It's never fun learning that you have to replace your entire windshield. Not only does this mean that your car will be out of commission for a few hours, but it's also significantly costlier than a minor repair job on a crack or chip. Unfortunately, your windshield is a key structural and safety component, so compromised windshields must always be replaced once repair is no longer possible. While replacing a typical windshield isn't cheap, modern technology has created a few situations where it can be particularly expensive (and for good reason).
Windshields Equipped with Heads Up Displays (HUDs)
One of the most innovative and interesting new technologies to show up on modern cars is the heads-up display (HUD). While this technology has existed for years, only recently has it reached a level of quality and cost that makes it suitable for consumer vehicles. Although still found mostly on high-end luxury cars or the top-trim levels of more common vehicles, it won't be long before HUDs are found as standard equipment on even economy cars.
This is a fantastic technology, but it isn't without its downsides. Because HUDs require a special type of windshield, a replacement can be drastically more expensive than with a normal windshield. In some cases, it can cost several thousand dollars to replace the windshield on a car with a HUD. While this may seem excessive, it is the cost of having easy access to such a useful technology.
Rain Sensor Windshields
Rain sensors are another phenomenally useful technology that have begun to trickle down to even midrange vehicles. These devices use the amount of light that is filtering through the windshield to determine how much rain has fallen on it and adjust your wiper speed up or down as necessary. This can be a great help in rainy conditions as it allows you to keep your focus on the road rather than constantly adjusting the speed of your wipers.
Unfortunately, rain sensors are generally located on or near the windshield, and they rely on being able to properly measure the light that passes through the windshield to function correctly. This means that damaged windshields can affect their operation, and replacing a windshield with a rain sensor can be slightly costlier as the sensor equipment may also have to be carefully removed and reinstalled to avoid damaging it.
Of course, if you really want some glass sticker shock, look no farther than exotic automobiles. Repairing a crack or chip on these cars can potentially cost hundreds of dollars, and full replacement can easily be multiple thousands of dollars. Replacing the windshield on a Ferrari or Aston Martin can even exceed $5000!
Luckily, most windshield replacements are not nearly so expensive. Still, the potential cost of a complete replacement is all the more reason to be sure to deal with small issues quickly. Even tiny cracks and chips can quickly grow out of control, and a simple repair can easily turn into a replacement if not managed early on. Find an auto glass repair shop near you who can replace your windshield.