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Car Window Replacement: Everything You Need To Know

by Jordan Harris
Car Window Replacement

Windows in a car include the side windows, rear window, and the windshield. Usually, you can raise or lower the side windows as needed. When your car’s windows get damaged, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? According to us, it should be replacing the broken thing with a car window replacement.

If the window has a crack or chip, you shouldn’t wait to repair it. Putting it off can only worsen the cracks over time. In fact, you may have to spend more money to get it fixed later.

An auto glass or car window replacement is a regular issue. No matter how careful the driver is, they could damage the windows at any time. Since this problem could arrive when you least expect it, it’s best to have some knowledge on the topic.

In the event that the windshield is beyond repair, you should contact a professional to get the job done. One internet search should be more than enough to get you in touch with many car window replacement services in your location. The cost of replacing a car window can differ from one car, or one owner to the other since it depends on many factors.

What Are Car Windows Made Of?

Although it is glass, the glass used in making windshields varies from the glass used to create all the other car windows. The majority of modern-day windshields feature a laminated glass construction, while the rest of the windows are made of tempered glass.

What is Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is almost four times as strong as average glass. This kind of glass is made through a special process called annealing where it has to be cooled down very slowly to make it that strong. It’s constructed in such that a way that if it ever does break, it will shatter into small pieces and won’t cause bodily harm to those near it. In addition, tempered glass is made to resist the vibrations your vehicle produces when driving around.

Benefits of Windshield and Windows in Car

Several bits, both big and small, make up a car. One of the most vital elements would be the windshield. We all know that a car has a windshield and it protects us from sudden bird droppings or pouring rain. In essence, the windshield is there to protect the passengers and driver from any kind of debris or objects in front of the car.

Your windshield is your biggest friend on a bad weather day. It safeguards your eyes from the concerning amount of dust and debris on the roads. Aside from the windshield, there are also rear and side windows fitted onto the car. The rear window also serves to provide better visibility.

Each window has a particular purpose. Together, these car windows ensure security for the car’s occupants.

While it plays such a crucial role outside, the car windshield can also be counted as a part of automobile engineering. Engineers designed it in a way to support your vehicle’s aerodynamics. This is one of those parts that you shouldn’t postpone the replacement of.

How a Car Window Could Break

Despite being quite strong, the tempered glass used to make windshields isn’t invincible. There are multiple reasons behind it breaking or cracking.

  • When someone hits it with their foot, hand, or uses an object to land a blow on it. This would happen during a break-in.
  • If it isn’t secured properly which causes it to rattle around constantly.
  • When the vehicle collides with another vehicle in an accident
  • If a sharp a pointy object, like a rock, flies up at the car while you’re zooming down the highway and shatters one of the windows.
  • If something inside the vehicle slams against the window when you’re driving.

Luckily, most car owners shouldn’t have to worry too much about a car window replacement cost as the glass used in manufacturing is durable and tough. But you never know when you might have to get a change so prepare yourself for that mentally.

Why You Need A Car Window Replacement

The safety and security of the drive along with the passengers is the primary consideration while designing a vehicle. If the windows are in great condition, the driver could benefit. The windows have to be clearly visible to make for safe driving.

A cracked or chipped windshield decreases visibility. It isn’t rare for accidents to occur because the windshield wasn’t clear or in a good state. The law mandates against drivers using a car with a broken or damaged windshield.

Needless to say, driving in such a condition has been made illegal for the right reasons. After all, your safety should always come first – no matter whether you’re behind the wheels or walking down a road peacefully.

If the windshield or window is cracked, the damage only worsens with time. If you don’t opt for replacement or repair when needed, it could cost you more later – not just money.

We mentioned before how the cost of car window replacement is determined by several factors. Some of those would be the kind of windows you’d want to be replaced with, and the type of car you drive.

When Should You Replace the Car Windows?

Regardless of which side of the window is damaged or where the windshield has cracked, it has to be replaced as soon as possible. When the side windows are damaged, they will just crumble upon any impact, instead of shattering into shards of glass. Thus, they have to be changed since you can’t drive for long without side windows.

Occasionally, the auto mechanic will put a temporary window in if a side window can’t be changed immediately – just sturdy enough to go by a few weeks.

When it comes to the windshield, even the smallest chip or crack will have to be investigated because it could develop significantly while you’re driving. Heavy rain, wind, hale, or simple pressure could be enough to shatter the glass. Therefore, it’s best to get its condition checked and that car window replacement is done as quickly as you can.

Car Windshield Replacement vs. Repair

Here’s the good thing about car windows: Not every single occasion will call for a replacement. Whether the car requires a replacement or repair will depend on the extent of the damage. Auto glass repair technicians can repair small cracks and chips without breaking a sweat. However, if the damage is severe, you don’t have any other choice but to replace the whole thing.

