Car windscreen repair or replacement
We wouldn’t dream of insulting your intelligence by telling you how important a role your car windscreen plays.
Nobody would drive with their eyes closed; so why would you drive with a shattered windscreen or with impaired visibility? Sadly, many still do, and such cases often lead to terrible outcomes.
Despite being manufactured to high standards of safety and strength, glass is a vulnerable material and will be subject to different types and levels of damage throughout its life.
Chipped and cracked car windshields
A chip can easily be caused by any foreign object being thrown up from the road during day-to-day use. It would be surprising if you haven’t been worried about something that had hit your car windshield at some point during the time you’ve spent driving.
Fortunately, a chip isn’t the bad news we might think it is on first inspection.
The real problem is that if a chip isn’t dealt with in the correct manner, it could quickly turn into a much bigger crack. A bigger crack would require a complete windscreen replacement.
As your car vibrates or hits a pothole, speed bump, a kerb or anything else, it could be just enough to cause that little chip to grow into a much bigger and more expensive problem.
Here are your windscreen chip golden rules:
- ALWAYS repair chips before they grow into more troublesome problems.
- A chip suitable for repair needs to be smaller than a £2 coin. Anything bigger will require a windshield replacement.
- A chip cannot be within 3cm of the windscreen edge if it’s going to be repaired. Anything within 3cm of your windscreen’s edge will require a windshield replacement.
- Any chip or crack in the driver’s line of sight cannot be bigger than 10mm. The driver’s line of sight is considered to be an area of 30cm directly in line with their eyesight.
Replacing a car windscreen
Ok, so the worst has happened. Your chip has grown into a crack that’s too big to be repaired, or that bird that flew into your car on the M40 made a great job of writing off your windshield.
Any collision or accident can result in a broken windscreen. Given it’s against the law to drive with relatively small areas of damage, it’s imperative that you get a severely damaged windscreen replaced as soon as possible.
The fitting of your new car windshield
Replacing your car windshield is a pretty straightforward process, with most garages and vehicle glass technicians equipped to switch your smashed windscreen for a shiny new one in next to no time.
- Your mechanic will apply protective coverings around the glass wherever required, typically to protect your car’s bodywork and vehicle interior.
- They will then remove the seals or glue holding your windscreen in place.
- A primer is applied to the window frame of the vehicle and is left to dry.
- Once the primer is dry, bonding glue is applied to the frame to ensure a strong and secure fusion between the glass and the frame.
- When the new glass is in place, the bonding agent (glue) must be allowed at least one full hour to dry. Your vehicle is not to be driven during this time.
Despite the hour it takes for the glue to fix, the process shouldn’t take too much more than that from start to finish. An experienced windshield mechanic will be able to remove a broken windshield in the blink of an eye, clean and prime the frame and drop the new one in with very little problem.
Car windscreen crack repair
As already outlined, repairing a chip or a crack will stop any small issues from growing into much bigger ones.
Your windscreen technician will examine the damaged area and let you know the optimum solution depending on its size and location.
Some repairs can appear almost invisible, but most will still be visible after the treatment. The repair is carried out to prevent further damage to the glass, not to remove the visible issue of the crack.
Chipped and cracked car windscreens
If your car windshield is chipped, it’s a far simpler and more cost-effective solution to have it repaired rather than replaced.
Here’s how your glass technician will typically carry out the repair:
- The damaged area will be thoroughly cleaned and dried.
- The chip or crack will be filled with a clear resin that has almost identical properties to the glass in your windshield.
- Your technician will make sure the resin repair is smooth and structurally sound. This prevents damage to, and poor performance of your windscreen wipers, protecting you from excessive windscreen wiper blade wear.
Car windscreen replacement prices
The cost of replacing your car windscreen will depend on the make and model of your car and where you choose to have the work carried out.
Windshield replacement prices will vary from garage to garage and dealership quotes will nearly always be higher than those of your high-street mechanic.
A new windshield will cost anywhere from £150 and up. The bigger the vehicle and the more upmarket your model, the more you’re likely to pay. You can expect to pay up to £400–£500 for higher-end vehicles such as a Mercedes, Jaguar or a Land Rover.
The benefits of car windscreen insurance
Many standard insurance policies will include windscreen cover as standard or as an additional extra that you can add to your policy.
Given the cost of a complete replacement, it’s worth it to insurers to pay the smaller fee for repairs than have to shell out for a brand new windscreen.
If you’re considering windscreen insurance as an optional extra, it could be well worth the small addition to your premium if your policy excess is high. You could end up paying the full amount out of your own pocket if that tiny chip grows into something more serious.
A broken car windscreen and your MOT
Your car could fail its MOT test depending on the severity of a chip or crack in your windshield. You could be fined or have points added to your driving licence if your car is found to be in an unroadworthy condition. If obscured vision results in a collision or accident, you could well be liable for prosecution—so it’s always worth checking that your car is within the boundaries of the law.