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On my way home from the home center today, a mudding enthusiast managed to pop two rocks into my windshield that left two chips in the glass. I handled it with the grace and charm I exhibit on all such occasions — that is to say, copious amounts of creative language and possibly one or two rather impolite gestures. After I arrived home I felt annoyed but as calm as anyone is with two dime-sized chips in his forward glass.

I had seen commercials for glass repair on TV and on the web, but had never used the service. After a little research I placed a call to Safelite to survey the damage. They in turn connected me with my insurance company who informed me that little chips/cracks like this can be repaired at no out-of-pocket and no hit on the insurance, as long as it’s done with a reputable repair service — of which Safelite was one.

To my great surprise I scheduled a service call to take place in the driveway on the other side of the weekend, and that was it. I keep waiting for the “gotcha” that’s coming, but thus far I can’t seem to find it. Further updates to come after the glass is fixed.

Safelite Auto Glass Repair [Website]

 

20 Responses to Chipped Glass Repair

  1. elmegil says:

    Had it done a few times, seems to work great.

  2. Ed W says:

    Often leaves a visible mark but it is not as evident as the original crack.

  3. Blind says:

    I don’t have full coverage for my insurance, so fixing the smaller than a dime crack in my windshield was coming out of pocket, but after I stopped by the store, they mentioned that it would cost me roughly $50 to repair the crack and it might not be perfect, but only $150 for a new windshield for my f150, so I might as well just wait until it gets worse and replace the whole thing.

    Just mentioning it because while repairing is generally the cheapest option, for common vehicles, replacing might not be that bad anyhow.

  4. SuperJdynamite says:

    I used Safelite to repair a small “spider” crack caused by a rock impact. That was two years ago and the repair is holding up just fine. In my case you can still see a small blemish but you have to look hard for it. I never notice it in daily driving.

  5. DoItRite says:

    I’ve used these services. There are many large shops and one-man outfits doing this. When you live in parts of the country where they spread copious amounts of sand and gravel on the roads for winter ice, rock chips in the windshield are the norm. The place where I work has a guy that comes by monthly and checks all of the company vehicles and repairs them on the spot.

    Keep in mind that windshields will get “old” and must be replaced. By old, I mean that they can become so pitted with tiny scrapes and nicks that they are almost impossible to see out of when the sun is shining with the right glare. Makes windshield wipers much less effective and streak too.

    I just had an old one replaced and it’s like night and day!

  6. Mrten says:

    Chip repairing is quite common at this side of the pond, there are lots of companies doing it, some even offering it at random parking lots. Most insurances come with cute little stickers to cover a fresh dent to prevent dirt going in.

    Repairs are usually covered by insurance so all it really costs you is the time you spend coffee drinking in the the shop.

    Repairs are not invisible but they are mostly unnoticeable.

  7. Scott Rupert says:

    I had a chip in my van’s windshield after returning from a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh early this spring (2011). It was a rock from a gravel truck that did the damage. I called up my insurance who directed me to Safelite here in town. It was free, easy and quick to bring my vehicle in. The repair has left a visible spot in the windshield and a little bump as well, but it’s held up nice so far. I’m interested to see if this winter the expansion and contraction will take it’s toll on the little repair. In the meantime, I didn’t have to mess with a new windshield or pay my $100 insurance windshield replacement deductible. Rock On! (Pun intended, of course).

  8. Kurt says:

    Depending on the age of the vehicle in question, I have to second Doitrite’s remark. I restored a muscle car years ago which was, at the time, about 15 years old. One of the final things I did was replace the windshield as it had artifacts at night from minor defects. What a pleasure to drive the car both day and night after that – really made a difference!

  9. Rick Reimundez says:

    I’ve used them in the past. They key thing isn’t that they make the blemish disappear, but that they restore some structural integrity to the windshield, so the crack doesn’t spread. I’ve used them several times in previous vehicles. They work really well, and they more often than not come to you.
    My current car had one I was going to have replaced, but when they saw I had a few in my 20 year old BMW, they suggested it would be better to replace (which was also covered by insurance). The new windshield, sans two decades of sandblasting, etc. was MOST welcome. Very pleased all around with this glass coverage. I no longer have it as the car is now 23 years old, and I didn’t feel it was worth it to keep the collision coverage on it.

