Windshields look tough, but they are really a lot more fragile than most people realize. A small crack or fracture in a windshield can lead to big problems if it's not repaired quickly. In some cases, windshields can't even be repaired and will need to be fully replaced by a company like Buy-Rite Auto Glass. Other times, it's actually cheaper to do a full-on replacement than just a repair. Whatever the problem with your windshield may be, the first thing to determine is whether you need to replace or repair it.
The size of your windshield crack or chip goes a long way in determining whether or not it can be repaired. The rule of thumb (literally) is that if a crack or chip is larger than your finger, it's going to need to be replaced.
However, windshield damage varies, and, every once in a while, a larger crack or chip might be repairable, especially if it's not very deep. So, even if you think your damage is too big for a repair, it never hurts to ask around and see if anyone is willing to do repairs instead of just a replacement.
Multiple Chips and Cracks
Having one small chip or crack is no big deal, but having several is a recipe for disaster. The more damaged a windshield becomes, the weaker it ultimately gets. When you have several spots of damage, it's in your best interest to just go ahead and replace the windshield.
Even if you could get it repaired, it would likely be very costly, potentially even costing more than a replacement! For that reason, it's better to just go ahead and get a brand new windshield put in.
Location, Location, Location
Where a particular spot is located also plays a role in determining whether or not it can be repaired. Usually, chips or cracks at the edges of the windshield, for example, are more difficult to repair since they compromise the integrity and strength of the entire windshield. When the damage is at the edges, you'll usually need a full replacement.
You may also need a replacement if the damage is in your line of sight, making it difficult and unsafe for you to drive. These types of vision-impairing cracks are usually in the center of the windshield, and attempting to repair them could damage the whole windshield in the process.
Whether your windshield needs to be repaired or replaced, don't put off fixing the problem. Windshield problems only get worse and more difficult to fix the longer you let them go, so take care of them at the first sign of trouble.