How to deal with damaged windscreens

How to deal with damaged windscreens
The windscreen of your car performs an important job - so if you're driving with a damaged windscreen you need to be aware of the laws and risks.

In this guide we will tell you all you need to know to help you prevent or sort your windscreen-related issues, before they become a big deal.


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How serious is a cracked windscreen?

The windscreen of your vehicle needs to be kept in good condition. A car windscreen does much more than act as protection from the wind and the rain - a clear and undamaged windscreen is vital for good vision.

A cracked windscreen can impede a driver's vision, making it difficult to see approaching traffic and other road hazards. Even minor scratches and small chips can cause problems; these can make dazzle and glare from sunlight and other car headlights worse worse.

A windscreen is also an essential part of the vehicle's structure. Not only that, an incorrectly fitted windscreen could interfere with the performance of the passenger airbag in a car.

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

finger pointing to crack in windscreen

If you notice even a small crack or chip in the windscreen of your vehicle, don't ignore it. The damage won't fix itself - a cracked windscreen is often the result of a chip that was left unrepaired and then grew into something more serious.

It is quicker - and cheaper - to get small damage repaired than a fully cracked windscreen, which will usually need to be completely replaced.

Best practice is to repair the chip or crack as swiftly as possible. Even if the damage is not in your line of vision, don't put off the repairs - a crack left unattended can quickly spread across the windscreen.

A chip could be repaired by injecting an epoxy or acrylic adhesive into it. This will seal the chip, preventing moisture and dirt getting into it. But larger cracks can't be so easily fixed - meaning you will then need more detailed cracked windscreen repair.

mechanic fixing damaged windscreen

While it's virtually impossible to prevent a stone from hitting your car, resulting in a cracked or chipped windscreen, there are some basic tips which can help with preventing windscreen cracks:

  • In colder temperatures, when windscreens are frozen, avoid pouring hot or boiling water on to the glass. Sudden changes in temperature can crack glass.
  • Replace windscreen wipers regularly to make sure they're operating properly and removing dirt and debris building up. This is recommended once a year.
  • Inspect your windscreen for any slight signs of damage and seeking immediate repair to avoid small cracks and chips becoming larger.
  • Drive carefully on road with poor surfaces and roads under repair to avoid stones and gravel hitting the windscreen.
  • Drive at a sensible distance from the vehicle in front

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MOT due?
MOT due?

Is it illegal to have a cracked windscreen?

Driving with a cracked windscreen can be considered a motoring offence. It could constitute use of a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition.

The Highway Code states that drivers should have a full view of the road ahead and glass should be maintained in a good condition. A cracked windscreen can obscure driver view - if a motorist is stopped, it could result in a fixed penalty of three points on their licence and a fine.

If you're driving with a cracked windscreen and you have an accident, you could be charged with a more serious driving offence. The accident could be your responsibility because you were driving with a damaged windscreen.

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Can a cracked windscreen fail an MOT?

Damage on your car's windscreen could result in an MOT fail.

If there is damage of 40mm in size, anywhere on the windscreen, your vehicle will fail its MOT. The crack will need to be fixed before being re-tested.

However, even a 10mm-sized damage on a cracked windscreen results in MOT failure if it falls within what is known as windscreen Zone A. This zone is the section of the windscreen that is 290mm wide and centred on the steeling wheel - in other words, directly in the driver's line of vision.

zones for fixing damaged windscreen

If your car's MOT is due and you have a cracked windscreen or a chipped windscreen, you must arrange for repairs - or the vehicle will not be deemed as roadworthy.

A cracked windscreen is a common problem for drivers but if it happens to you, just ensure it is repaired as soon as possible. Don't forget, window glass cover is included as standard in RAC Comprehensive Car Insurance and 5 Star RAC Car Insurance Plus.

team of mechanics replacing windscreen

Can I claim for windscreen replacement?

In short, yes you can claim for a windscreen replacment. However, there are exceptions to this and you should always speak to your insurer as soon as you notice anything.

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If your MOT is due or if you would like to book your vehicle in for a full car service, you can book online with your local RAC Approved Garage today.

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