Cracked or chipped windshields are not only unsightly, they're also dangerous, as they can block the driver's vision and can weaken the windshield. Windshield repair can restore your windshield to like-new condition, giving it back its full structural integrity, creating a clear view for the driver, and ridding it of the unsightly crack or chip.
We'll cover the types of windshield cracks, how to determine if you can repair them, and how much a repair will cost.
There are five main categories of windshield damage. We'll cover all of them here.
Windshield cracks are fairly common and often start as long, straight lines on your windshield with defined starting and ending points. They can also be more jagged lines with multiple branches spreading from the main crack.
Generally, any crack that's 7.5 cm long or shorter is eligible for crack repair. For anything over 7.5 cm, you'll need a windshield replacement.
There are two types of windshield cracks to look out for: edge cracks and floating cracks.
As the name suggests, edge cracks are found on the borders of the windshield. These cracks can be hard to spot as they aren’t in the driver or passenger’s direct line of sight. Edge cracks can form as the result of environmental factors such as a sudden temperature change. They also could form from an existing crack on the perimeter of the windshield.
Car defrosters can exacerbate edge cracks as they direct hot air towards the bottom edge of a windshield.
Floating cracks are found in the center of the windshield and usually block the driver or passenger’s line of sight. Floating cracks can come from impact or temperature change, but they generally do not have a defined impact point.
Common stone chips are generally the result of a small debris striking your windshield while driving. They cause a divot in the windshield and are generally smaller than a loonie. Common stone chips with no additional cracks spreading from the main impact point are usually eligible for windshield repair. The depth of a common stone chip also influences the extent it can be repaired. Surface level, light stone chips generally do not require repair.
Compared to a common chip, bull’s-eye chips leave a circular, dartboard-like pattern in your windshield. In some cases, the damage is a partial circle or a half-moon.
They’re also generally larger and deeper than common chips and might not be eligible for windshield repair. In certain circumstances, you would have to replace the whole windshield.
Star chips have numerous small cracks flowing from the chip’s impact point. Star chips are generally eligible for repair services, like filling, but they're often still slightly visible after the repair.
In some cases, a windshield has had a bad run of luck and has sustained multiple crack and chip types. With multiple crack and chip types, repairing the windshield is generally not an option, and you must replace the entire windscreen.
There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to perform a windshield repair or replacement. These are size, depth, location, and number of chips and cracks.
The crack or chip size plays a significant role in whether or not you can repair it. If the crack is the width of a quarter or shorter, it's a relatively simple repair. If you're dealing with a chip, it's simple to repair if it is smaller than a loonie.
If the crack or chip extends halfway through the windshield or farther, it's not repairable. You'll have no choice but to replace it.
If a windshield has multiple chips or cracks, it might be best to replace the windshield. Furthermore, if you have repaired numerous chips or cracks, at a certain point the structural integrity of your windshield is compromised and it’s best to replace it.
Location can also impact a windshield's eligibility for repair. If the crack extends to more than one edge of the windshield, this can negatively impact the windshield's rigidity and the vehicle's structural strength in an accident. For this scenario, you should replace the windshield.
If a crack or chip is in the driver's direct line of sight — any area where the driver's windshield wiper blade touches — you should also replace the windshield.
Finally, if the crack or chip is in front of any safety sensors for automated systems (e.g., automatic wipers, heads-up display, or emergency braking), it may impair their effectiveness. In this situation, you should also replace the windshield.
Windshield repair cost varies greatly by whether you do it yourself or hire a repair shop to handle it.
You can repair minor cracks and chips with windshield repair kits from brands such as Permatex and Rain-X. Read the instructions thoroughly to ensure your windshield damage is within the product’s size restrictions. Pricing for these products is generally about $12 to $15.
For more severe or unique windshield damages, hiring a professional will save you time and headache, but it also costs more. According to Apex Glass, the average windshield repair cost is $70. However, that can depend on the severity of the chip or crack. However, with most insurance companies, you'll have an insurance deductible to meet before your coverage starts paying the bill. Usually, this deductible is significantly higher than the $70 repair bill, so you pay it 100% out of pocket.
If your windshield needs replacing, that can range from $190 to $400 on average. In some cases, though, it can reach $800 or more if your vehicle is equipped with certain frontal safety sensors. If you have comprehensive car insurance, you can expect to pay only your deductible for the insurance claim.
When buying a high-quality used car from Clutch, Canada's first fully online car-buying experience, you don't have to worry about getting a car with a cracked windshield. All our vehicles go through a 210-point inspection process that includes a thorough examination of the windshield. Depending on the severity of any chips or cracks, we repair or replace the windshield.
On top of that, we offer a 90-day or 6,000-km warranty on all Clutch vehicles bought online, plus a 10-day test to own return policy. If you don't love your Clutch vehicle in the first 10 days, you can exchange it for a different vehicle or return it for a refund.
We also accept trade-in vehicles. Head to our online vehicle estimator and enter some information on your current vehicle to get a trade-in estimate. If the estimate looks good, you can submit additional information and a few pictures of the vehicle to get a firm trade-in offer. We'll handle picking up your trade and all the paperwork.
We also offer access to financing, which you can apply for online in just a few minutes, making the entire process a breeze.