A cracked or broken car window is something you’ll want to get fixed right away. Hopefully, however, it isn’t a regular occurrence. That means that for most of us, we won’t be able to compare prices with previous jobs. So how do we know whether we’re getting a good deal?
If you’re asking yourself, “How much does it cost to replace a car window?” – you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to walk you through the factors that will make a difference to the price.
That doesn’t mean we’ll be able to give you an exact cost for your vehicle. But it will help you determine whether the price you’re being quoted is fair.
Ready? Let’s get started.
1. Do you need to get your window replaced?
First of all, it’s worth checking that you really need to replace your window. Of course it’s essential that you have good visibility while you’re driving. But small-scale damage like a crack or chip may not mean that your whole window has to go.
If you catch minor chips and cracks quickly, a qualified technician can stop them becoming a bigger problem. And this will be a far less expensive proposition than replacing the whole window.
If your chip is an inch or less across, it may be suitable for repair. But if it’s on your windshield, it shouldn’t be within an inch of the edge. And anything that is within the driver’s line of sight should not be bigger than 0.4 inches.
To repair a chip or crack, the mechanic will begin by thoroughly cleaning the damaged part of the glass. They will then force a clear resin into the damaged area, filling it up. When dry, the resin is almost the same as the glass in the rest of your window.
Finally, the mechanic will check that the repaired area has a smooth finish. If the repair is on your windscreen or rear window, this will ensure your wipers will pass over it smoothly. And it will prevent any damage that might otherwise occur to your wiper blades.
Bear in mind that a crack may still be visible after it has been filled. Consider the position of the crack before deciding how to proceed. If there’s any danger of it being a distraction while you’re driving, bite the bullet and replace the window.
2. Is your car window electric or manual?
There are two main factors that will influence the cost of replacing your car window. The first is the window itself. The second is the cost of the labor involved in removing your old window and fitting a new one.
If the damage is to an opening window, labor costs can vary significantly. The main thing that will make the difference is whether the window is electric or manually operated.
A manual version is fairly straightforward. The mechanic will be working with the window, a window regulator and the components inside the door panel.
If you’ve got power windows, though, he or she will have far more elements to take into account. There’s the wiring needed to operate the mechanism. Then there are the relays and the power locks. The window regulator is far more complicated too.
Then there’s the door panel, which will be much heavier if you have power windows. And there’ll also be less space for the mechanic to work in.
All of that adds up to a more time-consuming job. And that means it will be more expensive.
The good news is that in most cases, none of these extra components should need to be replaced. If your repair shop has included new versions in your quote, ask them why they are necessary.
3. What about labor costs for replacing a windshield?
If it’s your windshield that’s been damaged, your mechanic won’t have to worry about any moving parts. And whatever kind of car you have, the process for replacing the windshield is pretty much the same.
To begin with, the mechanic will make sure the car interior and bodywork is protected during the replacement. He or she will place protective wraps around the glass to stop any fragments coming free and causing damage.
The next step is to take away the glue or seals attaching the windshield to the car body. Then the window frame is painted with primer. At this stage, work will pause briefly while the primer dries.
When it’s dry, the mechanic paints the frame with strong bonding glue. After that, the windshield is ready to be put into position. This is the most time-consuming part of the process. The glue will need to be left for an hour to fully set. You won’t be able to drive the car again until that time is up.
An experienced mechanic will be able to complete the whole process in about an hour and a half. That’s the amount of time you should see reflected in the quote for labor.
4. What model is your car?
The next factor that will affect the price of your replacement window is the model of your car. Generally speaking, the more expensive the car when new, the more expensive the replacement will be. Replacements for luxury cars can cost more than three times as much as those for economy models.
Size matters too. The larger the window, the costlier it will be to replace it.
If you go to a specialist dealership, you’ll probably find that you pay more. But check the terms of your warranty and insurance. You may only be covered if the work is done by an authorized dealer.
If your car is a rare or discontinued model, expect the repair to be more expensive. The repair shop will have to spend time tracking down a replacement part. And that time will be reflected in the price.
5. What options does the repair shop offer?
It’s worth remembering that you may not need to replace your window with a brand new one. Check what options your repair shop offers. Some will only replace with new parts, but others will offer the option of second-hand windows. The latter will be far more cost-effective.
Make sure, though, that you’re going to be getting a new window that’s in perfect condition. Second-hand shouldn’t mean flawed. Lots of vehicles that have been written off through accidents will have undamaged windows that can be reused.
6. How much competition is there locally?
The reality is that prices will be affected by competition. If you’re in an area where there’s only one repair shop, you’re unlikely to have much choice about cost. But if you’re in an area with thriving competition, prices are likely to be keener.
The speed with which you need a repair may also influence costs. If you have a damaged windshield, you’ll need it fixed quickly. That may mean paying more to bump your car up the queue.
If it’s your side window that’s damaged, on the other hand, a repair is less time sensitive. And that may mean you’re able to spend less too.
7. Do you have insurance?
Check whether your car insurance covers the cost of replacing damaged windows. Policies may have this as standard, or you may need to purchase it as an optional extra.
Of course, by the time you need a repair, it will be too late to change your insurance! But if you’re about to renew, it’s worth considering the cost of windshield insurance if this isn’t provided as standard.
If you’ve got a high excess, you may otherwise need to pay the whole cost out of your own pocket. The relatively minor additional cost of extra cover may be a price worth paying.
8. Check you know what you’re getting
If at all possible, get two or three quotes to replace your car window before you proceed. That will give you a basis for comparing the overall costs.
But it’s also important to make sure that you know exactly what each quote covers. Will you be receiving a new window or a second-hand one? How much will you be charged for labor? Are you being asked to pay for any mysterious additional components?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there’s something in the quote that you don’t understand, ask the repair shop to explain. Any reputable company should be happy to do so.
And check when the repair shop will be able to carry out the work. You may need to be prepared to compromise on price if you need the replacement made quickly.
So to sum up…
A number of different factors will determine how much it costs to repair your car window. These can be divided into labor and parts.
If you need to replace a power window, expect it to cost more than a manually operated one. And larger windshields for high-end models will be pricier than smaller ones for economy cars.
Check whether small chips and cracks are suitable for repair before proceeding with a replacement. See whether your insurance will cover the cost. And try to get a few quotes before you choose a repair shop.
We hope that’s helped clarify how much it costs to replace a car window. If you’ve had to do this yourself, please comment and share your experience.