My car windscreen is chipped. What should I do?

A chipped or cracked windscreen is a common mishap, but don’t ignore the problem – the consequences of not getting it fixed could be a real headache.

A chipped or cracked windscreen is a common mishap, but don’t ignore the problem – the consequences of not getting it fixed could be a real headache.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
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Posted 16 JANUARY 2020

Dealing with a chipped or cracked windscreen

A chip can be there on your windscreen for months, even years, and then suddenly turn into a crack – perhaps while you’re driving. Changes in temperature, like excessive heat or winter driving conditions can be a factor. But sometimes a chip will crack with no obvious cause.

That’s one good reason to get your windscreen repaired or replaced as soon as possible, but there are a few others too…

Windscreen chip MOT rules

Windscreen damage is part of the official MOT, and if you have a significant chip or crack that hasn’t been repaired, you could fail the MOT test.

If there’s a damaged area larger than 10mm in the driver’s line of sight, it’s an MOT fail.

The driver’s line of sight is specified as a vertical section of the windscreen, 290mm wide, starting from the centre of the steering wheel and going up to where the wiper blades can reach. Basically, it’s the glass in front of you when you look straight ahead while driving. Outside the driver’s line of sight, damaged areas can be up to 40mm wide and still pass an MOT.

The MOT inspection also looks at the condition of the windscreen as a whole, as well as the front side windows and the rear visibility.

If you have a chip that’s been repaired with epoxy or resin, it won’t count as damage, as long as it doesn’t affect your visibility of the road.

Can you drive with a cracked windscreen?

Driving with a broken windscreen is dangerous. A crack can seriously limit your view of the road, and that could lead to accidents. This is especially true in bright sunshine, when a crack or chip could catch the light and dazzle you.

The Highway Code states that vehicles  must be in a ‘roadworthy’ condition, which includes the windows and windscreen. If you’re driving with a cracked windscreen, you could find yourself with up to three penalty points and a fine of £2,500, if you’re stopped by the police.

These rules apply even if you have a current MOT certificate.

Make sure you’re covered for windscreen damage

Chips and stone damage can happen to anyone, and it can be expensive to get them repaired. Especially if your car’s windscreen is fitted with Advanced Driving Assistance technology (ADAS) sensors, which can make them much more costly to replace.

Having windscreen cover on your car insurance could take some of the cost and hassle out of it.

This limits the amount you’ll pay, even if your windscreen needs to be completely replaced. It could make the process easier too, as some repair companies will work directly with your insurance provider to sort out the financial details.

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