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Windshields are one component of cars that tends to go unnoticed until something goes wrong. But a broken windshield can be a real hazard, and if you’re unlucky enough to need a repair or replacement. You’ll want to get it done sooner than later, especially if a small crack has begun to grow. But just how long does a windshield repair usually take?

Windshields can be more fragile than we realize

A cracked windshield in need of windshield repair.
Cracked Windshield | Getty Images

It doesn’t actually take much to damage a windshield. According to iSeeCars, some 14 million windshields require replacement each year in the United States. In fact, around 30% of insurance claims each year are related to windshield repair. 

Why is it so common for windshields to become damaged? It primarily comes down to road debris. Whether a stone or other object gets kicked up by the vehicle in front of you or falls from a truck ahead, it can potentially do serious damage to your windshield, especially if you’re traveling at highway speeds. It’s a simple question of physics. 

If you’re lucky enough to get away with a small chip in your windshield, you may not need to replace it right away, especially if it’s out of your field of vision. However, a more extensive “bullseye” can begin to spread, morphing into a crack. Once that happens, you’ll need to think seriously about getting your windshield replaced. 

How long does it take to repair a windshield?

Unlike many car repairs, windshield repair or replacement is a relatively quick job. It can also be incredibly convenient because, in many cases, the repair technician can do the work in your driveway or your workplace’s parking lot while you focus on other things. 

Replacing a windshield usually doesn’t take longer than an hour, barring unexpected circumstances. This is true even when there is more complicated technology involved. The only aspect of the repair that can take a little longer is allowing the sealant that holds the glass in place some time to cure. You can still drive while it firms up, but you’ll want to avoid going through a car wash immediately after your windshield replacement. 

A look at the costs associated with windshield repair

While the average windshield repair costs $400, making it less costly than many other repairs, this is just an average. Many factors will determine what you’ll pay to get your windshield repaired or replaced. Some of these include your car’s make, the cost of replacement parts, your location, and what service provider you choose. 

How much you actually pay out of pocket will also depend on your insurance company. If you’re unsure what your policy says about windshield repair, you’ll want to read your policy over carefully before making any moves. 

Some insurance companies will strongly prefer that you repair rather than replace your windshield if possible. This is because repairs are often less costly than replacement, ultimately saving you on premiums. Repair isn’t always as safe as a replacement, so make sure you do your homework in this regard. 

A few states require windshield replacement to be included in car insurance policies, but many do not. In a lot of cases, deductibles will apply to windshield replacements. For this reason, before contacting your insurance company, you’ll want to consider whether you would save more money in the long run by simply paying out of pocket for your windshield repair or claiming it on your insurance. 


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