When and How to Replace Your Vehicle’s Windshield

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With time, your car’s windshield will certainly get the beating until it shows you that I can’t take it anymore.

If your vehicle is used extensively on rough roads, you may start to notice little cracks paving their way into more of a network. If that’s the case, your next question will be if you should get it repaired or even replaced altogether.

Honestly, the answer to that question cannot be a simple yes or no. Rather, it will depend on multiple factors, which we’ll cover in this specially designed informative article for you.

Types of damages to a windshield

Damaged Windshield

Damage to your vehicle’s windshield depends on the collided object, whether it’s a big object or a small one. Both will have different intensities of damages as collision with a person, and small stone cannot have the same impact. 

Firstly, you need to understand how a windshield is manufactured. It’s a combination of 2 layers with a lamination of plastic in between. When an object hits the screen, the combination holds the breakage together and prevents it from collapsing or shattering any further.


When collusion happens, whether small or large, its impact can break away some of the layers of the windshield. If the impact is small, chips are not that severe to be careful about and can be repaired.

However, if the impact was deep enough to shake the inner layer, you are most likely looking at a replacement. At that stage, it’s basically the start of the development of cracks that will grow in no time.


You can distinctly separate a crack from a chip as the earlier is a clear line showing breakage of all layers of glass. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small crack from one end of the windshield; it won’t stay the same and will gradually increase its way into a much larger crack. 

Vehicles are usually exposed to changing weather quite often, such as hot sunny days as well as strong wind and storms.

With changing temperature, your windshield’s crack can also grow as the glass expands and contracts according to the outer temperature. Depending on the change in temperature, it can grow very swiftly. As a temporary solution, you can apply tape on the crack, but that can only slow the process of crack growth, not more.

Other factors that contribute to the speeding up of cracks are your daily exposure to the vehicle, such as road conditions, speed bumps, harsh breaks, and so on.

When to replace a damaged windshield?

You’ll find plenty of instances where the vehicle owner gets no options but to replace the windshield as a last resort.

For instance, if an object hits your windshield and creates a small hole in the glass, the only resort is to replace it as no repair can solve the issue. That was a clear-cut example with an obvious answer; however, in reality, you may experience situations where it’s more of a judgment call. 

Windshield replacement becomes necessary even in case of small cracks or chips. Generally, a windshield has a threshold level of absorbing impacts, after which it cannot withstand anymore and can be drastic to have on the vehicle in running condition.

Suppose you have 2-3 cracks or even a single long one; it’s time to replace it with a new one. You can apply a few repair procedures, but when the cracks are on the driver’s side, it’s not so good for the diver’s visibility. Repairs leave marks on the windshield which can distract the driver while driving, so the safe option is replacement instead of repair as it can compromise safety.

How to replace a windshield?

If your car has advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), you probably need to get it calibrated after the installation of your new windshield. For the DIY installation of a windshield, you can follow the below-summarized steps to replace your old windshield with a new one.

  • Remove the rear view mirror or any attachment with the old windshield.
  • Remove the wiper blades and any plastic molding which may be blocking the windshield premises.
  • The next step is cutting the urethane seal with a cold knife on all sides of the windshield.
  • Now you can remove the old windshield with care. Look for any residual urethane and remove it as much as possible. Care must be applied in saving the paint and bonding surface from scratches. 
  • Use sandpaper to smoothen up the surface for further application of urethane. You can also use a vacuum cleaner for a thorough clean-up to remove any residual particles or dust.
  • Look for any specific instruction on the new urethane and apply it accordingly on the perimeters of the windshield.
  • Make sure that an even layer of urethane is applied. You can use an electric caulk gun for this purpose to fill up any gaps as well.
  • The next step will be the installation of the windshield without any delay. You don’t want the curing process to start before installation. Suction cups can be used for easy lowering of the windshield.
  • Make sure that the windshield is in the right spot and no loose ends are there. 
  • Apply tape on the sides of the windshield temporarily to prevent it from sliding.
  • Now, you have to wait for the standard time that the urethane manufacturer has recommended.

Insurance coverage of windshields

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the cost of replacing a windshield varies from normal to quite high.

It isn’t a cheap process for sure.

Do you have to pay for this replacement on every occasion? Well, that depends. For one, there are states with free windshield replacement policy, which you can avail yourself of and save money. Two, you need to ask your insurance agent if your insurance covers the replacement of a windshield or not.

If it does, then you have got a sweet deal from your agent. 

Most probably, if you have a valid auto insurance policy, windshield replacement will also be covered under comprehensive insurance coverage. 

Do some homework and save some bucks in the form of free windshield replacement.


Well, I hope that the article was helpful.

You just learned when and how to replace your automobile’s windshield and how your insurance can save you money too. Why not share this masterpiece with your circle. You never know who you will save.

If there are things you don’t know much about car insurance, don’t hesitate to check these cool facts about car insurance.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for innovatecar.com and other auto blogs