Replace or Repair a Windshield with a Crack: The Ultimate Guide

It happens to most of us. At the most inopportune time, there’s a whack on the windshield. You take a closer look and notice a nice-sized chip or crack in the glass.

Not only is it distracting, but you know it’s the beginning of a serious issue with your windshield. That chip may soon turn into a crack that spreads out of control.

At which point, you’ll have to decide whether to repair or replace your windshield.

Not all chips lead to cracks, and not all cracks mean you have to buy a new windshield. But you don’t want to wait too long to test either theory.

Should I repair my chipped windshield or should it replace it? You may be asking yourself this while glaring at a fault in your windshield.

If so, check out this guide to learn more about when to replace or repair a windshield.

A Chip or a Crack: What’s the Difference

Two kinds of damage normally happen to most windshields–chips and cracks. You can repair the majority of them, but there are some that are impossible to fix.

A chip is a small nick in the glass that happens at the point of impact when something hits the windshield. Small pieces fall off the glass in the process. These nicks form in different ways:

  • A Star Chip: tiny cracks form outward from the center of the chip.
  • Flower Chip: the edges of the chip resemble a flower.
  • Bull’s Eye: a circular nick whose center looks like a small bull’s eye.
  • Half a Bull’s Eye: gives the appearance of a half-moon.

A technician can repair most of these chips through a filling process. But that depends on how they enter the surface of the glass. If the chip forms into the glass at a perpendicular or shallow angle, repair is possible.

The same works for cracks.

Cracks are clear lines in the glass that can stretch from under an inch to across the entire windshield. Cracks spread across glass in several ways:

  • Small Edge Crack: inch small type of crack that starts at the edge of a windshield
  • Pit Crack: starts as a tiny gauge that floats two inches from the center.

Similar to chips, cracks may be repairable, but it depends on how they enter and sit in the glass.

What Causes Windshield Faults

Anything can cause a fault in a windshield–vehicle debris, flying pebbles and rocks, and inclement weather.

Pebbles and Rocks

Loose pebbles and rocks come from common roadside construction. Strong winds along with passing cars come through and send particles airborne. Most of the time it’s small fragments of stone broken off larger pieces during construction.

The chips fly free along the road causing damage to oncoming vehicles.

Vehicle Debris

One of the first lessons you learn in driver’s education is to never drive behind large, commercial trucks. They obstruct your view, plus all types of stuff flys off the back of them.

A lot of times, workers don’t secure trash, parts, and cargo on the back vehicles. In turn, things fly off and damage vehicles traveling behind them. Windshields take the brunt of the damage.

Inclement Weather

Although we need the rain, driving in severe weather may cause damage to your vehicle. Strong winds can send things hurtling into your windshield. And a weather element like hail could cause chips and cracks depending on the size of the hail balls.

Whatever the case, these are the common culprits. They cause most chips in cracks in windshields.

Repair Windshield or Replace

When should you repair or replace? This depends on the type of windshield fissure and the factors surrounding it. How big is it? Where is it located in the glass? Is the flaw too deep to mend?

As stated earlier, it’s possible to repair certain chips and cracks, depending on their size.

Advancement in technology allows for modern ways to repair windshields but based on certain criteria.

Size and Shape

If a chip or crack is less than the size of a quarter and no longer than four inches, repair is possible. But this takes a professional opinion.

Once a professional determines repair is possible, they employ the use of resin. Resin is a viscous substance, with a natural or synthetic origin, used to make or repair things.

Window repair specialists inject chips or cracks with resin then use a vacuum to spread it. As soon as the fissure fills, the windshield’s considered repaired.


For the safety of the driver, the law requires laminated glass on windshields. Laminated glass has several layers–a plastic layer enclosed in two layers of glass.

If the damage permeates all three layers, repair is impossible. You will have to replace the windshield.


Where the damage happens in the windshield also determines repair or replacement.

