Cracked Windsheild

Forgive me if this has come up before, but how serious is a cracked windsheild from a safety standpoint? I have large (1.5 ft) crack across my windsheild. It is worth fixing? It does not obscure my vision, but I hear that it makes the windsheild dangerous in a crash. Is this true or is this glass repair company propaganda? The crack is too big for a patch job and I don’t want to replace the whole windsheild if this is only a cosmetic problem. I have a 2002 Honda Civic, although I imagine this question applies to any car windsheild.

If you have full coverage insurance, most insurers will fix or replace a damaged windshield without requiring you to use the deductible.

Also, technically, a cracked or damaged windshield will get you a faulty equipment ticket in all states. Usually, an officer will let a crack slide if it doesn’t interfere with your vision, but they don’t have to. Once they issue the ticket, however, get it replaced. You don’t want to get stopped again with that crack still there. Then, you’ll need to see the judge, and prove to him that it got fixed.

The main thing to worry about is not necessarily a collision but the windshield giving way due to air pressure at highway speeds, especially if you hit a large bump or pothole.

Chances are this will NOT happen, but I’m just pointing out a “what-if” situation.
Hold your hand out the window, near the car, at an angle similar to the windshield while you’re going down the road.
Feel the force applied and then imagine how much pressure is being exerted against that glass.
I’m a believer in heading things off before they occur; even the fluky ones.

A windshield is normally not that expensive a repair if you price it around.
Most glass here runs about 200 to 275 on most cars including labor.

It depends on where the crack is located. In some states, if the crack is not in the drivers field of view, it can pass a safety inspection. Field of view varies from state to state and many states won’t allow any crack that is greater than a certain size, again size varies by state. If any crack completes a circle, then it has to be replaced in just about all states. You will have to check your states laws.

Some states have required safety inspections, in those states, you can find yourself at the mercy of the inspector. When I was stationed in Virginia, I had a crack that went along the bottom of my windshield. It passed several inspection several times, but once, I ran into an inspector that had a rather unusual interpretation of the law. The law did not allow a crack that completed a circle larger than 1.5". Mine completed a circle of slightly less than 1". The inspector interpreted the rule as completing a circle greater than the radius of a 1.5" diameter circle.

[b]The windshield acts as a backstop for the air-bag when it deploys in an accident. If there’s a crack in the windshield, the windshield can be literally pushed out of it’s opening when the air-bag deploys. This in turn renders the air-bag useless.

So, if the vehicle is equipped with an air-bag, it’s even more important to have a cracked windshield replaced.


It depends on where the crack is located. In some states, if the crack is not in the drivers field of view, it can pass a safety inspection.

What state is that in??? Only thing I’ve ever seen is some in some states if the crack is less then 4" and NOT in field of view or less then 1" that’s IN the field of view will be ok. Never heard of ANY state that allows a 18" crack be acceptable.

If you have full coverage insurance, most insurers will fix or replace a damaged windshield without requiring you to use the deductible.

That really depends on the state. In NH and NY you need seperate glass coverage. And even then I have to pay a $50 deductable for replacement…but if it can be fixed they’ll do it for free.

most states have two levels of insurance.

one covers the damages and insures you for the damage to others, and passengers in your car.

the other gives you much more coverage and covers things like windshield replacement.

here in taxachusetts, we get windshield replacement free!!! aint that amazing!

find out which kind of coverage you have. call your insurance office. you MAY be surprised (pleasantly)

It passed in California, Tennessee and once in Virginia. But this was in the early 80’s. The car was a 66 Dodge. The crack ran along the bottom of the windshield.

Oh yeah MikeInNH, can you tint your windows now?

my wife reminded me, since she hates for me to get too confusing,

the two levels of insurance are called,

collision, and comprehensive.

collision is the basic minimum you need to get coverage.

and comprehensive is all the coverage you SHOULD have, if you can afford it!

All that was said above and the fact the the winshied is considered a structual component. Don’t try to fix this one,replace it.

