Other drivers are often the cause of many headaches, but road debris can be just as dangerous. When a piece of debris is kicked up into your windshield, you can find yourself dealing with damage that's frustrating, dangerous, and potentially tricky to correct. It then becomes your responsibility to decide on the next course of action.

Below, you'll find a guide which should help you decide between repairing and replacing a piece of auto glass. Not all damage can be easily patched, but some can be handled more simply than you realize. Diagnosing those issues and determining which is which should allow you the peace of mind of knowing when exactly you'll be back on the road and in good shape.


A piece of debris which punctures your glass completely is likely to be scary for a couple of reasons. The risk from flying rocks and glass and the potential for the expansion of damage are likely to send a shock to your system, and a crack that goes through and through your windshield is also likely to necessitate a replacement.

However, if there's a layer of glass remaining at the bottom of the damage, you may be able to patch the crack. Most modern glass patching kits require bonding to existing glass, so what seems like an insignificant remnant may indeed play a vital role in securing your windshield.


It may run counterintuitive to your expectations, but a centrally located crack may indeed be easier to patch. As mentioned above, bonding to existing glass is important, and as long as it stays out of your line of sight, a crack in the center of a piece of glass is therefore easier to secure.

Cracks around the edges, however, are far more difficult to handle. Not only is there less glass to bond to surrounding a perimeter crack, but there may also be greater risk of structural failure as the crack and its repair age.


Most debris damage creates a bullseye-shaped impression in the surface of a piece of glass which auto glass companies are used to seeing. Indeed, tempered auto glass is designed to create this shape, as it allows damage to stay localized and contained. Long cracks with many branches can be harder to handle, as they require more fill and will spread more rapidly throughout the glass. These cracks, even if not deep, may end up requiring a full glass replacement.