In a perfect world, you’d schedule a service appointment at your local auto glass repair shop as soon as your windshield, side window, or rear window suffered a chip or crack. But in a realistic world, you’re busy, strapped for time, and might not be able to make it to the auto glass repair shop to get your window fixed.


So how long can you drive around with a chipped or cracked vehicle window? More importantly, will you be safe if you do continue driving?


Read on to learn about the various factors that determine whether you should continue driving with damaged auto glass and just how long it’s safe to do so.


Which Window Is Damaged?

Whether or not you should drive around with a chip or crack in your auto glass really comes down to one simple question: Which one of your vehicle’s windows contains the damage?



If it’s the windshield, it’s in your best interest to get it repaired right away because, depending on where the damage is, Minnesota law might prohibit you from driving. If a patrol officer notices your windshield has a decent-sized chip or crack, you could get pulled over and issued a ticket.


What’s more, even small windshield cracks can easily (and quickly!) grow much larger just from driving around town. Temperature fluctuations, flying road debris kicked up by other drivers’ tires, and even driving over potholes and bumps in the road can cause a small chip or crack to spread.


The longer you wait to have the damage fixed, the greater your chances of incurring more damage. And the more extensive the damage, the less likely a simple (and relatively inexpensive) repair will be possible.


Ultimately, you could inadvertently put yourself on the hook for a pricey windshield replacement if you don’t tend to a necessary repair as promptly as possible.


Rear Window

If your rear window has a minor chip or crack, it probably won’t affect your safety or your visibility too much. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it fixed as quickly as you can.


Driving around with damaged auto glass is never a great idea because so many things can cause damage to grow quickly. If that happens, you’ll need to get a complete rear window replacement.


Side Windows

If any of your side windows are chipped or cracked, and the crack doesn’t interfere with your ability to see while driving, the situation probably isn’t dire. If you can’t schedule an auto glass repair right away, don’t panic. But you should get the damage repaired as quickly as you can.


Even minor damage in a side window can spread quickly, and if it does, you’ll likely have to get the entire window replaced. Auto glass repair technicians may be able to fill a small chip or crack if you address the problem promptly, but if it grows at all, you’ll likely need a new window.


Is There Glass Damage in Your Line of Sight?

Your ability to see clearly while driving is the first thing you’ll want to consider when determining whether it’s safe to continue driving with damaged auto glass. If you’re dealing with a small crack or chip that’s not in your windshield and doesn’t interfere with your view, it may be safe to continue driving.


However, you should only continue operating your vehicle with the damage present for a very limited amount of time until you can get to an auto glass repair shop. Even if the damage doesn’t impede your line of sight on the road, it’s in your best interest to get it repaired within a few days maximum.


How Big Is the Crack or Chip?

The bigger the damaged area is, the more likely it will grow (and grow quickly). If you’re looking at a crack that’s longer than an inch or two, get it repaired as soon as you possibly can, ideally within a couple of days. If you’ve got a chip that’s bigger than a dime or one with small cracks extending from the center, it’s in your best interest to find alternative transportation until you can get your class fixed.


Do You Have Advanced Driver Assistance Systems?

If you own a newer-model vehicle — one that has lane assist, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and other advanced safety features — you really shouldn’t drive with damaged auto glass. Advanced Driver Safety Systems (ADAS) use sensors and cameras that may not function properly when there are cracks or chips in your windshield or rear window.


Find alternate transportation until you take care of the necessary auto glass repairs or schedule a mobile repair, if possible. Just make sure you schedule your appointment with an auto glass repair shop that specializes in ADAS calibration (like Only 1 Auto Glass!), so they can properly recalibrate the cameras and sensors once the repair is complete.


What Does the Weather Look Like?

If the forecast calls for freezing temperatures or super warm days, you’ll want to avoid driving with damaged auto glass. Extreme temperatures (both cold and hot), as well as drastic outdoor temperature fluctuations, can force your auto glass to expand and contract throughout the day.


If that happens, an existing chip or crack can grow rapidly and may become irreparable. At that point, you’ll need to pay for a brand-new window, which can be significantly more expensive than a minor auto glass repair.


Schedule Twin Cities Auto Glass Repairs With Only 1 Auto Glass

If you’re dealing with a chip or crack in your auto glass, get in touch with our team at Only 1 Auto Glass to schedule mobile or in-shop repairs at one of our many Twin Cities locations today! Our technicians are certified by the Auto Glass Safely Council and specialize in ADAS calibration to ensure your vehicle stays as safe as possible on the road.


To set up an appointment or learn more about how we can help you, feel free to call us today at 651-789-1111 or request a free estimate, and we’ll get in touch!