Windshield Replacement Cost

How much does a windshield replacement cost? The short answer: It depends, but you can expect to pay anywhere from a low of around $160 for a cheap windshield replacement, to more than $500 for an OEM windshield glass replacement on some cars in some regions.

There are several factors that will affect the replacement cost. The city or region that you live in, the type of vehicle you own, and any special features that are built into the windshield (such as a radio antenna or rain sensor) will affect the cost. Of course, the quality of the replacement windshield and the quality of the installation will affect auto windshield replacement cost, also.

Location – Depending on where you live, there may be stiff competition for automotive windshield replacement jobs that drives the price down, or a lack of competition that allows installers to keep their prices a little higher.  Regional or local labor rates affect windshield replacement cost just like they do any other service.  In some areas, you may have to pay as much as $50 to $75 more than in other areas for the same car windshield replacement.
Type of Vehicle – In general, windshield glass replacement on a very popular, common passenger car will cost less than it will for a truck, van or SUV, and the cost for a lower-production high-end luxury car, sports car, or specialty vehicle can be significantly more expensive.  Since there is more demand for replacement windshields on the more common passenger cars, the manufacturers produce a higher volume of windshields for those vehicles, which lowers the cost of the replacement glass.

In general, a common passenger car windshield replacement is also the easiest to perform, and the installer has more experience with them and can do them a little faster.  They are smaller and easier to work with than on a truck, van or SUV.  There also will be more manufacturers that produce a replacement windshield for, say, a Toyota Camry than there are that produce one for a Porsche Cayenne.  More manufacturers means more competition and lower prices.

For the more common cars, there are also manufacturers who produce lower-quality, thinner replacement glass that costs less.  These manufacturers generally do not produce glass to fit the lower-production high-end vehicles.  Also, in certain vehicles there are moldings or trim pieces that are built in or get damaged during an auto windshield replacement, and that adds to the windshield replacement cost.
Special Features – Many cars on the road today have special features built into the windshield that will increase the auto windshield replacement cost.  Internal radio antennas have been in some windshields for a long time now, but today there are a number of other special features that you need to be aware of when getting a windshield replacement quote.

Some cars have automatic windshield wipers that come on in the rain, and the rain sensor is usually on the windshield.  Your windshield may have a light sensor that automatically turns on the headlights when it gets dark, or an auto-dimming mirror with a sensor on the windshield.  The windshield may have a heated wiper-park area that will melt ice that forms around the wipers and would prevent them from moving when you turn them on.  If you have a Heads-Up Display that projects gauge information onto the windshield, that feature requires a special coating that will increase windshield replacement cost.

In addition, some cars have a thicker inner layer of vinyl that decreases noise in the passenger compartment, and some cars require a special sort of non-conductive adhesive to prevent electrical interference with the internal antenna.  Before getting a windshield replacement quote, check to see if your vehicle has any of these features.

Quality of the Replacement Windshield – Do you really want a cheap windshield replacement?  Did you know that the windshield has several key safety benefits besides just keeping flying objects from hitting you in the face?  The windshield is a key structural component that helps prevent the roof from caving in on you during a rollover, and it serves as a backboard for the front air bags, as well as preventing occupants from being ejected from the vehicle in a crash.  It is also designed to absorb some of the impact force from a passenger’s head. A cheap windshield replacement may not perform its duty in the event of an accident.

That being said, there are several different quality levels of automotive windshield replacement glass.  Glass from a new-car dealership parts department will usually be an exact duplicate of the glass that was originally installed in the car, right down to the brand logo.

Next comes OE Manufacturer glass, which comes from a factory that produces windshields for the automakers.  It generally will be manufactured to exactly the same specifications as the original glass, just without the brand logo.

Then comes aftermarket glass, which varies widely in quality levels.  Some aftermarket glass is manufactured to meet the same quality standards as the original glass, but others take shortcuts and use lower-quality materials in order to provide a lower price.
Quality of the Installation – Bottom line: skilled professionals who provide superior results can charge more for any service, and car windshield replacement is no exception.  In any service industry, there are people that lack the proper training, are willing to take shortcuts to get a job done faster, or just don’t take pride in their workmanship.

These people will often charge less for automotive windshield replacement, but you may not be happy with the results when your windshield develops a water leak or wind noise, or if the windshield pops out in an accident because proper installation procedures were not followed.

There are several different organizations that offer windshield glass replacement certification.  Look for installers that have credentials from any of the following:  National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), National Glass Association (NGA, CAGT or CMAGT), Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS), or the Independent Glass Association (IGA).
Just remember the old adage, “You get what you pay for” rings true in so many aspects of real life, and a cheap windshield replacement is many times not the best choice. All these factors affect windshield replacement cost, and they are all things to keep in mind when getting a windshield replacement quote.


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