Damage that runs along the outer edge of the glass is not good. This typically means there’s more damage to the structure of the glass than it appears.

Trying to repair the damage that reaches the edge will cause more harm. You’ll end up having to replace the glass regardless.

Forego trying to repair damage in the driver’s line of sight. Manipulating glass in this area further warps it, making it difficult for the drive to see the road.

Also, keep in the mind that damage on the inside of a windshield is tough to repair. Chips and cracks in this areas require glass replacement.


To repair or replace boils down to whether or not a professional technician can see the damage. There are also some areas that if repair’s attempted, more damage than good may result.

For example, cracks near the rain sensor, multiple cracks, and damage longer than a ruler are indications of replacement. Always enlist the opinion of a professional.

Moving Forward

Knowing when to repair a windshield or replace it often requires more than a glance. Sometimes it’s hard to determine a chip from a crack and if either is repairable.

Use this guide to make general observations about your window then talk it out with an expert.

Request a quote today and have someone speak with you concerning your auto glass needs.

Windshield Replacement Time: Safe Drive-Away Time vs. Minimum Drive-Away Time

You see that crack on the edge of your windshield and you know you need to get it replaced. You aren’t alone, 70-80% of windshield replacements are due to a crack less than 2 inches from the edge.

Having your windshield replaced my seem like a time-consuming project. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many replacement technicians can come right to you. This lets you continue on with your day as your new windshield cures.

That curing part of the windshield replacement time is vital for your safety. We’re going to explain terms you might hear and what they mean.

Safe Drive Away Time

The safe drive away time is how long your vehicle needs to sit before it’s considered safe to drive. This amount of time depends on the glass, weather, and adhesive used.

The range could be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. You need to wait for the adhesive to cure and harden before driving the vehicle.

Minimum Drive Away Time

Adhesive companies have begun to change the terminology that they use. Instead of saying the drive away time is “safe” they refer to it as the “minimum”.

This change in vocabulary is a subtle one but changes the meaning of the time. Safe implies that the car needs to sit that exact amount of time to be safe.

In reality, this time is the minimum amount of time needed for it be operational. There is also less liability for the adhesive company to say minimum instead of safe.

Regardless of the term, your glass replacement company should stand behind their work. They should not underestimate the influence of temperature and other environmental conditions.

Effects of Weather on Curing Time

Windshield urethane cure time gets shorter during the summer months. The increased humidity and warm temperatures create an environment for faster curing.

When weather temperatures fall the curing time increases. If the temperature goes below 40 degrees your technician will use extra products.

They will aid the curing process. It is best to have the vehicle in a heated location with the atmospheric temp drops below 40.

Specialty Windshields

More often vehicles newer than 2015 have smart windshields. You have a smart windshield if you have one or more of these features.

  • Heads-up display
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Condensation sensor
  • Humidity sensor
  • Solar and ultraviolet light blocking
  • Acoustic interlayer
  • Lane departure warning system
  • Lane keep assist
  • Forward crash alert
  • Night vision

The technician performing your replacement needs to have knowledge of these features. The replacement will likely take longer due to these extra features.

These extra components will have to connect tot he new windshield. This adds to the installation time but should not affect the cure time.

Different Types of Urethane

Some auto glass technicians will use a lower quality and cheaper windshield glue. Another common problem is using the wrong urethane for the region you live in.

These urethanes are going to take longer to cure. The best brands that reputable technicians use are Progrip, Sika MOVEIT, and Dow BEATASEAL.

What Is It?

Urethane is a super sticky black glue that will adhere to everything it touches. It starts out as a soft caulk like material.

Once it cures, it becomes a strong material for holding your windshield in your car. This is different from the rubber gaskets you might find on other glasses pieces.

The urethane gets applied the frame around the opening where the windshield sits. Then the windshield lays on top and pushed into the glue.

Once cured there is a solid seal around the outside edge of your windshield. This method is strong enough to withstand impacts to the windshield.

