Repairing vs. Replacing Car Glass

Repairing vs. Replacing Car Glass

If you are trying to determine whether it’s better to repair car glass or have the windshield replaced entirely, there are a few different factors to consider. The impact that the damage has on visibility and the ability to safely drive the car are the most important criteria. Then, the size, depth and location of a chip or crack are also weighed when determining the best solution is for a damaged car glass.

What Is the Best Way to Fix My Windshield?

It can be difficult to decide what is the best way to fix it. Here is a quick guide to help determine the best course of action for a broken windshield.

Signs a Windshield Can Be Repaired or Should Be Replaced

Can Be Repaired if Should Be Replaced if
Fixing the damage will not reduce the safety of the car in case of impact or collision. The windshield is damaged to the point that it impairs the driver’s visibility.
The crack is shorter than 12 inches or the chip or bullseye is smaller than 1 inch. The crack is longer than 14 inches or the chip or bullseye is larger than 3 inches.
Only the outer layer of the glass is damaged. The inner layer of glass has also been broken.
The crack or chip is not close to the outer margin of the glass. The damage is near or reaches a corner or edge of the windshield.

Factors Related to Windshield Repair or Replacement

Let’s take a deeper look at these aspects that should be considered when determining whether to repair or replace car glass.


As with all issues in the automotive world, safety is the most important concern. Though it’s generally not dangerous to drive with a broken windshield for a short distance, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. The windshield is engineered as a key component in the structural integrity of the vehicle, but glass is weakened by damage. If the car is involved in a collision, a broken windshield cannot provide the intended level of protection to the driver and passengers.


Driving a car with a windshield that has been damaged in a way that reduces the ability of the driver to see clearly is a big safety risk. In some states, like Pennsylvania, it is also illegal. Glass repair is usually not recommended if the crack or scratch is within the driver’s line of vision – this generally means the surface area covered by the windshield wipers.


Though new tools and techniques are always being developed for windshield repair, there are still limitations to what sizes and types of damage can be fixed. The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) guide published by the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) states that chips or bullseyes up to 1 inch in diameter or cracks as long as 12 to 14 inches in length can be safely fixed.


Windshields are made of two layers of glass and, if damage penetrates through to the plastic layer or the inner layer of glass, it can’t be repaired and will have to be replaced. Replacement is also the likely recommendation for a windshield with any type of damage on the interior layer of glass, even if the external layer is intact.


If a windshield has a crack that nears the frame, it’s likely that car glass technicians will recommend that it be replaced. This is because even small fissures close the edge or corner of the glass can worsen and spread quickly thanks to the vibrations of the car and added stress as it travels over bumps and dips in the road. Cracks located near the frame can also be a safety issue as they undermine the structural integrity of the glass.

The location of windshield damage may also be an issue when it involves technological systems with components that are embedded into the windshield. To ensure that sensors, automatic breaking or advanced driver assistance systems work properly, replacement may be advised.

If you’re still unsure about what to do, read the “7 Signs Your Windshield Needs to Be Replaced.”

Advantages of Repairing Car Glass

Fixing a crack in a timely manner will help prevent it from spreading. Car glass technicians can fix most minor cracks and chips in about 30 minutes and the cost is relatively low. A well-repaired windshield should completely restore both durability and visibility. It’s also important to note that car insurance companies usually favor repair coverage.

Advantages of Replacing Car Glass

Replacement will likely take longer – about 3 hours if that type of windshield is in stock – and be the more expensive option. When done properly, however, windshield replacement is the sure way to restore the integrity of the car in case of extensive damage or cracks reaching the frame and, therefore, may be the safest option. Installing new glass ensures the highest level of visibility, where chipped or severely pitted glass may still seem less clear even after being repaired.

Read on for quick tips on what to do when your windshield has cracked and how to get your windshield repaired or replaced through insurance.

Looking for a Reliable Repair Service Near You?

Anthony Volk Glass will determine if your windshield can be repaired safely or if it should be replaced. Repairs usually cost around $70, which can be significantly less then substitution depending on your particular car make and model. Our skilled technicians can help you decide what is the best solution for fixing your damaged windshield and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

Call Anthony Volk Glass at (484) 999-3319 or fill out our online quote request.

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Anthony Volk

Anthony Volk is a third generation auto glass installer born and raised in West Chester, PA. With over 20 years of personal auto glass experience he and his team will bring that experience to you.