What Factors are Involved in the Cost of Windshield Replacement?

Sherry Holetzky

When a windshield is damaged, it is important to determine whether or not the windshield can simply be repaired rather than being replaced. Not every chipped or cracked windshield will require replacement. If repair is not feasible, there are several things to look at when contemplating the cost of windshield replacement. The make, model, and year of the vehicle play a role in the cost. The size of the windshield, the type of glass, insurance coverage, any additional parts that need to be replaced, and the costs of various related services are also considerations.

Broken windshield glass.
Broken windshield glass.

The type of glass used will greatly influence the cost of windshield replacement. Dealer glass, the same type of windshield that was put in the vehicle when it was built, is generally the most expensive. The same is typically true of having the work done at a dealership as opposed to an auto glass company or other repair shop.

The make, model, and year of a vehicle may affect the cost of windshield replacement.
The make, model, and year of a vehicle may affect the cost of windshield replacement.

There are comparable types of windshield glass, such as original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, glass. OEM glass must meet or exceed the vehicle manufacturer’s standards but is usually less costly. The only real differences between OEM and dealer glass are the maker, the price, and the fact that OEM glass does not have the manufacturer’s name stamped on it. Another choice, aftermarket glass, is usually cheaper but does not meet the same standards. OEM tends to be the popular choice when considering the cost of windshield replacement.

The cost of towing also may be a factor in the cost of windshield replacement if the vehicle needs to be moved but the damage is to the extent that it is unsafe to drive. It is also possible to have the work done on site, but this option will generally be done at a premium rate. Hiring an auto glass company to work on location, such as at the owner’s home or business, does have its advantages. The vehicle can be ready to go the next time the owner needs it. The work shouldn’t take long and the windshield just needs a couple hours of set up time before use.

Other parts, such as the rubber mounting around the glass, may also need to be replaced, which will obviously add to the cost of windshield replacement. It is also important to determine whether filing an insurance claim or paying the cost of windshield replacement out of pocket is the more cost-effective solution.

Not every damaged windshield will require replacement.
Not every damaged windshield will require replacement.

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Discussion Comments


@David09 - Shop around if you need to replace your windshield. I wouldn’t skimp on quality here. Avoid places that advertise cheap windshield replacement. They’re cutting corners somewhere.

Frankly, I prefer dedicated glass repair shops rather than those auto shops which simply offer glass repair as part of their suite of services. I think the dedicated shops do a better a job. At any rate, go for the best quality you can get for the most reasonable price.


@miriam98 - I’m surprised that OEM glass is less costly than the dealer’s glass, if it exceeds the manufacturer’s standards. This seems counterintuitive to me.

At any rate I would go with OEM glass if you really need car windshield replacement. This should make your car look as good as new, and I suspect the higher quality of the OEM glass would make your windshield less susceptible to cracks in the future. In the end it’s the more cost effective solution.


Glass repair is generally easiest when the windshield is just a small crack. At this point you can have the repair specialists come out and they can fix it with some resin and some other stuff and be done with it.

It will look as good as new. Sometimes insurance will pay for it without penalty, meaning they won’t increase your rates as a result.

If, however, you leave that small crack without fixing it, it will spread and become bigger until it overtakes your whole windshield. At that point you will have no point to replace it. Even then it should only cost you a few hundred dollars, but I suppose that depends on the size of the windshield and the other factors listed in the article.

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