Articles / Vehicle Glass

Repairing VS. Replacing Your Windscreen: Which Is The Better Option?

15 March 2023

Repairing VS. Replacing Your Windscreen: Which Is The Better Option?

This is one of the most common questions vehicle owners ask us – “does my damaged windscreen need to be repaired or replaced?”. If you have a choice, we’d always say to repair it. The main reason is, it’s the greener choice over a windscreen replacement, plus it saves you time and money.

However, not all chips can be repaired, so let’s explore what’s involved.

Can my windscreen chip be repaired?

The good news is that minor windscreen damage in the form of a small chip is generally repairable.

However, there are a few reasons that you may need to replace the entire windscreen, including:

  • The chip hinders the driver’s line of sight.
  • The new chip damage is close to previously repaired chip.
  • There’s been too many previous repairs.
  • The chip damage has gone through more than a single layer of glass.

Whether the windscreen can be repaired by O'Brien® or not depends on three primary factors including:

  1. Location of damage

If damage is located in the driver’s critical vision area, only small damage is recommended for repair under the Australian Standard. This is because the chip repair process leaves a small blemish in the glass, and it must not be of a type or size that could distract the driver’s vision.

Any damage that extends to the outer edges of the glass can make it tricky for us to apply our tool to the chip and obtain a good repair to a broken edge of the screen.

Chips in the small viewing area of cameras which look through the windscreen are also currently not recommended for repair by most vehicle manufacturers.

However, in most cases, minor windscreen chip damage can be repaired and if the damage is on the passenger side (outside of the driver’s critical vision areas) then slightly larger chips can be repaired by O'Brien®.

  1. Size and depth of the chip

A windscreen chip with a diameter of around 2.5 centimetres (roughly the size of a $1 coin) can generally be repaired on the passenger side. However, if the windscreen chip has managed to penetrate the outer layer as well as the inside layer of the windscreen glass, then it will need to be replaced.

If your chip windscreen is left unattended, then it could turn into a crack at any time, often when you least expect it. At O'Brien®, we recommend that you get your windscreen replaced by an expert vehicle glass technician as quickly as possible after the damage occurs. Quickly having your chip repaired not only reduces the risk that it might crack but also will improve the cosmetic quality of the repair as the amount of debris trapped in the chip generally increases over time. Debris in the chip can reduce the cosmetic quality of the finished repair.

  1. The severity of windscreen damage

Keep in mind that if your windscreen has taken a serious enough impact, it is most likely beyond the point of repair, so replacing it may be your only option. When in doubt, simply contact the O'Brien® AutoGlass experts for advice on the options we have available.

For more information on assessing whether a chip can be repaired by O'Brien®, view our previous article here.

When do I need to replace my windscreen?

The main reasons are if it is damaged beyond repair recommended by the Australian Standard, or there is significant damage obstructing the driver’s line of sight. If this is the case, then there is not really any other option than to replace it.

If you find your windscreen is leaking or whistling but is still intact and undamaged, then you should get it assessed by a vehicle glass expert. The likely outcome is that the adhesive is not doing its job and the windscreen needs to be removed and refitted, but not replaced.

Windscreen chip repair can benefit more than just you and your car

As we mentioned earlier, a repair is the ‘greener’ option when compared with a windscreen replacement. It’s also cheaper, benefiting your back pocket! And it’s faster, saving you time. How you ask? Great question!

It’s also greener

The short answer is you get to keep your existing windscreen. Windscreens weigh about 15kgs and require lots of resources to produce and transport. The repair also only requires a tiny viral of resin, which is used to fill the micro cracks, to reinforce the strength of the glass in the spot where it has been damaged.

It’s also faster

A chip repair takes just 30mins to complete where a windscreen replacement takes around 90mins.

It’s also cheaper

As you are saving your existing windscreen you don’t have the added expense of paying for a new replacement windscreen. Plus, if you have ADAS safety features such auto braking or lane detection, you can often also have the added expense of requiring a recalibration of your forward-facing camera after a full replacement. A recalibration is not required for a chip repair.

Contact O'Brien® for your chip repair or windscreen replacement today.

So, which is better? Repair or replace? Firstly, it depends on the circumstances. If your windscreen can be repaired, we believe there are 3 compelling reasons to choose a repair over a replacement. Our preference is always to repair if we can.

Whatever the outcome, our expert team at O'Brien® are here to help in both situations so you cave driveway with confidence.

To get in touch, call 1800 059 829 to speak with one of our friendly team. Or to find the nearest O'Brien® AutoGlass branch, click here.


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We'd love to help you, but unfortunately cannot assist with:

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