It’s a horrible, sinking feeling to walk out to your vehicle and see a pile of broken glass next to the door. Whether it’s because of an accident, vandalism, or extreme weather, if your window is broken you’ll want it replaced as soon as possible. If you’re ever in this situation, here’s how much it costs to replace a car window.

What Are Car Windows Made Out Of?

Car windows on the side and back are made out of tempered glass, while windshields are typically made of laminated glass. (We also broke down the cost of replacing a windshield , which is a different process than replacing a side or rear widow.) Tempered glass is a type of glass that is four times stronger than regular glass thanks to its careful engineering. Tempered glass goes through an annealing process during which it is cooled down very slowly. This process means if a car window breaks, it will break into small pieces to help prevent injuries. 

Do I Need to Replace My Broken Car Window Right Away?

If you’re in an accident, your car windows will likely be replaced with your car’s body work. However, there are circumstances where you might choose to not replace your window right away. However, trying a temporary fix with plastic or duct tape can carry some risks, including:
  • Your interior can get soaked if it rains.
  • Your car is more easily broken into through the broken window. 
  • You won’t be protected by glass in the event of an accident.
While you might have to delay replacing your window for a couple of days, you should aim to replace your car window as quickly as possible.

Car Window Repair Vs. Replace

If you have a small chip or a small crack in your window, you can likely get the window repaired instead of fully replaced. In some states, you can receive a ticket for having a chipped window if it’s obstructing your view. While it may not seem as critical as a broken window , a severely chipped window should also be quickly repaired. The longer you wait, the more at risk you are of having the chip shatter the glass, which can cause serious injury.

Where Can I Get My Car Window Replaced?

There are many companies that specialize in working with car windshields and windows. If you look for glass replacement and auto glass service companies in your local area, there should be multiple to choose from. Some, like Safelite , even offer mobile services and can come to your home or the location of your choice so you don’t have to drive with a broken window . You can also go to a local repair shop or even a body shop. 

How Long Does Car Window Replacement Take?

Getting your car window replaced can be completed in as little as an hour. However, it depends on which window was broken (driver side and passenger side front or rear windows or quarter glass) and the extent of the damage. Unlike the windshield repair process, a car door window uses hardware rather than adhesive to stay in place. That means that the amount of time you have to wait will be shorter because you won’t have to wait for the adhesive to cure. 

How Much Does a Car Window Replacement Cost?

If you need a full windshield replacement , how much can you expect to pay? The total car window replacement cost depends on a number of factors. These include the type of vehicle and who you choose to do the service. On average, you can expect to pay an average cost of $100 to $400 to replace your windshield, a side window, or rear car window. Classic and exotic vehicles will be more expensive. Small, triangular side windows can also be more expensive due to the difficulty of installation. Repair costs are typically less expensive if you are repairing a minor chip or crack. If your insurance is covering the cost, you’ll just have to pay the deductible

You should always call around and compare costs before choosing an auto glass repair service.

Does Car Insurance Cover a Broken Car Window?

You’re probably wondering if your car insurance company will help with some or all of the cost of your new car window. It all depends on how the window was broken. If the car window was broken or damaged in an accident or during a break-in, then your car insurance company will likely cover the cost if your car insurance policy has comprehensive coverage . However, if your window was damaged by a rock, you might not be covered. You should always call your car insurance company to see if car window replacement is included in your policy. If your insurance will cover the replacement, you should also check with your provider before choosing a repair company because they likely have preferred auto glass companies for you to choose from. 

Should You Use OEM or Aftermarket Replacement Windows?

Original equipment manufacturer ( OEM ) window replacements come from your car’s manufacturer, while aftermarket replacements are not sourced from the manufacturer. You should choose OEM glass for your window, especially if your insurance will cover it. It will have higher quality and a better warranty . However, if you are paying for the replacement, you might choose aftermarket glass as it typically costs less. Ask your auto glass provider what your options are and the costs of each.  

Power or Manual?

While it won’t make much of a difference in the price of the window itself, whether or not you have power windows will make quite a difference in the labor cost . There is a lot more to deal with when a shop is replacing power windows . In the traditional crank-style windows there’s a door panel, a window regulator , and then the window itself. With power windows , there’s also power locks, additional wiring, a heavier door panel, relays, a more complex window regulator , and a lot less room to maneuver. None of these components should need to be replaced (unless the vehicle was in an accident of some kind), but they do make the replacement process more difficult and labor intensive. 

What About Labor?

Labor is really the biggest variable in this job. If you have an older vehicle with basic hand-crank windows, you’re looking at around an hour or two in labor time for the window replacement, depending on which window it is. This can bring the total cost to an average of $150 to $250, depending on make and model, and if you buy the window new or used. If you’ve got power windows with all the extras, the labor time can actually increase to a few hours. If you go with a used window you may be able to keep the price around $200 to $300 for one of these more advanced models. Just remember, a new window is only going to come from the dealership, and most will need to be ordered. That’s going to increase the amount of time your vehicle is either down or driving around with makeshift repairs to keep weather out.  

Bottom Line

Just because you have a broken window , it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. You should always shop around for the best deal and call your insurance company to see if the service is covered.

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(Please remember that these repair prices can also fluctuate based on geographic location, as well as vehicle make and model; and that these numbers represent averages, not actual prices offered at any specific repair facilities.)