Auto glass

Driving around with a cracked or shattered windshield is more than an inconvenience - it’s a hazard that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Every year, Americans replace somewhere between 13-14 million windshields, so it’s a pretty common problem here in the US.

Did you know that windshield replacements are the most common cause of insurance claims in the United States? There are plenty of other problems that you can run into with your trusty (well, sometimes) car, but windshield claims make up about 30% of all auto-related insurance claims in the US.

How are windshields repaired or replaced?

Windshields come in many shapes and sizes for various vehicles, so there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution. There are, however, many techniques for windshield repair that are perfectly valid for most automotive glass.

Typically, the two biggest factors to consider for windshield repairs are the scale and the scope of the damage. A small hairline crack may not be much to worry about right now, but if left neglected it may grow into a large spider web crack that can no longer be repaired.

Most windshield repairs are done with a form of resin which is injected directly into the crack or over the rock chip. The technician inserts the resin into the cracked or chipped areas then applies heat to the compound, which causes it to expand and fill up all of the air gaps in the cracks. The windshield is thereby hardened and the chance of the crack spreading further is minimized.

Professional glaziers typically cure the resin with UV lighting. After the resin has been allowed to set, your car is safe to drive after about an hour or two (if done professionally).

Keep in mind that the above is only possible if the crack is small, about the size of a dollar bill or smaller, or the chip is less than the size of a quarter. If your windshield is severely damaged or shattered, replacement will be necessary.

Why do they put tape on a new windshield?

If you’ve had your windshield repaired or replaced at an auto glass shop or by a mobile technician, chances are that the technician will have put some tape over the windshield. It looks ugly, but it serves an important purpose: retention tape is used to protect the windshield to hold the moldings of the windshield in place while the resin dries.

You can remove the tape after a day or two (as your technician if you’re unsure) and drive normally afterwards.

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Insurance coverage for windshield repairs or replacement

Most comprehensive insurance policies in the United States provide some sort of claim coverage for windshield repairs. In some states, such as Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina, insurance companies cannot charge a deductible for windshield replacement.

Check with your automobile club or insurance provider for specifics regarding windshield repair and replacement.

Helpful tips for windshield repairs

Cracked or shattered windshields need to be repaired sooner rather than later. Below are some helpful tips for dealing with damaged windshields:

  • If the windshield is not severely damaged, you can drive it to the nearest auto glass shop yourself.
  • If the windshield is severely damaged, refrain from driving it and instead request a mobile auto glass repair/replacement service.
  • If you repaired the windshield yourself, follow the instructions on your kit regarding the curing time. Allow the resin to completely cure before driving anywhere.

How can I fix a crack in my windshield?

It is possible to repair small cracks and rock chips in your windshield using a DIY kit. These kits aren’t too difficult to use; they’re usually some form of patch or epoxy resin which can be injected directly into the crack or chip without any professional auto glazier expertise. Patches are okay in some cases, but they aren’t the best way to get your windshield repaired since they do not work their way into the cracks themselves nor do they strengthen the windshield.

Pay attention to the instructions and allow plenty of time for the resin to cure completely. If the crack is more than three inches long or the chip is bigger than the size of a quarter, it’s probably better to take it into an auto glass shop than to attempt repairs yourself.

Do roadside assistance providers repair windshields?

In most cases, yes, roadside assistance providers such as AAA will be able to provide you with windshield crack repair or replacement services. It depends largely on your state and your insurance policy.

Comprehensive insurance packages normally allow motorists to claim for windshield repairs or replacement up to a certain amount, so check the fine print with your insurance provider.

How to find auto glass shops near you

Save time, effort, and money searching for ‘auto glass repair near me’ by using our partner site myWindshield. Hundreds of auto glass shops and mobile technicians all across the United States are ready to repair your cracked windshield, provide windshield replacement services, calibrate your ADAS system, and more.