How Long Does It Take to Replace a Windshield?

Image Credit: Charlotte Auto Glass

Image Credit: Charlotte Auto Glass

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Windshield?


How long does it take to replace a windshield? What do you do after getting your windshield replaced? You’re reading the right post if those are the questions on your mind.

Here, there’s a section that discusses the various factors that affect the time it would take to perform a windshield replacement. This will be preceded by subheadings explaining why and when a timely windshield replacement is necessary.

You wouldn’t want to miss out on the information we’ve gathered about vehicle windshield laws, the dangers of not following replacement instructions properly, and more.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Windshield?

It can take about 60 minutes to replace a windshield in most cases.

The process can even be completed in half an hour or less, depending on the skill level of the technicians.

Remember to factor in the time (1-2 hours) it would take to wait after the replacement before it’s considered OK to drive the car.

How Long Does It Take to Replace a Windshield?

The common time it would take to replace a windshield is 30-60 minutes, so it’s easy not to procrastinate going to the technician’s auto shop for an installation. This is for those that think a windshield replacement takes many hours or even a day. It isn’t as expensive as you think either. Consider the short duration mentioned earlier.

Go to the technician’s auto repair shop immediately after you discover a crack or chip on your windshield. Treat the situation as an emergency. Better still, contact a tow service to convey the car to a repair shop as a safety precaution. Driving a vehicle with a cracked or chipped windshield is a risk not worth taking.

Factors that affect the time of windshield replacement include the following:

Temperature and Humidity

The cooler the temperature, the lengthier the installation time will be. On the other hand, the replacement duration will be shorter with a higher level of humidity. This is because high humidity helps the adhesive or glue to dry/harden faster.

The Make and Model of the Car

A newer model vehicle might have several sophisticated connections involving wires and sensors attached to its windshield (e.g., temperature monitors). The technician would have to take time to cautiously disconnect those parts from the windshield’s panel and reconnect them after the replacement is completed. Note that various car makes and models have different configurations regarding the parts of your car connected to the windshield’s panel.

The Type of Adhesive Used

The type of glue or adhesive utilized during the installation is an important factor to consider when waiting for the drive-away time. This is because some dry/bond/harden faster than others such as the use of industry-standard Urethane windshield adhesives. They are one of the strongest products and they dry very fast. Keep this in mind if the timing of the job is crucial to you.

Other Factors (Number of Customers, Availability of Parts, and Staff)

How many people are before you in line to get your car’s windshield fixed? Ensure that you book your appointment as early as possible. It may take days for you to get your turn.

Is the specific spare part for your car readily available to be used as a replacement? The unavailability of new windshields and the tools that can be used to install them can delay your appointment. The repair shop’s in-house windshield glass may be available. However, the best option for your car would be an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) glass.

Also, think about how many technicians are going to be handling the replacement as well as their skill level. Will you be doing a DIY windshield replacement with help from another technician? These are questions you should ask when it comes to the probable timing for replacing a windshield.

What to Do After Getting Your Windshield Replaced?

Do the following after the installation of the windshield:

  • Wait for the recommended drive-away time to be reached.
  • Clean (not wash) out the interior and exterior areas of your car.
  • Open the windows to aid in the bonding/drying of the adhesives.
  • Don’t discard the retention tape yet until a satisfactory time of removal is reached.
  • You shouldn’t take the vehicle to a car wash yet, nor should you use a power washer for the time being.
  • Try not to put needless stress on the new windshield.

Dangers of Not Following Windshield Replacement Directions

Complications may arise if you use your car before the drive-away time is reached. The adhesives may not have dried completely, and driving the vehicle at that moment would be a pointless risk that may cost you dearly.

The windshield might get displaced if an accident or collision occurs, leading to its detachment. That’s installation expenses wasted, apart from the possibility of injuries or fatalities. The ejection of the driver and passenger through the windshield space is also another safety concern to worry about.

Windshields add to the structural support of a car’s root. Without them, the root can collapse onto the driver and passengers. What about the windshield’s ricochet support for the airbags? Effective airbag deployment is dependent on a non-defective windshield.

Why and When Do You Need to Replace Your Broken Windshield?

Impaired Vision

Your view of the road ahead or behind can get obstructed by a cracked or chipped windshield. This would increase the probability of a collision or accident. You’d be putting yourself, the passengers, and/or other members of the road in danger if you continue driving with such a safety risk.

Ejection from the Vehicle

A windshield serves as a protective barrier during an accident or collision. It helps prevent you from getting thrown out of the car. Sometimes, your seatbelt and airbags may malfunction or fail at that moment. It’s your windshield that will be the last hope to keep you inside the vehicle. And, of course, there’s also the possibility of you forgetting to put on your seatbelt and airbag.

A chipped or cracked windshield has weakened structural integrity and would be more prone to additional damage. It may not be strong enough to keep you in the car during a collision.

Airbag Malfunctioning

Airbags rebound off a vehicle’s windshield to push towards the driver and passengers when automatically released after an impact. Such a force could shatter a cracked or chipped windshield. A damaged windshield can cause the airbags to deploy improperly during a collision, making them ineffective.

Ensure that the airbags are set for automatic deployment before you start driving. Suppose the airbag or SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) warning light comes on. In that case, it means that there’s a problem with the airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioner system, or front passenger occupant classification system.  You should use an airbag scanner to run a diagnosis to find out what’s wrong with the SRS. It is advisable to get a scan tool specifically made for your car brand, as it is designed to perform better with your airbag system than the universal ones. For example, if you’re driving Ford, then you should go for a trusted Ford scan tool.

As asserted earlier, your car’s windshield is a safety feature. You have no choice but to ensure your windshields are always in good condition since the law states that all safety devices in a vehicle should be fully functional. Therefore a replacement should be done when the need arises. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) has guidelines for windshield replacements.

When Is Windshield Replacement Required?

Consider the following factors in deciding whether or not it’s time to replace a windshield:

  • If the crack or chip is located at the edge of the windshield, meaning that it poses a safety risk.
  • If the crack is longer than 6 inches or the chip is bigger than 175 millimeters.
  • A case where there are too many (more than three) cracks or chips.
  • A case where the crack or chip is too old to be repaired.

A technician can inspect your windshield and tell you if it needs to be replaced/repaired and why. You will also be told the estimated time the job will take place.


Now you know the period it will take to replace a windshield is dependent on certain factors, but what’s more important is that you wait for the recommended drive-away time before using the car to avoid complications. It’s just a few hours of waiting (2-3 hours) from the installation to the drying of the adhesives.

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