When Is It Time to Replace a Cracked Windshield?

November 19, 2019 4:53 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

While not all cars are created equal, all modern cars typically have windshields made out of safety glass. The windshield is made of two layers of glass with a plastic layer between them. If a stone or some other sort of debris hits your windshield, the plastic layer keeps the glass from shattering.

Thanks to this safety technology, it is not always necessary to replace a chipped or cracked windshield. In some cases, a quick repair is all that’s necessary. Here are a few factors to keep in mind that will help you determine when to replace your windshield in Visalia, CA.


If the damage is in the driver’s line of sight, it is safest to have the windshield replaced. Even the best repair will still result in some amount of distortion and glare, which can be dangerous when the repair obscures the driver’s vision.

Cracks that are located at the outer edge of the windshield are more likely to spread quickly and affect the structural integrity of the vehicle. The windshield is responsible for about 60 percent of the structural strength of the vehicle, and in the case of an accident, a windshield that is already cracked on the outer edge is much more likely to shatter.


Not all auto body repair shops have the same technology, so a shop’s ability to repair a large crack or chip may vary. However, most shops can repair a crack up to three inches long and a chip that is no bigger than the size of a quarter. With advanced technology, however, the Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) guide states that a chip up to three inches in diameter and a crack up to 14 inches can be repaired. You will have to check with your local auto repair shop to see what their capabilities are.


Similar to how the size of a crack determines whether or not the windshield needs to be replaced or repaired, the same can be said of the depth of the crack. As mentioned earlier, windshield glass typically has three layers: the outer glass, the plastic layer and the inner glass.

If the damage goes through the outer and inner layer of glass, it is too deep to perform a windshield repair.


The final determining factor is the severity of the damage. For example, if you are involved in a major collision, it is best to replace the windshield rather than compromise the integrity of your vehicle or your safety. Typically, if your windshield has more than three cracks, it is best to replace it. Once your windshield has been damaged to this extent, any further damage, no matter how minor, could completely shatter the windshield.

If you have a cracked windshield in Visalia, CA, bring it in to the team at Tom’s Body and Paint, Inc. right away. We specialize in collision repairs and can have your windshield looking like new in no time. Simply contact us today to schedule your repair!

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