In NH the the front side windows an the windshield can NOT be tinted beyond factory tint.

I just had my windshield replaced and the glass shop waived the deductable even though the insurance company said I would have to pay $100. Check some local glass shpos. They may do the same thing just to get the business.

Contact your insurer immediately. They will tell you whether you need to pay anything. The last time this happenned to me, I was told I would have to pay the glass shop $50. The glass shop I chose was willing to do the job in my driveway, but would waive the decuctible payment if I had the job done in their shop. I got the windshield for free.

The windshield on a 2002 Civic is an integral part of the body structure. In a crash you could have severely compromised the ability of the structure to protect you.

As already stated, it’s also an equipmnent violation in all states.

Is it worth risking your life to save a few hundred bucks?

I suggest all of you google state laws on windshield cracks. The laws vary from state to state. In Virginia, you can have a crack in the bottom three inches and a crack up to 1.5" anywhere. In Maryland, you cannot have a crack in the field of vision (field of vision not defined). I didn’t go through all the state laws so I’m sure there are probably some states that don’t allow any cracks.

Now as to whether you should drive with a cracked windshield, my answer would be NO. That could be more critical in some vehicles compared to others, but the windshield should be replaced as soon as possible. If its going to take a few days before it can be done and you need to drive, I think that would be OK.

Some years ago I had to go back through a state inspector program to be recertified (not out of choice) here in Oklahoma.

Some inspection laws had been revised and the section on checking a cracked windshield covered about 3 pages of single-spaced fine print.
It was pure gibberish involving measuring the linear length of cracks in areas that involved so many square inches and there is no way in the world a mortal person could follow their instructions.

When the instructor asked if there were any questions, and me usually being the antagonist, I asked him flat out if HE understood any of the windshield section in the inspection book.

He hesitated about 10 seconds, smiled sheepishly, and plainly stated that he could not comprehend any of those 3 pages himself. His recommendation was just “use your own judgement”, and that can be a real toss-up.
This is the same group responsible for ticketing people who have cracked windshields and they can’t even determine what’s illegal or not?

Thought you might get a chuckle out of the powers that be at work.

(Here in OK a few years ago a windshield blew out of a vehicle on I-35 and flew backwards into a following vehicle. The impact set off the airbags in the trailing car and blew its windshield out also.)

the only problem i see, it that if the crack comes over to you and you try to get it inspected

Okay, I guess I’ll chime in on this one.

I used to be pretty dilligent about changing out cracked windshields, having heard the whole “structural integrity” thing repeatedly. That was before I moved out to Montana. Out here, you would be really hard-pressed to find a vehicle newer than about 5-years old without a cracked windshield. I replaced one windshield since I moved out here and the darn thing was cracked within the month! Between the sand & gravel on the roads and the extreme temperatures, they never last long, and it’s only a very nice car you bother to keep putting them in.

So what makes me skeptical is the fact that you never, ever hear about a damaged windshield as a contributing factor in a fatal crash. Also I’ve handled windshields both intact and cracked and, while one that has been actually punctured or has damage bad enough to change the curvature is obviously weaker, I have a really difficult time believing that a simple crack or even a network of superficial cracks caused by rock chips reduces the structural integrity of the windshield in any meaningful way. And its those cracks that people are driving around with-- you get a hole or a baseball impact, of course you go get it changed. Ditto for causing blowouts-- I’d bet deteriorated seals are to blame for this, which would get changed with the cracked windshield, but that doesn’t make it the crack’s fault.

Okay, so granted I haven’t really examined the body of scientific work on the subject (if there is such a thing), but out here the common belief seems to be that any claim that a broken windshield does anything other than look bad and maybe impare your vision is at best an exaggeration and at worst a total fabrication by autoglass companies. I’m not entirely sold that its all bunk, but I am quite skeptical.

Oh, and for what its worth, I’ve never heard of anyone getting a ticket for a cracked windshield and we have no inspections of any kind, so I can’t really comment on the legal ramifications.