Cracked windshields are a common issue for many vehicle owners. Whether caused by flying debris, temperature changes, or accidents, these cracks can range from small chips to extensive damage. The good news is that many cracked windshields can be repaired, but it depends on the type, size, and location of the crack. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that determine whether a cracked windshield can be repaired and the steps involved in the repair process.

cracked windshield

cracked windshield

Types of Windshield Damage

Before diving into the repairability of windshield cracks, it’s essential to understand the different types of damage that can occur. Windshield damage generally falls into two categories: chips and cracks.

  1. Chips: Chips are small areas of damage caused by debris, such as rocks or hail. They typically appear as a small divot or crater in the glass.
  2. Cracks: Cracks are lines that extend through the windshield glass. They can be straight, curved, or spiderweb-like in appearance. Cracks can vary significantly in length and depth.

Factors Determining Repairability

Several factors influence whether a cracked windshield can be repaired or if it requires replacement. These include:

  1. Size of the Crack: Generally, chips smaller than a quarter and cracks shorter than three inches can be repaired. Larger cracks often compromise the structural integrity of the windshield and usually necessitate replacement.
  2. Location of the Crack: Cracks located in certain areas, such as the driver’s line of sight or the edges of the windshield, are more challenging to repair. Repairs in the driver’s line of sight can distort vision, while edge cracks tend to spread quickly, compromising the windshield’s stability.
  3. Depth of the Crack: Windshields are composed of three layers: two layers of glass with a layer of plastic in between. If the crack penetrates both layers of glass and reaches the plastic layer, it is generally too deep to repair.
  4. Type of Crack: Some crack types are easier to repair than others. For example, a single long crack may be easier to repair than multiple smaller cracks or spiderweb-like cracks.

The Windshield Repair Process

If the damage to your windshield is deemed repairable, the repair process is relatively straightforward and can often be completed in less than an hour. Here are the typical steps involved:

  1. Assessment: A professional technician will inspect the damage to determine if it can be repaired. They will consider the size, location, depth, and type of crack.
  2. Cleaning: The damaged area is thoroughly cleaned to remove any debris, dirt, or moisture that could affect the repair.
  3. Injection of Resin: A special resin is injected into the crack or chip using a tool designed for this purpose. The resin is carefully applied to fill the damaged area completely.
  4. Curing: Once the resin is injected, it needs to be cured. This is usually done using ultraviolet (UV) light, which hardens the resin and bonds it to the glass.
  5. Polishing: After the resin has cured, the repaired area is polished to ensure a smooth finish and to restore the clarity of the glass.

Benefits of Windshield Repair

Repairing a cracked windshield offers several advantages over replacement:

  1. Cost-Effective: Repairing a windshield is generally much cheaper than replacing it. Most insurance policies also cover windshield repairs with little to no deductible.
  2. Time-Saving: Windshield repairs can typically be completed in under an hour, whereas replacements may take several hours.
  3. Environmental Benefits: Repairing a windshield instead of replacing it reduces waste and the environmental impact associated with manufacturing new windshields.
  4. Preserves Original Seal: The original factory seal of the windshield is preserved during a repair, maintaining the structural integrity of the vehicle.

When to Replace a Windshield

While many windshield cracks can be repaired, some situations necessitate replacement:

  1. Extensive Damage: Large cracks, multiple cracks, or damage that affects the entire windshield usually require replacement.
  2. Edge Cracks: Cracks that reach the edges of the windshield are prone to spreading and compromising the glass’s integrity, making replacement necessary.
  3. Driver’s Line of Sight: Cracks in the driver’s direct line of sight can impair vision, even after repair. Replacement ensures clear visibility and safety.
  4. Depth: Cracks that penetrate through both layers of glass and into the plastic interlayer are too deep to repair and require replacement.

DIY Windshield Repair Kits

For minor chips and cracks, DIY windshield repair kits are available at many auto parts stores. These kits include resin and tools needed to perform a basic repair. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Skill Level: DIY repairs require a certain level of skill and attention to detail. Improper application of resin can result in a poor-quality repair.
  2. Effectiveness: Professional repairs typically produce better results than DIY kits. Technicians have access to higher-quality resins and specialized equipment.
  3. Warranty: Many professional repairs come with a warranty, giving you peace of mind in case the repair does not hold up. DIY kits do not offer this assurance.


In conclusion, many cracked windshields can be repaired, depending on the size, location, depth, and type of crack. Repairing a windshield is a cost-effective, time-saving, and environmentally friendly option that preserves the vehicle’s original seal and structural integrity. However, some situations, such as extensive damage or cracks in the driver’s line of sight, require replacement to ensure safety and visibility. While DIY repair kits are available, professional repairs generally provide better results and come with warranties for added assurance.

If you have a cracked windshield, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Ignoring cracks can lead to further damage and potentially compromise your safety on the road. Consult a professional technician to assess the damage and determine the best course of action. By doing so, you can ensure that your windshield is restored to its optimal condition, providing you with a clear and unobstructed view while driving.


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