Do I Have To Replace A Windshield If It Has Multiple Chips?

image of a windshield replacement by two auto glass technicians

Cars can sustain damage without warning. Fortunately, most of these are minor and not life-threatening. However, owners may still need to get repairs for their vehicles. It isn’t always easy to know when to seek help and when to ignore a flaw. For example, is a windshield with a single small chip due for repairs? If there are multiple windshield chips on the glass panel, should the owner get a replacement? In this article, we try to dissect this problem by enumerating the types of auto glass damage and discussing the criteria for repairs and windshield chip replacement.

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The Functions of a Windshield

Before we dive into other topics, it’s a good idea to discuss why windshields exist in the first place. It is plain to see that they protect vehicle occupants without compromising road visibility. The panel blocks the wind, dust, and rain, thus keeping drivers focused and comfortable. What most people don’t realize is that the windshield also supports the car’s roof. In case of a crash, it will prevent the top from caving in. This makes the vehicle much safer. Windshield damage compromises its structural integrity, so it may not be able to perform its duty in high-stress situations.

Types of Auto Glass Damage

1. Windshield Chips

combination crack and chip on windshield

Roads often have small pebbles and debris. Cars can kick these backward with their tires at high speeds. If you are following them too closely, then you might find chips on your windshield when you get home. Look closely as windshield chips can occur in various forms. Small chips with glass missing from the panel are called pits. Large chips with a circular shape and an impact hole are bullseyes. A partial bullseye is called a half-moon. A severe chip with several cracks moving outward is called a combination break.

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2. Cracks On Windshield

windshield crack repair

Windshields may seem like a single homogenous panel, but it is really composed of multiple glass layers: two panels of glass with a layer of plastic in between to hold everything together. The design creates a strong structure that resists fragmentation. Windshield cracks often occur on the front glass layer, and they can form with or without impact. For example, sudden changes in pressure and temperature can stress the panels, resulting in cracks. You can also find edge cracks along the perimeter and floaters cracks in the center. Long cracks extend beyond six inches, while crack chips can be covered by a quarter.

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3. Windshield Scratches

Although the glass offers some resistance to scratches, repeated friction can eventually leave marks on the surface. A good example would be windshield wipers. The rubber protects the glass from scratches but it can wear away, allowing the metal parts to touch the panel. This can form deep scratches that are visible from afar. Fortunately, most scratches are shallow, so they don’t affect the structural integrity. However, they are quite unsightly. They can also compromise road vision and increase the risk of accidents. Car owners may not want to take chances keeping them there.

What Types of Auto Glass Damage is Suitable For Windshield Repairs?

image of measuring tape used for auto glass damageWindshield damage compromises structural integrity. Repairs can prevent things from getting worse. These can also result in safer driving. However, repairs may not fix all types of damage. The only option may be windshield replacement. Below are two tests that you can use to quickly determine how to proceed:

1. Windshield Depth Assessment

We have already discussed the layered design of windshields. Check whether the damage sustained is purely on the outer surface or not. Superficial issues should be easy to repair. This will save you a lot of time and money. However, things are not looking good if the damage has penetrated the middle plastic layer, down to the other side of the glass. There are no remedies for this situation. You will have to remove the compromised panel and get a new one installed for safety.

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2. Length Assessment

You might also want to use a ruler and measure the length of the scratches, chips, and cracks. If these are shallow, then there’s a good chance that you can still repair the damage. Move quickly to contain the damage. If you delay your intervention, then the problem can spread over time. You can still try to repair cracks that are shorter than six inches. However, you probably need to get a replacement if it is longer than this.

Beware of damage located directly in front of the driver’s seat. Even a shallow and short crack may affect road visibility, especially at night. It can distort images and delay reaction time, making car accidents more likely. Even if it is possible to conduct repairs, you may opt to have the windshield replaced just to be on the safe side. Any imperfection is a liability with such a sensitive location. If you are unsure what to do, then seek the opinion of an expert from an auto glass shop.

When Do Windshield Chips Become Dangerous?

Let’s circle back to the question we had earlier. Should you replace a windshield with multiple chips? Well, the reality is that even a single chip on the glass deserves immediate attention. Repair it quickly so that it doesn’t develop into a crack, especially if you traverse roads that have lots of bumps and potholes. It is possible to save the panel if the chip is only a few inches or smaller. However, if you have three or more chips, then experts recommend auto glass replacement instead of repairs. This is a more prudent course of action if you are concerned about passenger safety.



Windshield damage is a common occurrence. Learn as much as you can about it so you can move decisively if it happens to your car. Prioritize safety above everything else. You may need to spend on repairs, but that’s a small price to pay for renewed protection. Conduct a thorough assessment of the damaged area to figure out the type and extent. You might find that repairs won’t solve the problem, so you will just have to order a replacement. Let experts handle the task of installing the new panel for a reliable fit.

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Liberty AutoGlass offers auto glass repair using the highest quality materials and the most advanced auto glass technology to repair your auto glass correctly and quickly. We offer mobile services so we can repair your damaged auto glass at the convenience of your home or office. This means that we come to wherever your vehicle is parked and you can go about your day as you would normally. We fix windshields, back glass, door glass, vent glass, and quarter glass. We also can handle your insurance claim from start to finish, making the process easier for you! Call Liberty AutoGlass today to find out more!

Contact us today or give us a call at (610) 377-7787 or (877) 90-GLASS if you have any questions. Click here to view our complete mobile auto glass service area in Pennsylvania.

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