Can You Repair a Cracked Windshield? Comprehensive Guide and Tips

Commuters, this one's for you.

Knowing when a windshield can be repaired versus when it needs to be replaced is essential. Although it might just seem like a superficial problem, a cracked windshield impacts your safety and visibility.

But can you repair a cracked windshield? Not always, but ignoring a seemingly minor crack isn’t a smart move.

In this guide, your friends at Glass Doctor® will shed some light on the importance of timely windshield crack repair, offering valuable insights and practical tips.

Windshield Damage 101

A man and woman sitting inside of a white car staring at the cracks on the windshield.


Windshield cracks and chips come in many shapes, sizes, and levels of damage, each with its unique characteristics and repair challenges.

Know Your Type

Each type of windshield crack comes with a different repair plan.

Bullseye Crack:

  • A circular break with a dark center, resembling a target symbol.
  • Repair Guidelines: Bullseye cracks smaller than a quarter in diameter are often repairable using standard windshield repair kits. However, larger or complex bullseye cracks may require professional assessment, and replacement might be recommended.

Star Break:

  • Features a central point of impact surrounded by radial cracks, resembling a starburst pattern.
  • Repair Guidelines: Star breaks with short radial arms and a size smaller than a dollar bill can generally be repaired using windshield repair kits. Larger or more intricate star breaks may necessitate professional attention, and replacement might be the preferred option.

Combination Crack:

  • Involves a mix of different crack patterns, often a combination of a bullseye and radial cracks.
  • Repair Guidelines: The repairability of combination cracks depends on the size, depth, and complexity. Smaller, surface-level combination cracks may be suitable for DIY repair kits, but larger or deeper combinations may require professional evaluation.

Size Matters

Smaller cracks and chips are generally more manageable and have a higher chance of successful repair. However, larger cracks, especially those exceeding the size of a dollar bill, typically call for replacement.

Deep Impact

The depth of the damage is crucial, as superficial surface chips are usually easier to repair than deep, penetrating cracks. It may also surprise you that the location of the damage plays a big role too!

Cracks extending into your line of sight may pose a more significant safety concern, and replacement may be recommended.

Let's face it, prioritizing the state of your windshield goes hand-in-hand with the safety of those who ride with you.

Windshield Damage Check

Evaluating the severity of your cracked windshield can be a confusing process without the proper guidance — that’s where Glass Doctor comes into view. Let’s walk through a typical windshield assessment with us:

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Windshield Cracks:

Evaluate the Size:

  • Measure the length and width of the crack using a ruler or measuring tape.
  • If the crack is smaller than a dollar bill (approximately 6 inches), it may be repairable. Larger cracks may require replacement.

Examine the Depth:

  • Run your fingernail over the crack. If it feels smooth, it is likely a surface-level chip. Deeper, more substantial cracks may catch your nail.

Identify the Type of Crack:

  • Differentiate between star breaks, bullseye, and combination cracks. Refer to visual aids or diagrams online to match the crack pattern.

Check for Cracks in the Driver's Line of Sight:

  • Assess whether the crack interferes with the driver's field of vision. Cracks in the direct line of sight may compromise safety and often necessitate replacement.

Inspect the Cracks for Spreading:

  • If the crack is spreading rapidly or has numerous branching fissures, it may indicate structural weakness, requiring prompt attention.

Consider Temperature and Environmental Factors:

  • Assess if the crack has expanded due to temperature fluctuations.

Utilize a Windshield Repair Kit (Optional):

  • DIY repair kits may be suitable for smaller cracks. Follow the kit instructions carefully, and be aware that they are generally intended for surface-level damage.

Seek Professional Evaluation:

  • When in doubt or dealing with larger or deeper cracks, consult a professional windshield repair or replacement service.

Helpful auto glass information, vehicle manuals, or instructional videos can provide additional visual guidance for you when you do a windshield check.

Safety First

Bet you didn't know driving with a damaged windshield is dangerous. It’s true. Cracks, chips, or fractures obstruct your line of sight, creating distractions and impairing the ability to react quickly to changing road conditions. Also, a compromised windshield increases your risk of injury if and when you experience a collision down the road.

