The windows on the side and rear of your car aren’t as prone to chips and cracks as the windshield, but they do get cracked and broken in accidents and break-ins.
When side or rear windows are broken, they usually have to be replaced. Below, we’ll look at the cost of replacing car windows and consider the pros and cons of DIY vs. professional car window replacement.
The side windows on your car do more than give your passengers a view. The windows keep dirt and fumes out of the passenger compartment, trap heat and air conditioning inside, and protect the interior of your vehicle and the occupants from rain and snow. Windows, while breakable, also provide some protection from theft, although that might be difficult to believe if your car was just vandalized.
Until you can arrange to have your car window replaced, you want to cover up the gaping hole in the window. It’s not going to look attractive, but it’ll help keep the dirt and weather out. Here’s what to do.
Contact your insurance company about the broken window as soon as possible. Whether your insurance will cover the auto glass replacement depends on the cause of the breakage and your insurance policy.
If the window was broken due to vandalism or theft, the repairs may be covered if your policy includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage covers non-collision damage to your car, such as damage caused by theft, hail storms, or floods. This type of coverage is optional, unless your lender requires it until you pay off your car loan, so some people drop the coverage when their car is older.
Comprehensive coverage usually has a deductible, and you will have to pay the full amount of the deductible before the insurance company will pay anything. If your deductible is $500 and the window replacement cost is $250, you’ll have to cover the entire cost yourself.
Some insurance companies also offer optional full glass coverage policies that cover window breakage.
If the side or rear window was damaged as part of an accident, the replacement should be covered under your collision coverage. If you have a deductible, you will have to pay the full amount of the deductible before the insurance company picks up the bill for car window replacement and other repairs of damage from the accident.
The cost of car window replacement depends on a variety of factors, including:
All these variables mean there is no easy answer to the cost question. For instance, the prices quoted for a Honda Civic include are about $150–$170 for side windows and $170–$190 for vent windows. However, the cost for replacing the rear window on the Civic varies widely:
If you want to install the window yourself, you may be able to save money by finding a used window. Check with local auto recyclers. You’ll probably have better luck locating a useable window if you have a model that sold well, making it easier to find a junked version of the same model.
If you’re comfortable working with tools, you may be able to replace the side windows in your car yourself, especially if your car doesn’t have power windows. It’s best to check the manual to learn about your specific model, but here are the general steps to replacing car window glass yourself:
For someone who has never replaced a car window, the process could take a couple of hours, and getting the new glass properly seated on the track can be a little fiddly and frustrating. And, of course, DIY projects don’t come with a guarantee, so if something doesn’t work, or your door starts rattling, you’ll have to take the door panels off again to fix the problem.
For ease and convenience, professional installation is the way to go. Choose a reputable automobile window service, so you can be confident the window is safely installed and will protect your passengers.
If the repair is covered by insurance, find out if the insurance company recommends any glass shops or has cost agreements with any shops.
If not, check reviews of local shops and pick out a few auto glass repair services to call.
Many car window replacement services have mobile units that will come to your home or office to install your window, so you don’t need to interrupt your busy day. Some also let you schedule the service online at your convenience.
Professional technicians will follow the same replacement process as a car owner would use, although they have the expertise to do the job faster. They may also have specialized tools that make it easier to pry off the panels. Most importantly, their work should come with a guarantee.
Technicians that specialize in auto window repair can replace a side car window in about an hour. They can also replace a cracked windshield in about an hour, although they generally recommend that the car remains sitting for at least one hour while the adhesives cure. Chipped windshields can sometimes be repaired in 30 minutes.
Tempered, or toughened, glass is created by being heated quickly and then cooled rapidly, resulting in glass that’s about four times as strong as regular glass. Tempered glass breaks into tiny pieces when it shatters, so people are less likely to be injured by flying shards of glass in a car accident.
Laminated glass is made of several layers of glass bonded together with a strong resin. It’s less likely to break than tempered glass. As of the 2018 model year, all new cars are required to have safety glass, such as laminated glass, on most side windows. The federal government made the rule as part of its efforts to reduce the number of people who die or are injured when ejected from their cars during rollover crashes. Laminated glass is more expensive than tempered glass, but it’s more difficult to break, so side car window replacements may be rarer in the future.