A windscreen replacement isn’t only costly, but it can also be a major hassle for most people. That’s especially true if you’re driving a newer vehicle with sensors all over the windscreen. So, let’s suppose your windscreen suffered some damage. There’s no need to panic; depending on the extent of the damage, you might only need windscreen repair instead of a total replacement.
Minor damage can be repaired by a pro. If your windscreen has a crack less than 14 inches long or stone chips less than 10mm in diameter, it should still be repairable. Windshields with too many or too large cracks or chips will need a windscreen replacement instead.
In the following sections, we’ll help you assess your situation, whether you should repair or replace your windscreen. Then, as you keep reading, you’ll start to understand what kind of stone chip or crack damage puts a windscreen beyond repair and requires a replacement instead.
Lastly, we’ll also give you a rough idea of the windscreen replacement cost and windscreen repair cost you can expect in Australia.
How Do You Fix a Stone Chip on a Windscreen?
Besides cracks, your windscreen might suffer from damage in the form of stone chips. But how do you repair a windscreen with this kind of damage?
The typical repair process involves three general steps, and here’s what they are:
Before the repairer can fix any windscreen damage, they must first inspect it closely. This inspection is crucial to understand the extent of the damage and decide whether or not car windscreen repair is possible. If not, you’ll need a total replacement.
Assuming the windscreen is still fixable, the repairer will go to the next step.
Before any repair, the repairer must first clean the stone chip, which entails removing dust or debris trapped in the gap. Plus, they'll also want to keep it dry and remove any moisture.
Skipping this part can result in a cloudy spot on the windshield. Not only will that be unsightly, but it can also be dangerous if it blocks your line of sight.
Seal and Harden
Lastly, the repairer will use a unique resin material designed specifically to fix stone chips on windscreens. That resin will be used to fill the chipped glass, and then the repairer will dry out the material thoroughly with UV light.
Bear in mind that stone chips repair don’t necessarily need to be done by a professional. You can also find lots of DIY kits available for you to perform the three steps mentioned above in the comfort of your own home.
What Size Chips Can You Repair on a Windscreen?
Stone chips less than 10mm in diameter can still be repaired using the above process. Larger chips, however, can compromise the windscreen’s integrity. In that case, it’s no longer safe to use, leaving windscreen replacement as the only option.
You also need to understand that the size of the stone chips isn’t the only factor. For example, if there are too many stone chips all over the windscreen, you’ll still need to replace it even if those chips are small.
How Big a Crack on a Windscreen Can Be Repaired?
When it comes to cracks up to 14 inches, windscreen repair is still possible. However, as mentioned before, the size of the damage isn’t the only determining factor. Small cracks in large quantities will have the same effect as big ones, and so you’ll still need a windscreen replacement.
Once you notice a damage on your windscreen, never take it lightly. You should take steps to stop the windshield crack from spreading. Ignoring it will only worsen it with time. Not only will that increase your windscreen repair cost, but it might get to the point where car windscreen repair will no longer be an option.
Is It Illegal to Drive with a Cracked Windscreen?
Yes, it is illegal to drive in Australia with a cracked windscreen. As you might know, road laws are different depending on where you are in the country. Just to give you an example, let's look at the rules in New South Wales.
In NSW, it’s illegal to drive a car with a hairline crack on the windscreen if it the crack is more than 30mm long, or anything bigger than 75mm from the windscreen edge, or a 'bullseye' crack bigger than 16mm.
Even though the rules might differ by state or territory, the bottom line here is clear: letting your windscreen damage get out of hand without repairing it could land you in some trouble with the law!
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Windscreen Australia?
As you might imagine, windscreen replacement costs can be quite different depending on several factors. Among them are the size, car model, and costs for workmanship as well. You can also expect to pay more if you’re replacing a windscreen with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features, which will require additional calibration after it’s replaced.
On the lower end of the spectrum, you can expect to pay $200-$300 to repair a windscreen that’s been damaged by cracks and chips.
On the other hand, ADAS windscreens could push your windscreen replacement cost into the $800-$900 range instead.
As you can see, the costs for a total windscreen replacement aren’t cheap. So, you’ll want to repair any small chips or cracks on your windshield as soon as possible before it gets worse and goes beyond the point of repair.
Learn More about Your Car
To learn more about windscreen repair, windscreen replacement and much more, you can check out the blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you’ll find plenty of educational posts that will help you become a well-informed car owner and driver in Australia or wherever in the world you might be!
By Ray Hasbollah