Windshield Damage: When to Repair vs. When to Replace

Your windshield is arguably one of the most important parts of your car. It keeps you protected from flying debris, dry from the rain, and it keeps the wind from your eyes while driving, which is why it’s so important to ensure your windshield is in top shape and installed correctly. Windshield damage isn’t uncommon, whether it be from a change in temperature, flying debris, or poor installation.

Sometimes, windshields are repairable, but in some cases, the whole thing might need replacing. Understanding when you need a completely new windshield can help you avoid dangerous surprises on the road, like a malfunctioning windshield that could cause a wreck.

When Can I Repair My Windshield?

The repairability of your windshield depends on three factors: size, depth, and location. As a general rule of thumb, chips smaller than the size of a quarter and cracks up to three inches long can be repaired with ease. Windshield repair technology is constantly evolving, though, so different repair shops may have different capabilities.

Next, the depth of the crack or chip plays a huge role in whether or not it can be successfully repaired. A windshield is essentially a glass sandwich: the outer layer of glass, an in-between layer of plastic, and an inner layer of glass. If the damage to your windshield does not penetrate to the inner layer of glass, the windshield can likely be repaired.

Finally, the location of your windshield damage plays a huge role in whether or not it can be repaired. If the crack or chip is confined to the center of the windshield, away from the outer edges, it can usually be repaired.

When Do I Need a New Windshield?

Safety is the #1 reason to replace your windshield. In the event of a front-end collision, your windshield protects up to 45% of your cabin’s structural integrity. If you find your vehicle rolling, your windshield protects 60% of your cabin’s structure. If your repair specialist recommends getting a new windshield because the damage is too large for a repair, take their advice. While many people think driving with a cracked windshield is okay, it actually poses a huge safety risk.

When it comes to depth, if your crack or chip penetrates the inner, middle, and outer layer of your windshield, it is unrepairable and a new windshield is required. If the damage is located too close to the outer edges of the windshield, the structural integrity of the windshield is likely compromised and will require replacement. If the damage is in the driver’s line of sight, replacement is also recommended, because a windshield repair here usually results in slight distortion of the glass, which can impair driver visibility.

Windshield Repair and Replacement at Auto Glass of America

At Auto Glass of America, your safety is our top concern. Our highly trained professionals can properly repair your existing windshield or install a new one based on your needs — all while treating you like family. Choosing Auto Glass of America helps you rest easy knowing you’ve not only chosen the best professionals for the job, but also the friendliest in the business. Our expert knowledge of the industry combined with our top-notch customer service make us the most qualified to handle any of your auto glass needs in Knoxville, Johnson City, Chattanooga, Morristown, and every county in between. Contact us today for more information.

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