How to Handle Windshield Damage — Before It's Too Late

On an unlucky day, you may notice a new chip in your windshield. It may look minor at first — but if left alone, it will gradually spread across your windshield into a spiderweb pattern.

If you act fast and have it repaired by a professional, you may be able to avoid the need for a full windshield replacement. That's important considering that a small windshield chip typically costs just $35 to fix. On the other hand, a full windshield replacement averages $300 or more. 

Want to avoid the pricier fix? Here's everything you should know about how to handle windshield damage to avoid making it worse and more expensive. 

Skip the DIY Windshield Repairs

You might be tempted to use a quick DIY fix to repair the windshield chip yourself. Unfortunately, super glue, clear nail polish, epoxy, and other DIY windshield repair methods never work for long. Worse yet, contaminating the crack in the glass may prevent you from being able to get professional repairs, says Joe Koncikowski, Owner of Lucky Dog Auto Glass in Kent, Washington.

“We have to be able to open a path to vacuum out the air and displace it with resin,” Koncikowski said. “If any part of that path is blocked, the repair won't be successful. Typically, there's only one chance to get a repair done correctly. If it isn’t done right the first time, there's usually not a second chance.”

Skip the hassle by heading straight to the experts when a chip appears. But how do you know if it's already beyond repair?

According to Jon Cox, Manager of Patriot Auto Glass, “If you put a quarter over the impact point of the chip, all the damage must fit underneath it to qualify for repairs." However, to get a definite answer, you should give a glass repair shop near you a call. 

What Makes Windshield Damage Worse?

Until you are able to get professional auto glass repairs, it's important to be very careful to prevent the crack from getting worse. Concussive forces, rapid temperature changes, and external pressure can all instantly expand the crack across your entire windshield.

Here are some tips to avoid further windshield damage: 

  • Close the doors slowly and with great care to limit concussive forces. 

  • Park in the shade and skip the heat and/or air conditioning to prevent rapid temperature changes.

  • Delay car washes, especially drive-through systems, to avoid external pressure.

Once you've had your windshield repaired or replaced by a professional, you can get back to your normal activities. 

How to Pick an Auto Glass Shop for Windshield Repair

Auto glass professionals can usually provide price quotes over the phone. Take advantage of that by calling several local shops. You may need to send an email or text with a picture of the damage. Once you have the quotes, it's time to compare apples to apples. 

Along with comparing prices, check each company's online reviews to see how satisfied their past customers are with their windshield repair service. Then, you can decide which company will offer the best balance of cost and value. 

Better Safe Than Sorry

Driving with a chipped or cracked windshield is not only dangerous, but it's also illegal in some states. For example, in Virginia, you can't have a chip more than one and a half-inch in diameter above the three-inch line at the bottom of the windshield. You also can't have two or more connected windshield cracks.

It's easy to understand why. A cracked windshield can compromise your visibility, increasing your risk of collisions with roadway obstacles, pedestrians, and other vehicles. Further, if a collision does occur, an undamaged windshield will better protect you and your passengers from injury.

Interested in learning more about staying safe while behind the wheel? Consider taking a defensive driving course. With, the course is 100% online and covers a variety of driving best practices. Plus, it can help you to earn an insurance discount or keep a ticket off your record. 

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Updated 4/26/22