    • Sean says:

      The most important thing is to keep water out. Scientific American once had an article on a study that shows how water in the leading edge of the crack debonds the silicon structure in glass, leading to crack propagation.

      Catch it young, keep it sealed = happiness in the pocketbook.

  10. Steve says:

    I have had good luck fixing rock chips myself with a Permatex windshield repair kit. They are sold at most auto parts stores for around $12.

  11. Shopmonger says:

    I used to repair these all the time ….DIY…. Unless its free from your insurance, in which case def go with safelite…. They were a vendor for me for years and have done hundreds of my vehicles in fleet. But if it costs you more than $10……go to local hardware store and get glass crack repair and read the instructions.

    ShopMonger

  12. Drew says:

    I second the permatex repair kit. I did it on mine and there is still a tiny non-noticeable blemish but it was fast and easy.

  13. Sean says:

    Get it while it’s dry, clean the area and pull a good vacuum so the sealant gets down into the star break.

    Properly done on a windshield without manufactured in stress, it can keep a windshield in operation for the life of the car or until you get one of those window splitter stones hurled at you.

    Once in a while, you’ll come across an improperly annealed windshield that just plain splits, nothing can be done with those. The star break is the initiator and it just grows from there. I’ve even seen these completely split from side to side spontaneously. The funniest was watching someone throw a gallon of steaming water on a cold windshield to deice it. Oops!

  14. Toolfreak says:

    When I got a set of star impact chips in my windshield from a gravel truck, I was surprised to find the local big name auto glass shop did such repairs at no charge. They fixed it professionally in just a few minutes, and even gave me a free can of their glass cleaner.

    I had another impact chip in a different vehicle after moving away and had to pay $20-30 for a weekend glass repair hobbyist to come out and fix it, before they sold those DIY permatex kits.

    These days, I’d go with the DIY kits unless you can get it done professionally for free or via insurance.

    Also keep in mind that vehicles that fling a rock or anything else at your vehicle are legally responsible for the damage and must pay to repair it. This includes gravel trucks with signs that say “not responsible for damage”. Get the license number, business name, the time/place, etc. You may want to call first and ask nicely if they will just pay for the repair, and if not, call the police and file a report.

  15. Dave says:

    I had about a 6in crack in my car windshield. My insurance sent a local company out to check it out. They person informed me that they could repair it. I asked if they could replaced it since it was a 6in crack right in my field of view. He said that it was not large enough to warrant a replacement windshield, so I picked up one of my landscaping bricks and smashed the windsheild right in the same spot and asked, “Is it big enough now?”

    The guy just laughed and said, “Hope you weren’t needing you car soon…We can’t come out until Monday…”

    It was Friday…

    Still got it replaced at no cost.

  16. Chris says:

    One gotcha with insurance–I used a similar “free service” from my previous insurance company. Over a year later when I went to find better rates on the car the chip repair suddenly showed up as a claim, increasing the quotes I got from competing companies. One of the agents told me this is common practice.

  17. Mac says:

    DIY with the permatex or similar stuff. Have used it too many times to count on my old Jeep. (Jeep windshield is a known rock magnet.) Never failed to hold up.

    Larger cracks justify replacing the whole glass. Agree it was nice looking through a totally clear windshield again.

  18. Gordon Daily says:

    I decided to try Safelite to repair my car windshield after I sustained a small chip/crack. The first thing the service technician told me was that the chip would NOT disappear. I told him that was disturbing since the commercials running at the time showed them magically disappearing. (I think they have since pulled that commercial but it is available on YouTube.) The technician told me when he was done that not enough resin had been pulled into the chip, and that it was likely to fail, but they warranted the work and would replace the windshield if it did fail.

    Well, less than two weeks later it did indeed fail, and the crack expanded across the length of my windshield. I called Safelite and they told me I would have to call my insurance! My insurance company eventually straightened out the mess, and Safelite came out and replaced the windshield.

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