You’ve got a chip in your screen. But is a windscreen chip repair legal? And will one do away with the need for you to get a replacement windscreen? Read on to find out.
Is a windscreen chip repair legal?
The simple answer to that is it depends on where the chip is. There are four zones to a car windscreen, handily called zones A, B, C and D. Zone A is directly in front of the driver and about the width of a steering wheel.
Zone B is split into two. It’s either side of zone A and the parts the windscreen wiper covers. For zone C, look to the area in front of the passenger covered by their wiper; zone D is around the edge but with a 3cm exclusion area around where the screen and car meet.
Each of these zones has a size limit for damage that can be repaired.
What are the size limits for repair?
In zone A, a chip can only have a diameter of 1cm. For zone B it’s 1.5cm, zone C it’s 2.5cm and zone D is 4cm. If the damage exceeds these sizes, the windscreen must be replaced.
Be warned, even small chips expand rapidly. The windscreen is a structural part of the car and movement over bumps make it vibrate and twist. This causes the weakened areas around the chip to expand and rapidly turn into a crack.
As soon as this happens, the windscreen will have to be replaced.
What to do if you have a chipped windscreen
First off, find your insurance paperwork and check that you’ve got windscreen cover. Most policies include this. Then call your insurer. They will have a preferred repairer. If you use them, they will come to repair your windscreen and bill the insurer direct.
How are repairs carried out?
Repairs are usually done by mobile repairers who can come to your house or work. First of all they thoroughly clean the chip. Then they inject a special resin. Once they’re sure this has filled all the damage, the resin is heated so that it cures and forms a bond with the windscreen. And that’s about it.
Why have a repair done?
As we’ve seen, a repair could well prevent you needing a replacement windscreen which will save you money.
And cars with windscreen chips in zone A can fail their MOT.
How much will a windscreen repair cost?
That depends on your insurance. Some policies have a small excess to pay for windscreen repairs. Other insurers won’t charge you anything as long as you use one of their approved repairers.
For windscreen replacement you may have to pay your insurance excess cost. Neither job should mean you lose your no claims discount. But it is technically a claim, so best to mention it when you renew your insurance. It won’t bother most insurers.
It’s worth making sure your car insurance covers windscreen repairs as even a small repair can cost upwards of £150.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.