Three factors come into play in this regard:

  • Location of the damage
  • Size of the damage
  • Depth of the damage

At first, an auto glass technician will investigate the situation to determine the magnitude of the problem. Then, they will let you know whether the windows and windshields of the car need replacement or repair. As a rule of thumb, cracks and chips less than 3” in length are repairable. Deeper, larger cracks cannot be repaired and have to be changed.

How Long Does Replacement Take?

One thing you will surely appreciate about taking the car window to be replaced by an expert is the time it takes to get the job done. Not only will it take significantly less time than you understanding the situation and trying to do it yourself, but they will also do a more polished job. Generally, a car window replacement is finished in under an hour.

Keep in mind that the time will vary based on how the window broke. If a big cleanup job has to be done before starting on the replacement, expect it to take several hours. But again, the wait shouldn’t be too long.

How Much Does Car Window Replacement Cost?

On average, the cost of car window replacement ranges between $100 and $400. That’s just for one side door window though. The huge gap between these numbers exists to remind you that the cost will really depend on the make and model of the car, along with who you are hiring to fix it.

There is one more reason you should ask around before confirming with a professional to replace the car window. Similar to anything in an open market, the labor costs of one auto glass company could be very different from the prices offered by another. Get your share of the homework done and you should be able to locate a company offering you a reasonable deal ensuring high value.

How to Reduce Overall Car Window Replacement Cost

A broken windshield can happen at any time, anywhere. Most car owners don’t know much about replacing a broken car window. It can happen during a picnic, ruining your time off. It can ruin your run to the grocery store and suddenly you have another task added to your to-do list. Sadly, a broken car window or windshield can catch you by surprise anywhere.

You can’t really avoid the cost of car window replacement, but you can surely do a few things to save money. With proper planning ahead of time, the replacement can be performed effectively and efficiently. You would be surprised at how much you can spend by planning these things well in advance.

If you didn’t know this already, your car insurance could be a saving grace in the event of a broken or damaged window. If not the total amount, the insurance could pay a portion of it.

The first thing to do when you have a damaged car window is to contact your car insurance company. Let them know what happened and ask if there is any clause in the car insurance covering parts of the damage. Even if they can’t offer a lot of coverage, the amount should be substantial. The goal here is to save pennies where you can.

When Does Insurance Cover Car Window Replacement Costs?

The car insurance company isn’t going to help you any time a little crack develops on one of your car’s windows. They have certain criteria to judge whether a car is applicable for the coverage.

For instance, if the window was destroyed due to an accident, they would be happy to help cover the damages. They may also be of assistance if the car window broke as a result of a break-in attempt – from a thief’s side, mind. It won’t cover any of your attempts to get the keys out you accidentally locked inside the car. As long as you’re protected by a comprehensive insurance policy, it should be fine.

Let’s say the car window was damaged by a rock that hit it suddenly, that’s going to be quite a different story. The car insurance company may be less than enthusiastic to help you out in that case. By that we mean they will not cover the replacement cost so that one is completely on you.

If you choose to work with a decent, well-reviewed car repair company, they could also get in touch with your insurance company on your behalf before letting you know the details. Not only will the company replace the broken car window, but they will also take care of the insurance claim to give you complete peace of mind.

In case you don’t have insurance for your car (you should) or simply want to avoid the hassle of avoiding the insurance claim, you have to be ready to pay for the expenses yourself.

Choice of Repair Company

If we talk about reducing the cost of the replacement, your chosen mobile auto glass company will have a big role. Don’t be blinded by everything your car insurer says and just go with the company of their recommendations. Conduct your research before selecting anything.

The internet has brought everything to the palm of our hands now. One simple search should suffice. You can shortlist a few companies that you want to trust with the task. You can call some of your local companies to inquire about the prices. It’s also a good idea to consult with your friends and ask them for suggestions as they have gotten something similar done for their vehicle.

Follow this simple guide to find the best company:

  1. List all the local professionals and companies
  2. Call them, have a word
  3. Do a little online research; make sure to check out the reviews
  4. Have a budget in mind
  5. Compare prices to the quality of service provided

Different window repairs require distinct skills for a high-quality result. The side windows are easier to replace. In fact, anyone with some basic knowledge about car parts could replace that with the proper tools. However, if it’s a broken windshield, don’t make the mistake of trying it yourself. You need a professional immediately.

Whether it’s the windshield or the side windows, we suggest you get in touch with the mechanic or professional for a job well done. Experts who are genuinely qualified will use a mix of tests to determine the issue and replace the windows without fail. In short, if you want an excellent finish and reinsured safety for the riders, there’s no alternative to this step.

Steps to Changing Car Window

We do believe that window replacement should only be carried out by a professional so you get the highest safety standards possible. However, many people would want to do it themselves, maybe due to a shortage of funds or simply because they want to. If you’re one of those people, these steps and this video would be helpful.

