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Car Blog & Car News

Car Windscreen Damage & Repair

by Fraser · 12 comments

in Popular Posts, Safety & Security

The windscreen is an extremely important part of any vehicle – and unfortunately also an area that is prone to damage. Modern windscreens are technically quite sound and made from dual layer laminated glass which is glued into position and aids in the rigidity of the whole structure of the car. Windscreens don’t tend to fragment thanks to an inner layer, aiding safety in the event of a rollover. A windscreen check is part of an MOT.

Glass is of course by nature a somewhat fragile material, even with the processes with which modern screens go through in order to protect them (and us) from taking any damage. However, there are a number of factors that can effect damage such as wiper blade scratches, using sharp objects to remove frost from your car, stone chips and more.

A neighbour of mine recently suffered an interesting problem with a side window. She left the car for approximately one hour and upon her return discovered a side window completely fragmented. I was at the time cleaning my car, but didn’t see anyone causing the damage. Interestingly, when the police arrived to investigate they notified her that it was possibly a small stone chip, which the weather had in turn extended across all of the glass. Proof positive, I’m sure you’ll agree, of the importance of having repairs completed (though in this case, she did not see any damage in the first place!).

By far the most common form of incidental damage (i.e. when you’re out and about) remains the classic stone chip. There are a variety of factors that govern this type of damage, such as road surface driven on, number of miles, size and shape of windscreen, rake angle and type of car. Some cars seem to be more prone to this type of damage than others.

Stone chipping is a generic term really, but could mean just about anything causing impact damage – in this case with particular regard to your windscreen, though you may find your bonnet pot-holed too. There are a number of different types of impact that may be visible should your car suffer this, such as rounded ‘bulls eye’ damage or a ‘star break’ where the damage blooms outwards in all directions.

Of course, a chip is just that – and quite often does start off very minor at first (but warrants immediate attention, as I’ll demonstrate below). Real problems set in through the chip becoming much bigger. This can be caused by shock or vibration, extremes of temperature (so don’t pour hot water onto your frozen windscreen) or further impact damage.

By getting a windscreen chip repaired by a suitably guaranteed company you are potentially saving yourself the cost of a new screen. If you have glass cover on your insurance (most people do), a repair is usually free in most cases. There are one or two insurance companies that have started levying a small excess – typically £10.

Compare this with the cost of a replacement windscreen. If your windscreen chip cracks and you have glass cover on your insurance then you will have to pay your glass excess which is generally £50-£100.

This highlights how important it is, as I mentioned above, to have any damage rectified sooner rather than later, as once the damage goes beyond a certain point, you have no option but to replace the whole windscreen. Without glass cover on insurance, prices do vary so check with a number of suppliers before agreeing to have a repair completed.

Windscreen repair (rather than replacement) also has some further benefits:

  • environmental (the screen is repaired instead of being removed and replaced with a new one)
  • it’s quicker (takes just 30 minutes for a repair) so if time is money then this helps you save too

Plus there are the safety aspects:

  • a windscreen chip could crack at any time and may distract you while you drive
  • your windscreen provides up to 30% of the vehicle’s structural strength because it is bonded with special adhesive to the window aperture and the passenger airbag relies on the windscreen to provide support if the airbag deploys. Repairing a chip will result in your windscreen being as strong as before the damage happened.

It’s also worth highlighting that whilst there are a range of suppliers, it’s best to go with one that can provide you with a guarantee of the work done, for example, Autoglass holds the ISO 9001:2000 Certification of Quality Assurance.

If you are at all worried about your windscreen or any other car windows, please do get it checked out. As highlighted above, it is important not just for your wallet but also your safety.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

victor November 26, 2009 at 9:26 am

Could the police charge you if you have a windscreen crack of 10 cm that does not obstruct your visibility (not being in zone A of the windscreen) ??

Mr Butterscotch December 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm


Let’s look at this from another perspective. If you went over a bump and the crack (a sure sign that your windscreen was compromised) caused your windscreen to shatter and you crashed, you would invalidate your insurance (feeling to upkeep your vehicle) and be responsible for any legal costs incurred. Equally, you’d then be liable for prosecution. Without seeing the extent of the damage, I really couldn’t say, but knowing that you could get the damage fixed for £10 (or for free) when done through your insurance and Autoglass I deem that you have no excuse but to go and sort it out. Especially with the cold weather coming in – that crack will soon extend.

April December 14, 2009 at 8:56 am

One should not always take lightly a cracked windscreen, no matter how tiny the crack is. You would never an accident is coming unless it hits you straight in the face. Better safe than sorry!

Value My No Plate March 26, 2010 at 12:44 am

Although I definitely do agree that you should get a chip in your windscreen fixed asap, I can’t help but be irritated by the Autoglass advertisement that’s been on television recently. “If you’re fully comp, its usuaaallly freee”. It makes sense though from an insurance companies point of view, saves them money in the long run, as a chipped windscreen will inevitably crack!

Pete the car leasing specialist April 27, 2010 at 11:52 am

Interesting article and one worth taking notice of of your car or van is on a contract hire agreement. With many contract hire and leasing companies looking to minimise residual value loss or maximise profits many are looking at refurbisment costs as an angle. Many will invoice if there are chips on the glass so it’s always worth getting this put right BEFORE the vehicle is returned at the end of its contract. You will almost certainly be able to get the repairs done cheaper yourself as most contract hire providers will levy a fee for the privelige of invoicing you!. Again if the screen can not be repaired you may be able to ofset most of the cost against yor insurance, again saving you a significant repair bill. If you are unsure of your leasing companies stance on these issues you can always contact them directly, make sure you give yourself enough time between getting in contact and maybe having to get a repair carried out. If you have a dispute its always best to make sure you put in writing, be pleasent as the people reviewing your case are only human. Most contract hire companies adhere to the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association) guidelines on end of contract recharges and a copy can be obtained directly from them

Roy January 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Another thing to remember and I saw this recently, if it wouldn’t pass an MOT because of the stone chip, a driving test the examiner will refuse to start the test and you will lose your fee. (Test over before it began).

A couple came in to the test centre the husband accompanying his wife, the examiner called her name, signed the documents and preceded to the vehicle.

Within 5 minutes they returned, the examiner explained to her husband that the vehicle wasn’t legal due to the stone chip size and area that it covered.

Needless to say both looked very upset.

Mr Butterscotch February 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Hi Roy,

That’s a good point. A driving examiner will refuse to conduct a test in any vehicle that isn’t roadworthy, regardless of the nature of the fault. One simple reason is that they could be classed as aiding and abetting a driving offence if nothing else!

Ian Barker June 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

I have 2 ark scratches accross the drivers veiw caused by the windsreen wiper (which I’ve replaced the wipers now) and I presume it will not pass the mot. Can I put something in the scratch that will fix it i.e clear acrylic, or will the windsceen need to be replaced? Would this replacement be covered, as the scratch was there before I took out my new insurance. If not, I’ve found it hard to find out how much a new windsceen would cost for an old mondeo. Thanks

Windscreen Wipers August 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I’ve had chips repaired on my windscreens before but have still felt them very noticeable. If you can I would always push the auto glass company for a full replacement windscreen as opposed to a repair.

Ian Barker August 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

O.K. Thanks.

Steve from auto repair February 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Generally, this problem is from a heater core that needs to be replaced. That would leave a haze that is on the inside of the glass, but it is persistent and hard to get rid of.

Mr Butterscotch February 22, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thanks Steve, that’s a good tip.

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