Most car repairs are expensive. Show me a car repair that can be handled for cheap and I will show you a pig that can fly. And some car parts cannot be repaired, they need to be replaced; this is even more expensive. Of course, most of the repair and replacement is covered under your car insurance, but that still doesn't mean car repairs are cheap. They do burn a hole in your pockets.
This is just one of the reasons why there is endless debate about whether it makes more sense to repair a windshield or get it replaced. The point here is not about the actual process of repair or replacement and the benefits accrued from it, but about the finances. When you find somebody debating the merits or demerits of getting a windshield repaired or replaced, the roots of this debate lie in the expense involved.
But the fact is that the decision to repair or replace a windshield is not a financial one at all. It actually is based on the extent of the damage suffered by the windshield and whether it can be repaired at all.
Can all windshield damage be repaired?
I live in Reno and there are plenty of auto glass companies in Reno who say they can repair just about any damage suffered by your windshield. I believe them, because I believe in modern technology. Gone are the days when even a small windshield crack meant you had to change your windscreen. The evolution of modern windshield repair technology means there are windshield repair specialists who can repair anything right from a rock chip to a 16” long crack. Yes, what this means is that even the most serious cracks can be repaired by experienced windshield repair shops.
But there are some exceptions to the rule. The first exception is the position of the crack. If the crack appears at the edge of the windshield, you will either need to get the damage repaired quickly; any delay might lead to the crack spreading and in such cases you will need to get the windshield replaced. The second exception is when the repair shop finds that the position of the crack is such that even repairing it, will not deliver the visual clarity needed for a safe driving experience. In such cases, the repair shop will suggest you replace the windshield.
My personal views on windshield repair are very simple - If the repair will have my windshield looking as good as new, and I am assured that repairing the glass will take nothing away from the safety of my car and my driving experience, I go for repair, otherwise, I choose replacement. For me, it's all about the safety, and I don't mind paying for it.
The Cost Perspective
I did a quick research of the repair costs across many auto glass companies in Reno offering windshield repair services, and found that most charged similar rates. Of course, there were some who offered price discounts as well, and the costs vary depending on the number or rock chips to be repaired as well as the length of cracks to be repaired.
The costs of repair are way less than getting your windshield replaced.
As far as replacing your glass windshield is concerned, it is an expensive bargain. The cost of this endeavor is dependent on the vehicle, meaning whether it is a large SUV, sedan or a small hatchback as the size of the windshield differs across different vehicles. Now you could either choose to get the windshield replaced at a dealer or at an independent glass shop. Typically, you will find that the rates charged by the dealer are more than those charged by the shops. That's because, dealers will replace your car windshield with an original windshield which is supplied by an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). On the other hand, auto glass repair shops use a less expensive variety of windshields that are as durable and reliable as those offered by dealers, but they aren't supplied by OEMs.
So, take your pick; you can go for original glass or you could just pick something that is as good a substitute.
So, finally, what makes more sense?
Let's just play it safe and say both make sense at different times. Both repair and replacement are covered by auto insurance companies, but in the case of replacements, you will need to pay a deductible. So, if you can afford to pay the deductible, it's always advisable to get your windshield repaired, in case it's suffered a major crack. However, if the damage is minimal at best, and you have caught it early, there is no harm in repairing it.
I know there are repair shops that have the ability sort out even the major cracks, and it's completely a personal decision whether you want to get such cracks repaired or the windshield replaced. If you choose to work with an automotive glass specialist, you will get the best returns from either of these decisions. The key here is to work with auto glass repair companies who know their jobs exceedingly well. If you pick the right guys, you don't really have to worry about whether you need to get your windshield repaired or replaced. They will do the thinking for you and help you choose the right course of action.