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Windshield Rock Chips: Does It Pay to Repair Them?

It's important to repair or replace your windshield if it's cracked, but don't worry—it doesn't have to break the bank!

Fixing a cracked windshield doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

Fixing a cracked windshield doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

Small Rock, Big Problems?

You're driving down the road behind a truck. Then you hear a "BANG." A rock just struck your windshield. Amazing that a small rock striking the windshield can make that much noise. Also amazing that something made of glass can take that kind of abuse without breaking.

But wait . . . now you see it . . . there is a chip in the windshield.

The chip is small, about the size of a dime, or even smaller. Do I need to worry about this? How much would it cost to repair the rock chip, or even replace the windshield?

Rock Chip Repair Options

Fortunately, rock chips are simple to repair, and the work can even be done at your home or office. A technician will inject clear epoxy resin into the damaged area, which will harden. The process takes less than an hour and costs about $65.

If you do not get the rock chip repaired, water can get into the damaged area and facilitate cracking. Even if some cracks appear, the windshield can usually be repaired if the width of the crack is smaller than the size of a dollar bill.

Dr. Penny Pincher repaired his rock chip promptly, but it cracked after 2 weeks.

Dr. Penny Pincher repaired his rock chip promptly, but it cracked after 2 weeks.

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Windshield?

However, even areas of damage smaller than a dollar bill may require windshield replacement if the damage is in an area of the windshield that blocks the driver's view of the road. Also, some rock chips will crack out even after repaired (see picture).

How much does a windshield replacement cost? Not as much as you might think: $300 or less for most vehicles. The cost of the windshield with installation was $230 for my Honda Civic.

Windshield replacement can be done at your home, though it's best if you have a garage where the work can be done in a controlled environment. It is important not to drive for 3 to 24 hours to allow the urethane to cure. The technician should tell you the minimum wait time.

Is It Dangerous to Drive With a Cracked Windshield?

Yes. The windshield not only protects occupants from debris (like rocks!), but is an important contributor to the structural integrity of the vehicle. In other words, it is not safe to drive with a cracked windshield. The roof can collapse in an accident, or an airbag deployment could shatter a damaged windshield and create additional hazards in an accident.

Penny-Pinching Tips

  • Repair rock chips promptly (at a cost of about $65) to reduce the likelihood that the windshield will crack and need replacement.
  • Find a repair service that will guarantee rock chip repairs. I found one that will apply the cost of the repair to the cost of a new windshield if it cracks. The repair did crack, and they took $65 off of the bill for my replacement windshield
  • Repair or replace a damaged windshield in your vehicle. It will improve the resale value greatly, and more importantly, will be safe to drive.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Should there be a noticeable difference after a windshield rock chip repair?

Answer: You can usually spot where a rock chip has been repaired on a windshield. The fill material doesn't exactly match the original glass.

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher

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