The clear path forward?

Addressing windshield damage promptly to ensure optimal visibility and maintain the structural integrity crucial for passenger safety during daily driving.

DIY vs. Professional Windshield Repair

So when does a professional need to step in the driver’s seat?

Since glass professionals possess the expertise and equipment to accurately assess the severity of the damage, they can determine whether repair or replacement is necessary.

Certain types of windshield damage, such as large cracks, deep fissures, or damage directly in the driver's line of sight, require professional attention to ensure the safest and most effective resolution.

Professional intervention should always be on the horizon, but a temporary tip to protect your windshield from further damage may be a detour on the way.

While awaiting professional repair for a windshield crack, you can take temporary measures to safeguard the damaged area. Clear tape applied on both sides of the crack can prevent debris from entering and minimize the risk of moisture exacerbating the damage.

If you do go down the repair kit route, be mindful that these solutions are only good for the interim. To ensure a thorough and lasting repair, maintaining the structural integrity and safety features of the windshield, it’s best to schedule your appointment swiftly.

Your Windshield Repair, Done Right

We are Service Professionals

As part of the Neighborly network of businesses, we deliver our windshield crack repair process in the most professional way possible, only signing off when the work is done right. Our attention-to-detail procedure typically begins with a comprehensive damage assessment, considering factors such as the size, depth, and location of the crack or chip.

Our certified service professionals meticulously clean the damaged area to remove debris or contaminants. Specialized tools are also used to create a clean and precise opening for the repair resin.

Quality Comes First

The use of high-quality materials is another hallmark of Glass Doctor's service. After careful preparation, high-quality resin, designed to match the optical properties of glass, is injected into the damaged area.

The resin is then cured using ultraviolet light to ensure a durable bond that restores the structural integrity of your damaged windshield. As a final touch, we polish the targeted area to achieve a smooth and clear finish.

We know that a sense of urgency leads to a successful windshield repair, but it’s also important to get a clear picture of what this unexpected damage may cost you.

Breaking Down the Cost of a Windshield Repair

So, how much does it cost to repair a cracked windshield? We are glass service professionals, so transparency is everything — windshield repair costs included.

Opting for windshield repair over replacement can often translate into significant financial savings for vehicle owners unless the crack is deeper or located in a compromising area (the edge, for example) on the windshield.

Addressing damage promptly prevents the issue from escalating and requiring a more extensive and costly replacement. We recommend a professional consultation to get an accurate estimate and make an informed decision about the size, location, and severity.

Many insurance policies cover windshield repair costs, often with no deductible. Make a point to review your insurance policy or contact your agent to understand the extent of coverage and any potential limitations. Proactively checking insurance details ensures that you can take full advantage of the available coverage for windshield repairs, promoting timely and cost-effective solutions, like our windshield protection insurance plan, for maintaining the integrity and safety of your vehicle.

Seals of Approval from Our Customers

Our Glass Doctor team has seen a truckload of customer success stories, and although the experience of a cracked windshield isn’t the best, our speedy glass work and unwavering customer service are a clear winner:

Glass Doctor of Birmingham saved the day! While driving on the interstate, I had a tire tread flip up and hit my windshield, shattering it. I stopped and was able to get off the road and call for help. My good fortune was calling Glass Doctor and receiving their excellent service. Although the experience was bad, Glass Doctors did everything they could to minimize my problem, did an excellent job of fixing my car, gave me a loaner car, and then had me back on my trip…
- David G.

Check out more glass doctor testimonials like David’s or share your own unique auto glass success with us.

Circling Back on Your Cracked Windshield

Don't let a cracked windshield, regardless of the level of damage, reroute your whole day. Remember, timely repairs extend beyond aesthetics and can even keep you safe. For a truly reliable and personalized perspective on your cracked windshield, schedule an appointment with your local Glass Doctor professional. Our shatter-proof commitment to efficiency, high-quality materials, and expertise guarantees your immediate safety and long-term peace of mind down the road.