​Decades of Data on Windshield Chips and Cracks in the United States

Posted by Richard Campfield on Mar 26th 2019

Decades of Data on Windshield Chips and Cracks in the United States

  • Windshields are the #1 Auto Insurance Claim in the United States.
  • There are 264,000,000 vehicles in the United States.
  • Parking Lots Surveys in 13 cities in 12 different states show 14% of windshields in the U.S. have a long crack.
  • 79% of these cracks are edge cracks.
  • For every million vehicles there are over 300,000 Stone-Breaks (Chips).



How this impacts your windshield repair business?

What can you be repairing?

You will repair more and have far more opportunity if you have a windshield crack repair kit that is capable of repairing long cracks and chips versus a windshield repair kit that only repairs chips. Repair More= Make More.

Here is 20 years of market data from our Windshield Repair and Replacement Business and Parking Lot Surveys from 12 states, so you can see what type of damage and the length of repairs are done the most and the least.

Chip repairs are the most common. They go for about $50 to $65. The average payment from an insurer for a repair is $63.

Long Crack repair goes for about $100 -$150. With a long crack the insurance company will pay the $63 and the consumers will gladly pay the rest because you're saving them hundreds of dollars. NOTE - The insurer or Third Party Administrator (TPA) will now tell the insured they have to pay the difference.You should inform your customer of this before you call in the claim if your customer is going to use their insurance coverage.

With crack repair you are competing in the replacement market, which is the consumer market. Cracks will be about 40-50% of your gross repair income. Repairing cracks will open up the ability to market, advertise on the Internet and compete with replacements that are $250+ more on vehicles without ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and $700+ more on the newer vehicles with ADAS without doing replacements yourself. Almost all new vehicles now have ADAS.

ADAS is now a boon for long crack repair because the cost of a replacement has doubled and the consumer may have to go to the car dealer to get the vehicle re-calibrated after it has been replaced by an auto glass shop. That makes two inconveniences for the customer. The safety features involving the windshield have also doubled with ADAS - that means more safety features can be compromised by a replacement.

A crack is repair versus replacement, a chip repair is preventive maintenance. Only 5% of chips actually crack-out into a floater crack.

An auto glass Repair Ratio is the total of all Repairs (chip and cracks) versus Replacements. At Ultra Bond this Ratio is 89%.

The "Real Repair Ratio" is Crack Repairs vs Replacements.The Crack Repair versus Replacement Ratio is 84% -This is the percent of replacements in the United States that can be repaired.

The only condition that renders a crack un-repairable is contamination in the form of dust or dirt. Fortunately this is rare. Contamination in cracks 14-inches and under is less than 3%. This is because the gap of the crack is not wide enough to allow the dirt in. It is also fortunate that when a windshield cracks-out it is cracking to relieve stress and 74% of the time the stress is relieved at less than 15 inches, which is why 74% of cracks are 14-inches and under. This is why the United States Auto Glass Industry's Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard (ROLAGS) landed on 14-inches. The Australian and New Zealand Standard is and has been at 14-inches since 1999.

Here are decades of data from Ultra Bond Windshield Repair and Replacement Shop with a comparison to Parking Lot Surveys from 12 states:

Damage Ratios and Percentages: Shop Data Parking Lot Surveys
Crack Ratio – Edge Crack to Floater Crack 92% Edge Cracks 84% Edge Cracks
Crack Ratio – Floater Crack to Edge Crack 4% Floater Cracks 5% Floater Cracks
% of Chips 66% Chips 74% Chips
% of Cracks 34% 26%
% of Edge Cracks                                      
% of Floater Cracks  

90% of the cracks you will repair will be edge cracks. 34% of your repairs will be cracks, 66% will be chips.

74% of crack repairs are 14 inches and under. 

Contamination in cracks 14-inches and under is less than 3%.

Length of Cracks Repaired Contamination Rate of Cracks by Length
3" - 6"     = 10%
7" - 14"   = 64% 
15" - 18" = 17%
19" - 24" =  9%          

For more valuable information you should know see our Lab Tests and Real World Performance showing Ultra Bond Repairs to be stronger than a new windshield.

Note -The Ultra Bond vs. Safelite Lawsuit filed in August 2015 is ongoing as of this date.

Ultra Bond filed a Federal Lanham Act (False Advertising) Complaint over Safelite's False Advertising Campaign - telling insurance companies, insureds, consumers, business owners and everyone they came in contact with that a crack longer than a dollar bill (six-inches) is a replacement. During discovery it was found in Safelite's documents that they know when it comes to repairing cracks, as it was stated in their own documents that - "24-inches is safe and viable". Safelite has also NOT produced any evidence that there is any difference in a six-inch crack versus a 7- inch crack, or 8" or 9" or 10" or 11" or 12" or 13" or 14", etc.