Find a Location

Towing Hotline: 613.728.1908

When To Repair Vs. Replace Your Windshield?

When To Repair Vs. Replace Your Windshield?

Repair Replace Car Windshield

Do you have windshield damage? Flying ice, a rock chip, or other debris can impact the glass and create small chips and cracks – even scratches in your auto glass. If so, the question of whether you can repair or if you must replace your windshield may be weighing heavily on your mind.

With a badly cracked windshield, of course replacement is the only way to go, but a small chip or crack is a different matter. Using modern technology, it can often be repaired – at a fraction of the cost of replacing your windshield. (We highly recommend taking your car into the repair shop after any windshield damage.

Our Ottawa mechanics will inspect your vehicle to make sure it is safe and roadworthy, and to prevent minor cracks from spreading. We’ll give you trustworthy advice as to whether it’s better to repair vs. replace your windshield.)

To give you an idea which might be the best course of action in your case, check out the facts below.

When To Repair Your Windshield


Chips of 2.5 centimetres or less in diameter and cracks that measure under 8 cm long are the simplest size to fix, although auto glass repair may be possible for chips up to 7.5 cm and cracks up to 35.5 cm.


Your vehicle’s windshield is manufactured from laminated safety glass, consisting of two layers of glass sandwiching a thin piece of vinyl. Damage which affects only the outer layer can usually be repaired.

However, if it’s deep enough to go through the outer layer and harm the vinyl or the interior glass, you’ll need a windshield replacement. In addition, replacement is almost always prescribed whenever the inner glass has been damaged, whether or not the damage runs into the outer layer of glass.

TIP: Run your fingernail across the crack from the inside of the windshield, if you can feel the crack from the inside, you will probably need to replace the windshield.


Repair is not advisable when damage extends up to (or near) the outer edge of the windshield. Even if it looks relatively minor, cracking in this location tends to spread rapidly as it is jostled due to the car’s vibrations, and it can threaten the structural integrity of your windshield and your roof.

In addition, damage that impairs the view of automated sensors such as lane departure warning systems may not be fully repairable, making windshield replacement a necessity.


As we mentioned previously, smaller cracks and chips are usually fine to repair, but only on one condition … that they do not reduce visibility by the driver. Obviously anything which interferes with the driver’s line of vision is a hazard and may cause you to fail a safety inspection.

When To Replace Your Windshield

You should have your windshield replaced, rather than simply repaired, when you experience any of these types of collision issues:

  • You have cracks or chips above the maximum recommended size for repair.
  • The glass is damaged in more than 3 areas.
  • The broken windshield damage extends to the edge of the glass.
  • Your windshield is old, with extensive pitting, scratches or “divots.”
  • Damage affects the inner layers of your windshield and/or prevents the driver from seeing the road clearly.

If replacement is needed, make sure to find out how much it costs to replace your windshield.

Repair Or Replace Your Windshield Safely

Take care of windshield damage right away.

First, because catching it in time could mean the difference between needing windshield repair or replacement. More importantly, driving with a damaged or broken windshield can be a hazard – for you and your passengers.

Make an appointment at one of our convenient Ottawa locations. We’ll take care of your windshield and get you safely back on the road as soon as possible.

Make a windshield appointment