Repair or Replace a Cracked/Chipped Windshield?

Awesome. While driving to my son’s high school soccer game last week, the car ahead of me kicked up a rock and chipped my windshield. Yes, on my beautiful, one month old Toyota Highlander. Serious bummer.

Oh well, it could have been worse. After all, my wife chipped the windshield just two weeks after we bought our 2012 Honda Odyssey.

Anyway, the chip was pretty small, less than the size of a dime, and it was a little less than halfway up the windshield on the passenger side. In other words, it was repairable. Here’s a picture of it…

Chipped Windshield

My chipped windshield… (click image to enlarge)

Not a great shot, I know. But you can (hopefully) see that it’s what those in the glass industry refers to as a “bullseye,” which should be an easy fix.

Repair or replace?

But did we want to repair it? Or should we get the windshield replaced? Our insurance (State Farm) would pay for either with no deductible, so it was really up to us to decide.

We’ve actually had a few damaged windshields over the years and, in each case, a repair wasn’t feasible. The damage was either too extensive or it was in the wrong place — either near the edge or in the driver’s eyeline. We thus ended up getting the windshield replaced in those cases.

But this time was different, and I was curious about windshield repairs, so I thought I’d give it a shot. At worst, the repair would suck and I could do the replacement. Not only that, but a successful repair would head off possible trouble (leaks, etc.) with a replacement.

While I could have bought a repair kit and done the work myself, I didn’t want to mess up my windshield. And hey, I wasn’t paying for the repair, so why risk it? I decided to call in a professional.

The fix is in…

I started by called various places, including Safelite, Guardian Auto Glass (they’ve been bought by Safelite, fyi), Glass America, and some local shops. All of them said that it would be about a week before they could get to it.

Great. After a week, it might have spread and could no longer be fixable. I then widened my search area and found a Glass Doctor franchise that could get me in the next day. I jumped at the chance.

The repair itself, which took less than 15 minutes, cost about $60. And the end result is quite good. No, it’s not invisible, but it’s barely noticeable.

The chip has been filled and the only sign of the repair is a tiny spot that looks a bit like the remains of a tiny, squashed bug. Yes, you can see it on a clean windshield, but it otherwise blends in with the grime, insects, etc.

So… Yeah, the windshield repair was definitely the way to go — at least in this case. And while I could’ve done it myself for $10-$15 (tops) with a diy repair kit, I doubt the results would have been as good.

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