There are two main solutions to dealing with a broken windshield. You can either fill a crack if it’s small enough, or you can replace the whole windshield. The latter is the more expensive option, while the former is for smaller imperfections. It’s like dealing with serious body damage or chipped paint, but your windshield is much more important in terms of your safety than your car’s paint is.
Whether or not a break can be repaired, rather than replacing the glass, depends on a number of factors including type of break, location of break and amount of time the glass has been broken. But what’s important is that it gets fixed soon, cracks and chips can grow longer or wider if not repaired or replaced.
The decision to repair a crack or chip can be easy to make depending on the size of it.
The Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard allows repair of cracks 14 inches or less, so cracks that are larger than that will need a complete replacement of glass. Most one or two inch chips are commonly dealt with, but again, it depends on what your tech says is possible.
Some quick research shows that certain types of cracks and chips just can’t be repaired. For example, if the damage extends from the exterior pane of glass and penetrates the interior, it’s too deep to be repaired. Chips on corners or tight spots are often too difficult to repair too, so count those out. If a chip or crack has spread after the initial damage, that’s a clear sign the glass needs to be replaced. Also take into consideration things like temperature sensors, radio antennas and other high-tech goodies that can be embedded into your windshield that can affect whether the glass can be repaired and increase the cost of a replacement.