Every windshield is going to get chips and damage over time unless you park your car and never use it.  So how to deal with windshield cracks and chips?  When to fix and when to replace?  These questions are pretty easy to answer, and the policy depends on several factors that all should influence your final decision.

So, for windshield cracks and chips, the first question needs to be—how old is your windshield?  If it is already well pitted from more than a year of constant use, you probably should just replace it when you get the first big chip or any size crack.  If you don’t use your vehicle that much, then it will take two or three years to get sufficiently pitted to refract light and make seeing out of your windshield difficult in direct glare like a sunset or oncoming headlights.

The next question concerns the crack or chip itself.  If the crack is longer than two inches, you shouldn’t repair it; you should replace it.  If the chips are bigger than a dime or are directly in your line of sight, replace, don’t repair.  Some reasons for this policy are your field of vision—anything in the direct line of sight can impair your vision, and on wet roads or in heavy storms, you need a clear field.

The other reason is that your windshield is slightly curved to make breaking into it difficult—the arch is the strongest shape there is.  But once that arch is damaged, it loses strength, and you don’t want to be protected by a damaged piece of glass. You want the best protection you can get in an accident.

When you are looking at windshield cracks and chips, think of the overall safety of the driver and passengers.  With normal insurance, replacing a windshield is a good option to choose to stay safe.