Q: Do I Have to Replace a Cracked Window?

asked by on November 20, 2015

Do I have to replace a cracked window?

A car window’s primary purpose is to allow safe and clear vision of all objects around the vehicle while keeping the element out, and to provide security to the passengers and their personal items. Additionally, they provide structural integrity to vehicle; especially the windshield and rear window. Windows help to work with the body lines and improve the overall aerodynamics as well.

With the exception of the windshield, windows are typically made out of tempered glass which usually cracks and then shatters into thousands of pieces. It is possible for windows to get a scratch or chip, like the ones found typically in the windshield, but it is more common for them to shatter.

Since windows are under stress from the body - especially when in the full up position - a crack that does not shatter the window should be addressed as the added stress will inevitably lead to a broken glass. Damage to the body or door can also cause contact of the window with the interior support structure of the door which can lead to damage or cracking.

Windows are also subject to expansion and compression as heat changes, which will flex them and add to the stress. In the case of a windshield, we treat cracks and chips slightly different since this window is actually laminated together. The window is a composite assembly that is multiple layers of glass with basically a plastic filler in the middle to bond them together. While the window can still shatter, the lamination usually keeps the window from throwing pieces all over the vehicle. These windows tend to get more cracks and chips because of their forward facing position traveling into the path of debris thrown up from other vehicles like small rocks and other items on the roadway.

A small chip can often be repaired by a glass specialist, but if the crack or chip is over a large area, extending from top to bottom or side to side or out in a large star pattern then the entire glass should be replaced. If the chip or crack obstructs the driver’s clear view of the road in any way, the safest answer is always “When in doubt replace for safety.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

How do I quickly defrost the windshield and front windows?

If you are in a hurry and you have poor visibility due to frosted windows, you can quickly defrost the windows and windshield. Here’s how: 1. Use the fan control dial to set the fan to the maximum speed. 2....

Cracked Windshield repair

You will need to have the crack checked by a professional glass company to inspect it and replace the windshield if they cannot repair it. Most small spider cracks can be repaired if they are less than the size of...

Windshield wipers getting stuck in random positions

Hi there. Even though you have replaced the wiper motor, there is an issue that most overlook. There is wiring that goes into the motor. If this wiring is corroded, this will cause your window motor to stop in random...

Related articles

How Much Can I Tint My Windows Legally?
Window tint is a popular aftermarket car modification. States and counties have different tinting laws on how dark of a tint can be legally applied.
How to Buy a Good Quality Window Tint
If If you’re interested in customizing your car, but you don’t want to spend a fortune or make a huge commitment, a good place to start is with a window tint. Not only will it change the look of your...
How Do Secondary Defoggers Work?
Your Your car is equipped with two defoggers/defrosters. The primary one is in the front, and it’s tied into your air conditioner. Turn the controls to defrost, set your temperature, and then turn on the fan and you can watch...