Windshield Repair and Replacement: Laws, Regulations and Standards

Driving with a broken windshield is often not safe, so repairing any windshield damage as quickly as possible is absolutely essential

Now, there are several ways to deal with a cracked or chipped windshield. Here are some of the intricacies of dealing with both minor and serious damage to your vehicle’s windshield.

Windshield repair

Depending on the type of damage that your windshield has suffered, it might be possible to repair it. Windshield repair is a fast, safe and cost-efficient way to ensure that your windshield is in a good operational state. A good repair specialist should be able to fill in, cure and then polish a chipped windshield in about half an hour to an hour tops. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, chances are that your insurer will pay all associated fees as well.

Now, every windshield replacement job must adhere to certain safety and quality standards. These are:

1. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205 (or FMVSS 205 for short) addresses windshield glazing standards. In simple terms, this piece of regulation sets very precise standards for auto glass transparency and strength.

2. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 212 (or FMVSS 212 for short) addresses windshield mounting standards. This means that the windshield must be able to withstand certain amounts of damage/force during an accident.

Windshield replacement

If your windshield has a large chip or a crack that’s more than 2.5 – 3 inches long, most windshield repair companies will recommend having the entire windshield replaced. There are many different cases that may require full windshield replacement, including:

  • A chip located directly in the driver’s line of sight. Since most repair jobs leave a sort of “blurry” looking impression on the glass (which can cause slight distortions), it is considered unsafe to repair any cracks or dents that can affect the driver’s vision.
  • Minor windshield damage that’s been left unrepaired for a long time can cause serious long-term issues (fills up with dust, spreads, etc) and is very difficult to repair.
  • Cracks along the sides of a windshield are extremely dangerous because they tend to spread quickly. Most repair shops will insist on replacing such windshields.

Now, getting your windshield replaced is not as straightforward as you may think. There are various safety standards that all replacement technicians must adhere to and you must ensure that your chosen repair company follows these standards to the letter. See this article to learn more about current windshield replacement rules and regulations.


There are two types of regulation: those that concern driving-safe windshield conditions and laws as to how and where windshield replacement has to be carried out. These regulations vary greatly from one US state to another and there are states with no regulation at all! To learn more, see this article about windshield-related regulation by State.

As you can see, windshield repair and replacement is not as straightforward as choosing the cheapest provider in your area. You have to ensure that any work done adheres to all existing safety standards and that any materials used are of the highest quality.

Another thing that is not always clear when it comes to windshield replacement is who is responsible for damange. Tow trucks is one of the most common causes of cracked windshields. Are tow truck drivers liable for damages to your car?

While this may seem cumbersome and unnecessary, there really is a need for more consistency and accountability in the windshield repair/replacement industry. Furthermore, some insurance providers will only pay out when using certain repair technicians/companies, so knowing your way around these rules can both improve your safety on the road and save you money!

Windshield Replacement