  1. First of all, you need to get the new window that will be installed later on. You can find one in any auto repair shop, online retailer, or junkyards. Make sure the glass you’re getting is compatible with the model and make of your car.
  2. Any handles, window cranks or armrests screwed into the door have to be removed. Get a screwdriver and detach these.
  3. Take the door panel out. For this job, the best tool would be a flattened screwdriver. Remove the panel by loosening the tabs binding it to the door.
  4. When they’re loosened enough, the door panel is ready to be lifted and stored away from the doors. For cars with electric windows, then before disconnecting any of the wires, the motor must be linked to the track on the window.
  5. After that, the window should become removable. It shouldn’t take too much effort to lift it. Maintain caution if the window is shattered and carefully discard any broken glass pieces from around the frame.
  6. The new window will come with a plastic guide. Insert that into the gap and it should snap into position. This feature will help the window stay in the right place. After that, you can slide the window into the window track.
  7. Alternatively, for an electric window, you have to reconnect the mechanism. Make sure you test it before finishing to ensure that the window is functioning correctly with fluid up and down motions. If the window is manual, the crank must be tested. Again, there should be no resistance or stiffness in the window’s movements.
  8. The door panel can now be changed. First, you have to hang the top of the panel. Using a screwdriver, slide the tabs onto the base of the door panel in order to pop it correctly back into position. Check the tabs to ensure they have been tightened enough and are secure.
  9. Reconnect items like the armrest and handle to the door.

Is It Necessary to Replace the Car Windows Right Away?

If any of the windows in your bar are damaged or broken, you are technically left with no choice but to have them repaired or replaced immediately. For example, if you’re in an accident and lucky enough to get out of it with just one broken window, you should waste no time in getting that checked.

But there are also other scenarios in which you would prefer to skip replacing the car window for the time being. Had someone broken the quarter glass window on any of the back doors, you could be tempted to pick that up and leave it at that. If you’re lucky, you may even get away with cruising the streets like that for some time.

It goes without saying that there are a lot of risks associated with choosing this approach. When you skip car window replacement, you leave yourself vulnerable to these threats:

  • In case it rains, the inside of your vehicle could get soaked without a fully operational window.
  • Thieves would target your car the first because a broken window is the window of opportunity (pun intended) they needed.
  • You put yourself as well as any other passenger you have in the car with you in harm’s way. A broken or missing window could cause an accident easily.

All that said and done, it may be possible for you to stall replacing a car window for two to three days. But we still think you should put everything off till you can repair this vital element. Despite the costs, this repair/replacement will be a worthy one.

Car Window Glass Replacement Facts:

  • Automotive glasses serve the purpose of providing a safe and comfortable ride, and in the event of an accident, they offer protection to the occupants of the vehicle.
  • Laminated glass and tempered glass are the two major types of automotive glass used in cars, minivans, and SUVs. Laminated glass is shatter-proof, while tempered glass is highly durable but disintegrates into small, blunt pieces on high impact.
  • Opting for poor-quality auto glasses can risk your life. Laminated window glasses are more expensive than tempered ones.
  • The cost of replacing a broken windshield, back windshield, side windows, and glass panel roofs varies based on the type of glass and car model. Expect to pay anywhere between $200 and $450 to have a broken or cracked car window glass replaced with a new one.
  • The average cost of car auto glass replacement for most car owners is around $215, but professional auto glass repair services may charge a little more.
  • Some repair shops offer free mobile windshield repair and replacement services at competitive prices.
  • Whether or not the insurance company will pay for the cost of a new windshield or car window replacement depends on the type of car insurance policy and how the auto glass broke.
  • Driving with broken auto glass obstructs visibility and compromises safety on the road. It is recommended to avoid driving under these circumstances and reach out to a car window repair shop or mobile technicians for help.

Car Window Replacement – Ending Thoughts

Car window replacement is as important as any other repairs that you would plan for your car. It’s not a piece of glass, but a protective barrier between the riders of the vehicle and the outside world. The costs could be a bit high but it’s truly worth it. If you’re feeling confident enough, you could try a DIY project too.

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Eli Richardson 09/02/2021 - 5:54 PM

I’m glad you talked about the importance of keeping a car’s windshield in good shape. Recently, I borrowed my mom’s car and realized how it has some cracks on the windshield. I think my mom needs to repair or replace it before it gets worse, so I’ll be sure to suggest it and help her. Thanks for the information on auto glass and how it helps protect you.

Tammie Houston 10/28/2021 - 3:35 PM

I had no idea that driving around with cracked windows was illegal and that you could get into trouble for doing that. My kids accidentally threw a baseball at our car’s window and since we’re a bit short at the moment we aren’t able to replace it just yet. If there’s a chance we can get fined for driving it around in that state, I’ll be sure not to drive it around until I can get a broken auto window replacement for it. Getting fined or ticketed for that would only add to our expenditures and I’d like to avoid that as much as possible.

Sandeep Baliyan 04/06/2022 - 11:58 AM

This is indeed a detailed information on car windows and I am glad that there is now more awareness about the car window glass replacement. It is important to have your car glass free of chips, cracks and scratches to ensure a smooth and safe drive.


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