What if You Don’t Wait?

Your windshield is a main component of your vehicle’s structural and safety systems. Driving before the adhesive cures compromises both systems.

If you are in an accident the adhesive may not hold the windshield in place. Without the windshield in place, the roof can cave in on those inside.

Roll Down Your Windows

You need to do more than not drive your vehicle for the required time. If you plan on getting in and out of your vehicle, roll down the windows.

When you close your car doors you create increased air pressure inside the vehicle. This air needs to go somewhere, and it can create small holes in the urethane seal.

When you go to drive after it cures, you will hear a wind noise or have a leak. This will result in your having to get the windshield replaced again if cannot locate the hole.

It’s Not Only Your Windshield

Your windshield isn’t the only glass installed with adhesive. If you get your sunroof replaced you will have to wait the required curing time before driving.

If you do not wait the sunroof glass can lift out of the top of your car. This is due to the reduced air pressure created from the speed of your car traveling down the road.

The same principles apply to the how a plane takes off. Your sunroof getting sucked out causes a great danger to the person driving behind you.

Windshield Replacement Time

Ask your technician how long does it take for a windshield to cure. If it is during the summer your windshield replacement time could as little as 30 minutes.

Keep in mind that this might be the minimum time. The longer you wait, the more secure and cured the windshield adhesive will be.

Take into consideration what the weather is like. Depending on how cold it is, the curing time will take longer or need special products.

Sure it’s tempting to ignore the wait time, but this can put you and others at risk. If you are in an accident before it cures, the windshield can’t protect you.

Schedule your windshield replacement today at a time convenient for you.

Windshield Repair and Replacement: How Long Does It Take

It’s important not to let a chipped or cracked windshield go for too long. A chip can become much larger meaning replacement instead of a simple repair. A large crack can even impair your view of the road and surroundings. While it may be an inconvenience to schedule these repairs, your windshield plays a vital role in keeping you and your passengers safe in the event of a collision.

With so much riding on your windshield, this is one fix you shouldn’t put off. But how long will a windshield repair or replacement take? Let’s take a look…

Replacing Your Windshield

There are several factors that go into the decision to replace your windshield rather than repair it. If any of the following are true, a full replacement will be advised:

  • The chip or crack is old and can’t be repaired
  • There are more than three chips or cracks
  • The chip or crack is at the edge of the windshield where it can reduce vehicle safety
  • The chip is bigger than a quarter, or the crack is longer than a dollar bill

If you need a windshield replacement, the technician can let you know ahead of time that it is required and why. They will also help to determine the time it will take to go through the whole process from prep work to finish.

What kind of vehicle do you have?

It used to be that a windshield was a windshield and the year, make, and model of your vehicle didn’t have much to do with it other than making sure you had to right one. Newer cars, however, often have sensors and other features. This can lengthen the time it will take to replace the windshield since all of these features need to be connected or calibrated to the new windshield. Some windshield replacements also need more prep work. The technician will let you know what needs to be done.

What are the environmental factors?

Both the temperature and the humidity will impact how long it takes to go from chipped or cracked windshield back to the driver’s seat. This is because the urethane adhesive used to keep the glass in place is highly sensitive to environmental changes. Most often, the replacement itself won’t be the longest part of the job. The technician will let you know how long you should wait before driving the vehicle again.

Do you have to wait at the shop?

If you bring your vehicle into the shop, you don’t need to wait there for the replacement to be completed. While you won’t be able to take your car, you can have someone else drive with you so you can head out in their car, avoiding a lengthy wait at the shop. Some shops will even come to you, however. If you are at work, at the park, or even at home, mobile windshield repair can make this inconvenience more convenient. Then you can relax wherever you happen to be while a technician gets to work on the replacement.

Repairing Your Windshield

If the chip or crack in your windshield can be repaired instead of the whole windshield needing replacement, it not only saves money but also time. Chip repairs don’t take long at all compared to a replacement so this is a much more convenient for those who are short on time.

