Chipped windshield: should I have it replaced? Or just have the chip filled in?
June 4, 2007 1:53 AM   Subscribe

Chipped windshield: should I have it replaced? Or just have the chip filled in? I want my windshield to look as good as new... does that mean I need to get a new one?

Driving home yesterday I had a rock hit my windshield... now I have a chip in it (maybe the size of a nickel). It looks like I have a couple of options: I can try to go to a repair shop and see if they can fill it in with some resin/goo stuff (not sure the technical name for this), or I can get the entire windshield replaced.

From what I've read, the repair will certainly be cheaper than the replacement, but I wonder if it will work as well. Does anyone know how well this resin stuff works (assuming I have it professionally done)? Will it still look a little funny? I'm kind of OCD, so if my windshield looks funky after the repair it will probably drive me crazy... should I just suck up the extra cash and have the windshield replaced? Also has anyone successfully gotten their insurance to pay for this sort of repair/replacement?

Any advice would be appreciated. It's an 06 Prius, and my insurance is GEICO, if either of those are at all relevant...
posted by stilly to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
A 'chipped' windshield can be filled in by a local windshield repair shop, but if it has spidered, than you are looking at a whole new windshield.
posted by dnthomps at 1:57 AM on June 4, 2007

It used to be that chips that spidered can now be fixed. Here is what GEICO has to say about your issue.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 2:04 AM on June 4, 2007

"It used to be that chips that spidered can now be fixed."

Oops... It used to be that chips that spidered could not be repaired, but they can now be fixed as long as the break is from the outside.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 2:05 AM on June 4, 2007

Yes, they can be fixed, and it will almost certainly be free (your insurance typically pays but doesn't count it as a claim since it saves them replacement costs), but it is visible after the repair. If you can't deal with that, then get a replacement — it will probably be a couple hundred bucks.
posted by raf at 3:37 AM on June 4, 2007

Our local repair shop charges $7 for chip repair. New windshields usually go about $120-$175 including install, but they can generally come to your work and do it while you're inside, you don't even have to take it in.
posted by TomMelee at 4:28 AM on June 4, 2007

It depends on the size of the chip, but it sounds like yours can be fixed. Whatever you do, don't leave it - chips can easily turn into cracks, which require entire windscreen replacement!
posted by cholly at 4:51 AM on June 4, 2007

I have three repaired chips on my windshield. One is nearly invisible, and the other two are rather obvious. The glass place should be able to tell you how visible it will be, and whether it will pass safety inspection in your area. (In the UK, for example, a chip directly in front of the driver will cause a car to fail it's MOT, requiring replacement)
posted by happyturtle at 4:51 AM on June 4, 2007

I had a dime sized chip with some spidering fixed a few weeks ago. They fill in the spidering and the chip with a clear resin. My insurance company had the auto glass company come out to the house and they waived the deductible. The guy was here maybe 10 minutes. There still is small dimple in what was the center of the chip, but it is not really noticeable unless you are looking for it.
posted by COD at 5:24 AM on June 4, 2007

Safelite Auto Glass has a quick photo guide on the repair process. This might help. Overall, there is some good info on their website.
posted by galimatias at 5:50 AM on June 4, 2007

I've had chips filled by one of them major car-glass companies. Can't remember which one -- might have been Safelite, actually.

Anyway, it was still a little bit visible afterwards, but much less than the chip was before. I don't think it would have been worth replacing the windshield because of it. Unless you keep a very clean windshield (and I'm pretty OCD about mine, or so people tell me; I go through washer fluid almost as fast as I do gasoline) you probably won't notice it too much.

Unless the chip is directly in your line of vision, I'd get it filled. Even so, your insurance company may not give you a choice -- mine didn't. They had some standard (less than 1"?) under which they filled, and over which they replaced.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:59 AM on June 4, 2007

Your insurance company will probably fill the chip for free. If not, then repairs are usually very inexpensive. Have it filled and then give it a month or two. The appearance of the fill changes over time.

Then, if it's still driving you nuts, replace your windshield.

I've had smaller chips repaired, and while it was noticeable immediately after the repair, a year later I can barely find the spot.
posted by nita at 7:18 AM on June 4, 2007

I used a DIY kit to fill a chip with resin a few years ago, and it was barely noticeable.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:21 AM on June 4, 2007

IAAIA (but I'm not your insurance agent, so naturally YMMV). This is a covered loss, as long as you carry Comprehensive insurance. In most states, GEICO uses Safelite. According to their website:

"A quality windshield repair will restore the structural integrity of the windshield, help prevent the damage from spreading, and make the blemish much less noticeable, without removing and replacing the glass."

I'm not sure how well that will mesh with your OCD, but most companies should be able to make it almost imperceptible.

Your profile doesn't mention where you are, but in certain states, you can elect to have your Comp deductible waived for glass, so check your policy. In other states, your Comprehensive deductible is waived automatically (without your having to select the waiver up front) for replacement or repair (i.e.: here in Florida, it's illegal to drive around with a chipped or broken windshield, so the insurance company absorbs the cost).

Regardless of where you live, if memory serves, as long as the chip can be repaired (per GEICO, that's if the chip/crack is shorter than a dollar bill), GEICO will waive your deductible. If it has to be replaced and you do not live in a state where the deductible is waived, you'll just have to pay your deductible (which may or may not cost just as much as the replacement).

I agree with nita. If you're willing to go with a repair, that's where I'd start. It will cost you little (if you pay out of pocket) to nothing (if you file a claim). If the glass is repairable but you want a replacement, you'll be paying out of pocket anyway.
posted by mewithoutyou at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2007

Everything I have read indicates that the quality of a repair is directly related to how quickly you do it because the more moisture and crud that gets into the crack the more visible it is.

So if you opt for repair, be speedy.
posted by phearlez at 12:05 PM on June 4, 2007

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