What to do with a Cracked Windshield
March 16, 2009 – 9:37 pm by Matt Radel
Filed under Car Care
CRACK!!! Holy crap, what was that?
You’re zipping down the road, and suddenly something flies up and slams into your windshield. Most of the time you’re lucky enough to simply scratch your head and casually wonder what the offending object could have been. Maybe just a rock? Could it have been something off the car in front of you? Was it something off your car?
But then again, occasionally you’re unlucky enough (like me) to glance up and notice that you’ve got a nice, big shiny crack in the middle of your windshield. Perfect. So what do you do now?
First and foremost, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies cover 100% of the windshield repair or replacement. You may be stuck going to their recommended shop, but who cares if they cover it, right?
In the event that your insurance company doesn’t cover the crack (like me), you’re stuck paying for it out of pocket. While it’s a bummer, don’t panic quite yet. Assess the damage to the windshield. If you have chip(s) that are the size of a dime or smaller (some glass dealers may vary on size though), there’s a chance you can get the windshield repaired for a fraction of the cost of a brand new one…maybe even as little as 50-70 bucks. If it’s borderline, get it to a glass dealer as soon as possible – the chip / crack will probably spread further pretty quickly.
However if it’s a full blown crack you’re gonna need to shell out the cash for a brand new windshield. In this case make sure you shop around. There seems to be a little bit of play in the glass industry, as there was a $100 difference in the quotes I got. Getting a quote should take 5 minutes or less, so don’t hesitate to call as many places as you can. Also make sure that any prices they give you are after installation and tax…they should be able to tell you right away. Installation for a new windshield can take 1 – 1 ½ hours, but some shops will actually come to you. Be sure to ask when you get your quote.
Finally, make sure that you don’t run through a car wash or slam your doors too hard for 24 hours – the adhesive is still setting for the first day.
While it does suck to have a cracked windshield, getting it repaired or replaced can be a relatively painless process, and could be a bit less expensive than you might expect. I got the windshield replaced on my wife’s Jetta for less than $250 (that’s in the greater Cincinnati area – your quotes may vary greatly) in an hour on a Saturday afternoon.
Hopefully this helps anyone out there who’s been looking around a crack in the windshield while driving for the fear of getting it replaced. Make some calls, get it taken care of. Be safe out there folks!