the damage is in the driver’s line of sight.
  • Comprehensive Solution: For extensive damage, a replacement is the most effective long-term solution.


Deciding between windshield repair and replacement involves considering the damage's size, location, and extent, along with safety, legal, and insurance aspects.

At Caliber Auto Glass, we offer complete auto glass solutions – from minor repairs to full replacements and calibrations, ensuring your safety and satisfaction. Don't hesitate to reach out if you're facing a windshield dilemma. We're here to provide expert advice and top-notch service.

Contact us today for a professional evaluation and expert repair services. We’re committed to providing you with the best solution for your windshield replacement or repair needs.