Common Types of Windshield Damage

December 17, 2018

Last updated on February 2, 2024

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When To Repair or Replace Your Windshield

Windshields are constantly under the threat of damage caused by debris from roads and other vehicles. The severity of the damage depends on the type of crack or chip in the windshield, and some require more immediate attention than others.

Cracked windshields can be dangerous to the driver as they can obscure visibility of the road. Familiarize yourself with the valuable information about different types of windshield cracks to better prepare for a windshield replacement or repair.

A good rule of thumb in regard to glass repair: “Stone breaks up to two inches in diameter and single line cracks up to 14-inches are repairable”, according to the National Windshield Repair Association.

There are six basic types of windshield cracks and chips. A windshield “crack” refers to a line on the glass that can vary in length-usually more detrimental than a chip. A chipped windshield is characterized by small damage, such as by rocks or other small debris.


These breaks are circular in shape and penetrate the first outer layer of glass, leaving a cone in the windshield with a deeper impact point.

Bullseye breaks can vary in severity, but it is important to get it inspected as soon as possible, as it could lead to further windshield damage.

Repair or Replacement?

Most of the time, bullseye breaks do not require an entire windshield replacement unless there is dirt in the head of the crack that cannot be removed, or if it is bigger than one inch in diameter.


Star breaks and cracks are also caused by debris, and are characterized by several cracks leading outwards from the impact point of damage on the windshield; tending to resemble a star.

Repair or Replacement?

If the cracks do not obstruct the driver’s field of vision and it is less than three inches in diameter, a repair might be possible. If not repaired immediately, these branching cracks can spread even further across the windshield and require a windshield replacement.


Combination cracks are breaks with multiple characteristics, such as a star within a bullseye crack. This crack usually comes with extensive damage, often leaving chunks of glass missing from the windshield.

Repair or Replacement?

Usually, these breaks are more serious and require windshield replacement, unless the impact point does not exceed two inches and is not near the edges of the windshield.

It is also important to determine if the break penetrated the second layer of the windshield.

Stress Crack:

This crack is caused by rapid temperature fluctuations-such as a cold car suddenly exposed to heat, or a hot car in the sun chilled by the air conditioner.

Stress cracks are usually straight and start at the edge of the windshield, and can easily compromise the integrity of the entire windshield.

Repair or Replacement?

Replacement may be in order for this type of crack for a couple of reasons. If the crack originates from the edge of the windshield, it can make the entire windshield weaker and could be detrimental to safety.

The crack may also extend to other parts of the windshield, obstructing the driver’s view. If the crack exceeds fourteen inches, it is time to replace.

Half Moon:

A half moon crack can be compared to a partial, or half bullseye. The damage from a half moon break is usually not as serious, and will not likely develop or spread new cracks.

Repair or Replacement?

Unless the crack is over an inch in diameter, a half moon can be repaired at a low cost.

Surface Pit:

These breaks are common and come along with general wear and tear of the windshield. These cracks are not deep, as they do not penetrate the second, plastic layer of the glass.

Repair or Replacement?

Surface pit breaks are relatively harmless unless the crack spreads or if the crack is over ⅛ diameters large.

However, if more than four surface pits appear on the windshield, it may be time for a replacement. A replacement may also be necessary if a new crack develops near (four inches) a previously repaired crack.


Always have a professional assess the damage to your windshield as soon as it occurs for your safety, as well as to stop any further damage from occurring. A windshield repair should be at a low cost if handled quickly and effectively

Keep up with windshield maintenance by inspecting your windshield closely to catch any cracks or chips-no matter how small

Do not try to fix a serious crack on your own-it could damage the glass even more and in turn require a replacement.

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