Help and advice

Motoring Advice

What to Do If You Have a Cracked Windscreen

Chip in Windscreen

Published 5 October 2023

A cracked windscreen can be a real pain. It can distort your vision, making it difficult to drive safely. And it can also be a safety hazard, especially if the crack is large or in a critical location.

So what should you do if you have a cracked windscreen? In this article, we will cover everything you need to know, from how to stop the crack from spreading to whether or not your car insurance covers the damage.

We will also discuss how to protect your windscreen from damage in the first place, and what to expect if you need to have your windscreen repaired or replaced.

So read on to learn everything you need to know about cracked windscreens.

What causes a cracked or chipped windscreen?

There are a number of things that can cause a cracked or chipped windscreen, including:

  • Stones and other road debris: Stones and other objects kicked up from the road can hit your windscreen and cause chips or cracks. This is especially common on roads with poor surfaces or heavy traffic.
  • Sudden changes in temperature: Extreme changes in temperature can cause the glass in your windscreen to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks. This is more likely to happen in cold weather.
  • Vandalism: Unfortunately, windscreens can also be damaged by vandals. This could involve throwing stones, scratching the glass, or even trying to break the windscreen altogether.


How serious is a cracked windscreen?

The seriousness of a cracked windscreen depends on a number of factors, including the size and location of the crack, as well as the type of car you drive.

In general, a small crack on the edge of the windscreen is less serious than a large crack in the centre of the windscreen. This is because the windscreen is designed to absorb impact, and a crack on the edge is less likely to compromise the structural integrity of the glass.

However, even a small crack can be a safety hazard, as it can distort your vision and make it difficult to see clearly. Additionally, a crack can spread over time, especially if it is not repaired promptly.

If you have a cracked windscreen, it is important to have it assessed by a professional as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on whether the crack can be repaired or whether the windscreen needs to be replaced.


How do I stop a chip or a crack in my windshield from spreading?

If you notice a crack in your windshield, there are a few things you can do to stop it from spreading:

  • Clean the crack: Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the crack. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could weaken the glass.
  • Apply a temporary repair: You can purchase a temporary windshield repair kit from most auto parts stores. These kits can help to seal the crack and prevent it from spreading.
  • Have the crack repaired professionally: If the crack is large or in a critical location, it is important to have it repaired professionally. A professional windshield repair technician will be able to inject a resin into the crack to seal it and strengthen the glass.


Is it legal to drive with a cracked windscreen?

In most countries, it is illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen. The specific laws vary, but in general, a cracked windscreen is considered to be a safety hazard if it is more than a certain size or if it is located in the driver’s field of vision.

In the UK, for example, it is illegal to drive with a crack that is more than 10mm long or that is within 75mm of the edge of the windscreen.


Can a chipped or cracked windscreen fail an MOT?

Yes, a chipped or cracked windscreen can fail an MOT. In the UK, the MOT tester will check the windscreen for any damage that could impair the driver’s vision. If the chip or crack is more than 40mm in size, anywhere on the windscreen, your vehicle will fail its MOT.  If the crack is located in the driver’s field of vision, the car will fail the MOT.


Does my car insurance cover damage to my windscreen?

Whether or not your car insurance covers chips and other damage to your windscreen depends on your policy. Many comprehensive car insurance policies do cover windscreen damage, but there may be an excess that you have to pay.

It is important to check your policy to see what level of cover you have. You should also be aware that some insurers may have exclusions for certain types of windscreen damage, such as damage caused by vandalism.


Can a Cracked Windscreen Be Repaired?

Windscreen repair

Yes, a cracked windscreen can be repaired, but it depends on the size and location of the crack. Small cracks on the edge of the windscreen can often be repaired using a resin injection kit. Larger cracks, or cracks in the centre of the windscreen, may need to be replaced.

If you are unsure whether your windscreen can be repaired, it is important to have it assessed by a professional. They will be able to advise you on the best course

Back to all help and advice articles