Hearing a foreign object strike the windshield of your vehicle is one of those sounds that becomes unmistakable. Even if the object does no damage to the safety glass, we find ourselves examining the transparent shield for any sign of flaw or imperfection as if searching for the lost treasures of Egypt. Having a windshield replaced isn’t really a time-consuming or painstaking process. It doesn’t take more than a couple of hours, and some places will even come to you to complete the work. It’s not uncommon in any way, and in most cases it’s usually not that expensive either. It’s just one of those unfortunate expenses that we’d rather avoid at all costs if possible. So what, exactly, does it cost to replace a large pane of safety glass in your vehicle? Let’s see…

Wait, Can’t I Just Get It Repaired?

That’s a good question. Windshield repair is one of those industries that has grown quite a bit in the past decade or two. With the advent of new polymers and sealers, even long cracks can be repaired without leaving the comfort of your own driveway. If you have a small chip or a crack that doesn’t extend the length of your windshield, you may be better suited to a repair than a replacement. The average chip repair runs around $20-$30 in-shop, and closer to $60 for mobile service (per chip). Long cracks can average anywhere from $50 to $100 depending on the length of the crack. This is all a far cry cheaper than replacement and is often covered by most insurance companies. Of course, not every windshield is reparable. There are times when unfortunate accidents leave the windshield in more pieces than even Reese’s could make.

So Repairs Are Out, What Now?

Now it’s time to call your local body shop and get your quote. Every windshield is obviously going to be different, which means that prices will vary as well. This has more to do with the price of the windshield itself than with the labor involved in replacement. All in all, replacing a windshield is a fairly simple procedure. That isn’t to say it’s not a delicate procedure, we are dealing with a fragile object here. But the repair itself is more time consuming than difficult. Much of it consists of removing the old sealant around the lip of the windshield seat, and then waiting for the new sealant to set once the new windshield is in place. It’s really a matter of what the parts cost that determines the price for this job.

What Makes the Difference In Parts? Glass is Glass, Right?

Not when you’re dealing with a specially-molded, curved piece of safety glass that protects occupants from rapidly moving projectiles hurtling toward their faces at 100 mph. The windshield is the third most important safety device on your vehicle, next to seat belts and airbags. Its uniqueness of design and importance in safety make it quite a pricy piece of glass. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer who can find a good windshield at a salvage yard, you’re probably looking at anywhere from $70 to $200 depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

What If I’m Having It Done?

The average cost for parts and labor on a windshield replacement is in the neighborhood of $175 to $325 for passenger cars. This particular class represents the largest degree of variation in price because it’s the largest degree of variation in product. There are more styles of passenger car than any other vehicle. This makes the windshield prices extremely varied. SUVs have a more limited range, but not much cheaper. The average windshield replacement for one of the sport-utes ranges from $165 to $275. Pickups and minivans will start around $170, but shouldn’t reach much higher than $300.

(Please remember that these repair prices can also fluctuate based on geographic location, as well as vehicle make and model; and that these numbers represent averages, not actual prices offered at any specific repair facilities.)

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