What are the environmental factors?

The resin that is used to fill in small chips or cracks in your windshield is impacted by the temperature. This means that a repair during summer won’t take as long as a repair during the winter. This is because the heat helps the resin to flow more smoothly into all the jagged edges. The sun is used to cure the resin through UV rays. However, to complete the repair faster, the technician may use a UV light to cure it.

How complex is the repair?

There are several factors that go into a repair of your auto glass, determining how long it will take. If the repair is small, with very few jagged edges that need to be prepped and filled, it may take as little as 10 or 15 minutes. If the chip or crack is larger, but not large enough to warrant a windshield replacement, the repair can take up to an hour, with all factors taken into consideration. The prep work includes cleaning the inside and outside of the windshield and this must be factored in as well.

What will the technician do during the repair?

You will most likely see your windshield repair technician using both a drill and the resin he will use to fill it. The drill is used to clean up the area inside and around the chip or crack. This allows the resin to bond more solidly with the auto glass. Based on the weather and the repair to be made, the technician can give you an estimate of how long it will take to complete.

Do You Need Your Windshield Replaced or Repaired?

You most likely still have questions about windshield repair or replacement and speaking to a technician may be your best bet. If you don’t know whether you need a repair or a replacement, give All Star Glass a call. After determining which is necessary, you can make an appointment to come in to the shop or have a mobile technician come to your location. That technician can give you more information on just how long it will take and what will make it take that long. Don’t put off repairing or replacing your windshield any longer, now that you know what will go into the job and you know it won’t take very long to make your vehicle safe again.

How Does a Windshield Repair Work?

So you’ve got a small chip or crack in your windshield. Chips can happen at any time; rock or gravel can come out of nowhere. If you act fact, you can prevent further damage and not have to get your windshield replaced.

When should you get your windshield repaired by a professional? When you take your windshield in for a repair, what happens next? How can you best prepare your windshield for repair in order to prevent future damage? Read our guide below to find out how a windshield repair works.

When To Get Your Windshield Repaired

Not all damages can be repaired; you may have to take your windshield in for a full replacement, or you may be able to repair the damage yourself.

Take your windshield in for a repair if you have a chip smaller than a quarter or a crack shorter than four inches. The repair will not cost more than $100, and can be done shortly.

Take your windshield in for a replacement if:

  • The chip is larger than a quarter
  • The crack is longer than four inches
  • The damage is in the driver’s line of sight
  • The damage reaches the edge of the glass

Read more about whether you need your windshield repaired or replaced.

How Does a Windshield Repair Work?

When you take your windshield in for a repair, you will hand it over to professionals that can properly assess the damage and whether a repair or replacement is best for your windshield. Once they determine that the damage can be repaired, they will inject resin into the chip or crack. The resin spreads with the help of a special vacuum. Once the resin spreads and fills in the chip, you can take your car back and start driving.

How Long Will the Process Take?

The process should not take longer than an hour. If you can get an appointment right away, you will be back on the road before you know it.

How to Prevent Further Damage Before Getting Your Windshield Repaired

If you do not have time to take your car in for a windshield repair immediately, you should still take action to keep the chip or crack from spreading. Poor weather, bumps in the road, or general strain may spread the damage. Before you know it, a tiny chip could affect your visibility, and will require immediate attention from a professional.

A small crack can be temporarily repaired at home to prevent further damage, but know that DIY repair kits do not match the standard of a professional auto repair shop or glass specialist. Professionals have better resin and more powerful tools that make a windshield look good as new after it has been damaged.

Read our tips to learn how you can stop windshield cracks from spreading.

Need Windshield Repair? Call the Professionals.

Prevent future damage by getting your windshield repaired right away. The experts at Allstar Glass can help you get back on the road without any worries.

Do you currently have damage on your windshield? Do you have questions about repairing or replacing your windshield? Let us know in the comments below.

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