We have all been there before. You are driving down a busy freeway when all of the sudden, WHACK! A rock from nowhere has put a large chip or crack in your front windshield. And that is just the beginning. The damage can quickly sprout new cracks that can obstruct your view and become a real hazard. But just because your window is chipped or cracked, does not mean it needs to be completely replaced.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, a small chip or crack can be easily fixed and save you the cost and headache of having to replace your entire windshield. The damage must be attended to immediately because any further damage could make the windshield irreparable.

So how do you know if you need a windshield repair or a windshield replacement? While most chips and cracks can be repaired, there are four important factors to consider: type, size, location and depth of the crack or chip.

Size is a very important factor. Smaller cracks, less than three inches, can usually be repaired. It used to be that once a crack hit more than 5 inches long, repair wasn't an options. But advances in technology mean some shops have the tools and skills to repair much longer cracks. Depth is also very important. Shallow cracks and chips are easier to repair.

Multiple cracks or chips in a windshield are also harder to repair than just one. Here are types of cracks and chips that are easily repaired:

  • Bulls Eye: Similar to a chip, a bulls eye crack is a circular shaped crack caused by a rock or other round object. It is usually larger than a chip.
  • Ding: A common chip
  • Floater crack: A crack that starts at least 2 inches away from the edge of the windshield
  • Pit: A small chips where a piece of glass is missing

The location of the crack or chip can also play a large factor in whether a windshield repair is an option. Even expert repairs can leave behind distortion or discoloration in the windshield. If the area needing repair is in the driver's direct line of sight, a replacement may be required. 


Also, chips or cracks near the edge of the windshield can compromise the window's overall integrity.

Here are some instances when a replacement is necessary:

  • Chip or crack is interfering with automatic rain senors or other cameras.
  • Chip or crack is on the interior
  • Chip or crack is in the driver's main line of sight
  • Cracks are longer than 18 inches.
It's important to do your research and make sure you're dealing with a certified windshield replacement company.