Vehicle Repair

Need help? Here's how to fix your chipped, cracked, or shattered windshield

Chipped, cracked, and shattered windshields are a problem that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Photo by Getty Images

Chipped. Cracked. Shattered. Whatever the ailment, it's likely that at some time during the life of your vehicle, you will have to change out its windshied. Here's what to do if your windscreen suddenly needs to be replaced.

Contact your insurance company. Have photos of the damage ready and your story straight. Often, your insurance company will authorize a repair without any cost to you or waive the deductable if you opt for a chip repair, which costs them less than replacing an entire windshield. Insurance companies will likely have a preferred vender for a repair, and it might not be your dealership.

Will your insurance cover it? When looking for an automotive glass installer, call your insurance company for a recommendation. At the same time, inquire about making a claim for the repair. They usually treat a glass repair claim differently than other comprehensive claims. A different deductable usually apply in this situation.

Move quickly. If you just have a small chip, it can usually be easily repaired and you won't have to replace the entire windshield. However, you need to act quickly to prevent the chip from turning into a crack or worse.

Auto Glass Replacement There's a lot to consider when you think you need to have your windshield replaced. Photo by Getty Images

Not all windshields are created equal. If you do not get a chip repaired in time and the crack spreads, you will need a replacement windshield. You may think that all replacement windshields are the same, but they are far from it. Calling around, you might find a replacement windshield for only $150, including installation. A call to another automotive glass specialist reveals that company charges $375, including installation.

What is the difference?

There are numerous types of replacement windshields on the market but they aren't all good quality. Some are thin while others are thick. Some may not contain the tinting you are used to or distort your view.

Find the right replacement. When you contact a glass installer, ask for a price of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) DOT replacement glass. To obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) certification, the glass must pass strict quality standards.

Automakers have specifications regarding the shape, size, and thickness of the windshields in their vehicles when the car is originally produced. Most new cars and trucks use laminated, acoustic glass. An acoustic glass windshield has an layer of soundproofing insulation between the two layers of glass. Replacing any of your glass with standard glass, which is not laminated, will make your previously quiet vehicle more susceptible to wind and road noise.

Is it safe? According to the Auto Glass Safety Council, the windshield provides significant structural support strength to the cabin of the vehicle. According to their research, in the event of a front end collision, a windshield provides up to 45 percent of the structural integrity of the cabin of the vehicle. During a rollover crash, the amount increases to 60 percent. It is not an exaggeration to say that choosing the right windshield could be the difference between life and death.

Make sure the job is done right the first time. To ensure that your windshield is being replaced by a certified technician who knows what they are doing, ask if the shop/operation is AGRSS (Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standards) certified. To obtain this accrediation, a repair shop and its installers must have specialized training and the equipment to perform a professional replacement.

Get schooled on the stipulations of your service. It there a warranty? Even great shops make a mistake sometimes. A warranty may ensure that you will not have to pay again for something that should have been done right the first time.

Not all replacement windshields are the same. Using this information to choose the right installer and the right parts can ensure that you get the quality replacement you need to keep you safe on the road.

Each year there are 69 million vehicle breakdown events in the U.S. alone.

Photo by Getty Images

Has your car ever broken down? You are not alone. Agero, one of largest providers of driver assistance software and services, has announced the findings of a recent study that showed that there are 69 million breakdowns each year in the U.S. alone. That's the equivalent to one in every three drivers.

Altogether, those breakdowns have a $41 billion impact on the economy. Aergo asked a number of questions as it analyzed the gathered data including:

  • Besides the roadside and tow operator service costs, what is the financial impact of all the time that drivers spend dealing with their car when they were planning on being at work or picking up their children from school?
  • What about the time other drivers lose when they are sitting in traffic behind a stuck car?
  • How much does it cost to repair the car, or buy a new tire or battery once the car is off the road?
  • When hundreds of service providers and drivers are injured or killed on the side of the road after breakdowns, what is the cost to our society of the medical bills and the loss of life?

Here is what they learned.

The cost of breakdowns in the U.S. is more than the combined salaries of every household in Miami, Orlando, New Orleans, and St. Louis, combined, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. It averages about $315 per American household, which is the equivalent of the GDP of Bolivia, as calculated by the International Monetary Fund.

The annual cost of roadside assistance is $7 billion. Forty-one tow company workers were killed on the job in 2017 and 980 were injured according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

tow truck operator Ford Escape Nearly 1,000 tow truck drivers were injured on the job in 2017. Photo by Getty Images

What do breakdowns mean for U.S. businesses? There are 30 million lost workdays each year due to breakdowns alone, which results in a $9 billion impact to drivers and businesses.

Each year, 150 million people spend 120 million hours sitting in traffic jams caused by breakdowns.

The human cost of a breakdown is startling, and yet another reason for drivers to give plenty of clearance space when they approach a breakdown on the road. More than 700 drivers are killed per year while trying to resolve a breakdown according to numbers from the Governors Highway Safety Association, Center for Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The economic of those injuries and fatalities is $8 billion.

Americans pay $15 million in repair costs annually from breakdowns.

Related Articles Around the Web

Snow tires and winter tires are often thought of as the same thing. They're not.

Photo by Getty Images

Not all tires are created equal, and not all tire types are the same. This isn't just true in NASCAR and F1. It's also true at your local tire shop.

Winter and snow tires are often confused as being for the same thing. Or, at least for the same season. That's not necessarily true.

The difference between tire types is more than just a tread pattern. Originally, snow tires were just winter tires with deeper tread patterns that could more easily take on snow-covered streets and trails. Chemistry and production techniques have made modern snow tires more sophisticated.

Winter tires aren't just designed to take on snow. They're designed for when conditions are below 44 degrees, the point at which road conditions start to seriously change. The tread patterns, flexibility, and density of the tire all come into play.

Today, despite that many call their winter tires "snow tires," most companies to not make a designated snow tire, instead relying on modern winter tires that are more versatile.

Drivers often leave all-season tires on their car thinking that they're in good enough shape and happy to avoid another trip to the tire shop. All-season tires are formulated to perform best when worn by your vehicle in 50 to 100 degree temperature conditions.

When it has reached 44 degrees and below outside, the materials that make up a summer or all-season tire get rigid, which impedes flexibility and grip, making them less safe.

When choosing a tire, whether it's of the winter, summer, or all-season variety, be sure to check the owner's manual of your car to determine what the recommended tire is. Automakers work closely with tire companies to develop the "perfect" tire for their vehicles.

Wondering which winter tires are best? Our friends at TFL recently tested some in the snow.

TFL: Which Snow Tire is Best? We Test Them On America's Steepest County Road! Video by TFL Car