The Windshield Repair Alternative to Replacement

by Don Elliott on August 30, 2011

The windshield is an important part of a car’s structure. It is important to maintain your windshield to preserve a good used car value. The windshield’s strength provides protection from weather and debris. It is also a safety system component that prevents passengers from flying forward out of the car in collisions.

Windshields are two layers of laminated glass adhered to a plastic center. Other glass in the car is tempered glass. Tempered glass is designed to shatter into small pieces when it breaks. Laminated glass is designed to remain in place, even when broken with a hard impact.

When stone damage or a single, long crack less than 24” breaks the outer layer of glass, it is possible to repair the damage. Why repair the windshield rather than replace it?

  • Removing the windshield breaks the original factory seal. This potentially weakens the structure.
  • Repair is less expensive than replacement
  • Your car’s automotive comprehensive coverage may cover 100% of the repairs. Replacement usually has a deductible component. Insurance companies often pay for the repair to avoid the higher cost of replacement.
  • Windshield repair can often be done in less than an hour.

What is the downside of windshield repair versus replacement?

  • Not all stone chips and cracks can be repaired. If the repair is not done soon after it occurs, foreign matter gets into the crack and prevents the possibility of repairs.
  • Some chips and cracks are still partially visible after the repair.
  • Not all technicians are properly trained or experienced to complete a quality repair.

Windshield repair is not a complicated process. A clear structural adhesive is injected into the broken area. A special ultraviolet light source is then used to cure the affected area. Properly done, resin evenly fills the voided area with the surrounding windshield surface. This makes the repair nearly invisible. Windshield repair kits are available for the do-it-yourselfers. However, experience and skill improve the odds of a successful repair. Most auto repair shops will not touch a repair previously attempted by another shop and/or by the owner. Windshield replacement is then the only alternative.

What is the cost for a windshield repair? Depending on the severity, windshield repair costs range from $25 to over $300. An average repair is about $75. Some repair services require a stop at the windshield repair shop. However, in most major metropolitan areas, mobile windshield repair services can repair your windshield at your home or place of business.

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