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Windscreen chip repair: What to do

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Windscreen damage is an unwelcome occurrence, but it’s important to take prompt action to fix it. Neglecting seemingly minor windscreen chips can lead to more extensive and dangerous cracks. Fortunately, repairing small chips and cracks is quick and affordable if you act fast.

This article explains precisely what to do if you discover any windscreen damage. We cover common causes, safety implications, costs, car insurance, repairs and damage control. Read on to learn how to properly deal with windscreen chips and cracks to keep yourself safe on the roads.

What causes a crack or chip in a windscreen?

There are a few common causes of windscreen chips and cracks:

  • Loose gravel or stones – Debris kicked up by other vehicles is the most frequent cause of chips. Stones are flung up and collide with windscreens
  • Low branches – Driving under low-hanging tree branches can cause them to scrape and chip the windscreen. Always remain alert on country roads
  • Accidents and collisions – Major cracks are often caused by accidents, but even minor bumps and collisions can chip a windscreen
  • Wear and tear – Over time, continual wear and tear from driving can weaken windscreens, making them prone to chips and cracks
  • Temperature changes – Sudden temperature changes can sometimes lead to small stress cracks as the windscreen expands and contracts

Even a small chip from a loose stone can spread into a much longer crack across your windscreen. When a chip occurs, it weakens the structural integrity of the glass, making it vulnerable to further cracking.

Is it safe to drive with a chipped windscreen?

It is not recommended to drive with a chipped or cracked windscreen. Even a small chip can begin spreading across the width of the windscreen when you drive. Vibrations and stresses from the moving vehicle act on the compromised glass.

Larger cracks severely reduce visibility and increase the chances of the windscreen shattering entirely while driving. This sprays glass shards inside and outside the car, potentially causing loss of control and injury. Cracked windscreens are especially dangerous in accidents, as the airbag force can cause the compromised screen to burst.

To prevent injuries and ensure road safety, repair a chipped or cracked windscreen as soon as possible. Avoid driving until you can have it assessed and fixed.

Will my car fail its MOT with a chipped windscreen?

Yes, certain windscreen chips and cracks will lead to an MOT failure. According to MOT rules, damage in the driver’s line of sight exceeding 10mm is considered a dangerous fault. Any significant chip, crack, or scratch in this critical vision area means an automatic test failure.

Chips or cracks over 40mm can also fail an MOT if they are located anywhere else in the windscreen’s swept area (a rectangular section covering almost the entire surface of the windscreen). As a rule of thumb, any damage you can easily spot from the driver’s seat needs to be repaired to pass the MOT windscreen check.

How much does windscreen repair cost?

The cost of fixing a chipped or cracked windscreen depends on a few factors:

  • Chip repairs – Simple chip repairs typically cost around £50-£60. This involves resin injection to close chips up to 10mm
  • Full windscreen replacement (required for cracks) – Replacing the entire windscreen ranges from £200 for basic models up to £1,000 or more for high-end cars

Chips can usually be fixed by booking a standard repair appointment. Additional charges may apply for same-day emergency or out-of-hours repairs by mobile units. Overall, repairing minor windscreen damage is more affordable than replacing the whole screen. However, a cracked windscreen, no matter how minor the damage looks, will require a full replacement because cracks undermine the structural integrity of the glass, making it unsafe.

Will my insurance cover windscreen chip repair?

Most fully comprehensive policies include windscreen cover as standard. This means repairs for chips and replacements due to damage are covered up to a certain limit, often £1,000 or more per claim.

However, claiming for a windscreen repair or replacement often requires paying your policy excess, which can be a minimum of £100. In some cases, it is cheaper to pay for a minor chip repair out of pocket rather than claiming and affecting your no-claims bonus.

Always contact your insurer first to check if you have windscreen cover. Confirm policy terms such as any excess payments and how a claim would impact your no-claims discount. For minor chips, you may decide to foot the £50-£60 bill yourself without filing an insurance claim.


Here are tips to stop windscreen chip damage from spreading:

  • Park the car and avoid driving it with the chip. Driving stresses the glass and expands cracks
  • Arrange a chip repair as soon as possible before the damage can worsen
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes such as hot washes in freezing weather
  • Check your screen after any trip for new cracks stemming from the chip
  • Apply transparent repair tape firmly over the chip if driving before getting it fixed


Small chips can quickly turn into major cracks across the entire windscreen. Early intervention by a repair technician can seal the chip and prevent costly windscreen replacement down the line. 

Can I repair a windscreen chip myself?

Technically, DIY chip repair kits are available. However, professional repairs have a much higher success rate, provide safety checks and give warranties. Amateur repairs often fail to fully seal damage, risking cracks reopening over time.

Professional windscreen repairs using proper resin provides the best results. Leave it to skilled windscreen technicians, especially if the chip is in a very hard-to-reach area.

How can I protect my windscreen from chips and cracks?

Take these steps to help protect your windscreen:

  • Avoid following vehicles too closely, especially large trucks throwing up debris
  • Trim back overhanging trees or branches near roads and driveways
  • When parking, position your car away from loose gravel, which can flick up. Face the front away from traffic
  • Regularly wash your car to clear bugs, dirt or stones that can get flung up while driving
  • Check your windscreen wipers’ condition and replace them if the blades are worn. Poor clearing leaves more particles on the glass, which could cause chips
  • Consider installing a protective glass coating or film as added shielding against stone strikes

While windscreen damage is sometimes unavoidable, taking preventative steps minimises the likelihood and severity of chips and cracks during everyday driving.


Safely fixing a chipped windscreen straight away is essential to avoid dangerous cracks or shattering. Monitor for any glass damage and book affordable repairs promptly. Pay out of pocket for minor chip repairs if your insurance excess is more expensive than the cost of the work. With early intervention, windscreen chips and cracks can be dealt with easily.

Frequently asked questions about chipped windscreens

Ideally, you should get a chip repaired within a day or two, before it can spread into a crack. Leaving it longer than a few days risks more serious damage.

It is not recommended to drive with any windscreen chip or crack. Even minor damage can expand and shatter the windscreen. Get chips repaired before driving the car.

Yes, many windscreen specialists offer mobile repair units that can fix chips and cracks at your home or workplace for convenience.

Most comprehensive policies include windscreen cover, but check your policy documents for limitations. Fully replacing a windscreen often requires paying your excess.

A simple chip repair takes around 30 minutes at a service centre. Mobile repairs may take slightly longer.

Nick Jones

Editor in Chief

Nick Jones is a highly experienced consumer journalist and editor, who has been writing and producing content for print and online media for over 25 years.

He has worked at some of the UK’s leading publishers including Future Publishing, Highbury Entertainment, and Imagine Publishing, with publications as diverse as Homebuilding & Renovating, TechRadar, and Creative Bloq, writing and editing content for audiences whose interests include history, computing, gaming, films, and science. He’s also produced a number of podcasts in the technology, science, gaming, and true crime genres.

Nick has also enjoyed a highly successful career in content marketing, working in a variety of topics such as health, technology, and finance, with market-leading global companies including Cisco, Pfizer, Santander, and Virgin Media.

Now the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Advisor, Nick is involved in all aspects of the site’s content, where his expertise in finance, technology, and home products informs every article that’s published on-site. He takes a hands-on approach with our VPN content, penning a number of the articles himself, and verifying that everything we publish in this topic is accurate.

Whatever the area of interest he’s worked in, Nick has always been a consumer champion, helping people find the best deals and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision.