A chipped or cracked windscreen can lead to instant MOT failure, and can be seen as a motoring offence if the windscreen is not repaired or replaced right away.  

Something as seemingly insignificant as a falling hailstone can damage your windscreen in an instant.

Minor issues can quickly develop into major problems – just driving over a pothole in the dark can cause that small chip to spread.  

Read on and find out how much a windscreen replacement costs, and why you shouldn't ignore a chip for long. 


How Much Does a Windscreen Replacement Cost?

A windscreen replacement will cost around £180 for most vehicles. If you drive a high-end vehicle, like a Mercedes, Jaguar or Land Rover, then the price could be closer to £500. 

These figures are rough estimates – a heated windscreen will cost you much more, for example.  

Given that a windscreen replacement requires a certain level of expertise, and the glass will need to be carefully transported, the costs can easily rack up. 


Does My Windscreen Need to be Repaired or Replaced?

A windscreen repair is faster than a replacement, with some chips being fairly easy to fix without compromising the safety of the windscreen – depending on the size and position of the chip.  

However, the glass cannot be repaired if it is cracked – this will require a replacement. Even a small crack can undermine the overall strength of the windscreen, which can put your safety at risk.  

Dust and moisture can get into the crack and cause further damage over time.

A weak or damaged windscreen can completely detach when an airbag deploys, causing the airbag to inflate over the dashboard.

That’s why it is so important that you have the windscreen replaced if the integrity of your windscreen is at all compromised.  

Most minor chips and cracks can be repaired without needing to replace the entire windscreen. This will depend on: 

  • The type of chip
  • The size of the crack
  • The depth of the damage
  • The location of the issue
Windscreen replacement in progress

Make sure that you do something about a small chip before the damage spreads.


What Are Windscreen Zones?

There are four different windscreen repair sections – labelled A through D.  

Zone A 

Zone A is 290mm wide. As this zone is in the driver’s eyeline, it must not have damage exceeding 10mm. 

Zone B 

Zone B is where the side windscreen wiper reaches up to. Damage in this area can extend to 15mm, and be around the size of a 5p coin. 

Zone C 

Zone C is the area swept by the windscreen wipers on the passenger side.  The damage in this zone can be up to 25mm. 

Zone D 

Zone D can withstand repairs up to 40mm. 

You will need to have the windscreen replaced if the damage is any bigger than that mentioned in the above list, or if you notice damage in any of the following areas: 

  • The interior of the windscreen 
  • The driver’s line of vision 
  • On both layers of glass 

Windscreen damage can quickly evolve from a small chip into a significant crack, so you should arrange a repair or replacement as soon as possible.  


What Happens If I Delay a Replacement?

Not only will you run the risk of injuring yourself and others by driving with a damaged windscreen, but you will also be breaking several laws.  

According to Section 40a of the Road Traffic Act, ‘the use of a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition’ is an offence.  

Not to mention that rule 89 of the Highway Code states that your vehicle must comply with the full requirements of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, and rule 97 states your vehicle must be legal and roadworthy.  

If you put off a windscreen replacement, then you will be invalidating these rules. 


Will My Car Fail Its MOT Due to a Damaged Windscreen?

Your car may fail its MOT if: 

  • The washers don’t provide enough liquid 
  • The wipers are missing, insecure or worn out 
  • The windscreen is damaged in the driver’s eyeline 

If your MOT is due, you should have a broken windscreen repaired to give you the best chance of passing your test.  

A seriously damaged car windscreen.

Don't let the damage get this bad. 


Is Windscreen Cover Included in Car Insurance as Standard?

Many comprehensive cover policies include windscreen cover, but you should check with your insurer to make sure that your windscreen is protected.  

If your standard insurance policy does not cover windscreen damage, then any stones, grit or other debris that hits your windscreen will be your problem. 

You can select windscreen cover insurance as on optional extra on certain policies – this can cost around £30. You may have to pay a small excess and take your car to the garage that your insurer provides – your insurer may even cover the cost of a replacement - just make sure you read the fine print of the policy before committing.  


How Long Does a Windscreen Replacement Take?

Whilst a repair can take around 30 minutes, a full windscreen replacement can take up to an hour to complete.  

You may be able to drive your vehicle away soon after the replacement is complete, but your mechanic will be able to advise you if this will take longer for any reason.  


Can I Postpone a Windscreen Replacement?

If you put off a windscreen repair or replacement, then you could find that a previously near-invisible crack grows into one covering much of your windscreen.

A change in temperature can cause the layers of glass to contract – and a cracked windscreen won’t cope with this added pressure.  

Then there’s the prospect of a crack suddenly obscuring your field of vision whilst driving. A broken windscreen will struggle to maintain its shape, and the front frame of the car could break down quite easily.  

In the event of an accident, your airbags will depend on the strength of your windscreen to work properly. You could go through the windscreen if it is not strong enough to maintain a safe pressure when the air bags are deployed.  

Lastly, of course, the longer you postpone a windscreen replacement, the more it may end up costing you financially.

If the damage to your windscreen is caused by you putting off what would have been a basic repair, then you may have to pay for the damages yourself if your insurance provider considers the issue a result of negligence.  

For all these reasons and more, it is essential that you arrange a windscreen repair or replacement as soon as you notice a chip in your windscreen.  

A mechanic inspects a car windscreen.

A technician will be able to inspect your windscreen and assess the damage. 


We hope you have enjoyed learning about the importance of taking care of your car windscreen.



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