Blindsided by Tesla Windshield Replacement?
Here's how to avoid it.And Why Tesla Windshield Replacement is So Expensive.

Windshield Replacement| 9 min read
October 13, 2022

Over the last (almost) 2 decades, Tesla has managed to transform the automotive industry. Now more than ever we’re seeing almost every major automaker jump on the EV train, but none have managed to make something as popular as Tesla’s line of EVs. Regardless of personal preference, there’s no doubt that Tesla made EVs mainstream, and have forever changed the automotive industry for the better. Not only have they brought new battery innovations to the market faster than any other OEM, but they’ve also made the experience of owning a Tesla an absolute joy. From the driving interface to the seamless experience at a Tesla Service Center, being a Tesla owner isn’t just about the car you get to drive - it’s the lifestyle you get to live.

But there’s one experience that even Tesla hasn’t managed to make painless - and that’s the all-too familiar feeling you get when you’re driving down the highway and hear the crack of a rock hitting your windshield. Driving on a modern highway surrounded by transport trucks driving at 80 mph is basically like playing a game of chance for your windshield. On top of that, not only is your windshield arguably more likely to break in 2022 than ever before (thank you same-day shipping…) but it’s also significantly more expensive than most of us realize…until it’s too late.Not to mention the 6 month wait times. 

For all the innovation that went into making your Tesla, the achilles heel is arguably the windshield. What is on the surface a beautiful, clear piece of glass through which you view the world, is actually a rock chip magnet that protects some of the most important sensors that power the innovative Autopilot system. The EV giant hasn’t yet managed to crack the code for an unbreakable windshield yet. No matter how careful you are, you will most likely eventually have to deal with a Tesla windshield replacement. And unlike other vehicles, Tesla’s tech-forward leadership means there’s more to worry about when it comes to replacing a windshield.

What Makes Tesla Windshield Repair Different?

First of all, Tesla strongly recommends going to an official Tesla Service Center for any windshield repair or replacement. But if you plan on going directly to the dealership for pretty much anything, it won’t be cheap. The cost to replace a Tesla windshield definitely varies based on a number of factors, but most owners report it costing them between $1,000 and $2,500. 

What do you get for that price tag? Well, you’ll pick up your Tesla with a brand new OEM windshield plus the recalibration of Tesla’s cameras and sensors (more on that later).If you’re thinking of looking for an aftermarket windshield to save some cash like many of us do - think again. If you’ve ever looked for aftermarket parts for your Tesla you probably know what a barren landscape that is. You pretty much have no other option than to replace the windshield with OEM glass (meaning it comes from the original equipment manufacturer) which is always going to be pricey compared to other vehicles where you have more (or any) options for aftermarket alternatives.

More Tech = More Problems?

The reality is that windshield replacement costs across the board have climbed significantly over the past few years, and not just for Tesla owners. With the increased prevalence of Advanced Driver’s Assistance Systems (ADAS), the glory days of paying $250 to replace a windshield are long gone. Tesla’s well-known Autopilot system uses a combination of cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar sensors located all over the vehicle. In the Model 3 for example, there are 3 cameras mounted to the windshield just above the rear view mirror. According to Tesla, you should be taking your vehicle to Tesla Service if and when you need to have your windshield replaced, otherwise you risk mishandling or incorrect mounting of the cameras which can cause the Autopilot system to malfunction.  

Every time the windshield is replaced, or in some cases repaired, a calibration of these cameras is required to make sure that any autonomous driving features function properly. Each manufacturer, Tesla included, has its own unique set of guidelines on recalibrating the sensors that they use. As a result, we always recommended that you have a trained technician perform the Tesla windshield replacement to avoid any issues down the line.

Tesla Windshield: When to Replace or Repair?

Let’s be honest, fixing a broken windshield is probably the least exciting thing you could possibly pay for when it comes to your car. When you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, we’re all looking for the simplest and most painless solution possible. The first question that usually comes up is - do I need to replace the whole windshield or can I get away with a repair?

Well, if your Tesla windshield has a small chip the size of a dime or smaller, the good news is that you may be able to get away with a simple repair. The general wisdom from most glass experts is that any crack less than six inches long that is not deeper than halfway through the glass may be repairable. Keep in mind that this may not be the case if you’re unlucky enough to have the damage right in front of those cameras we just talked about, since the repair process could interfere with the image captured by the cameras, making the Autopilot system inoperable. In general, regardless of the location of a repaired chip or crack, a small imperfection will likely still be visible and could lead to visual disruptions. 

If you’re reading this and thinking about your own, currently cracked windshield right now, it’s important to make a decision on repair vs replacement as soon as possible. Small cracks can easily spread, and repairing it as quickly as possible is the best way to avoid further damage. This is especially true if you live somewhere with large temperature swings.

Can I Repair My Windshield Myself?

First of all - we’re impressed that this is something you’re even considering! But if you’re someone who is DIY-inclined, it’s definitely possible to try to repair their Tesla windshield crack on your own (although we take no responsibility for the quality of the result…). There are plenty of do-it-yourself kits found online that can be used to tackle minor cracks. Each kit has its nuances, but the general concept is that you’re applying a clear resin to the crack or chip to seal it and fill it in. You can typically expect that this process will take you maybe an hour or two including leaving time for curing. 

That being said, fair warning that these kits can be hit or miss, and using them in a pinch may be fine, but we always suggest speaking with a glass repair professional before doing anything. And definitely don’t attempt to do it yourself if the damage is obstructing the cameras in any way.

Find a Tesla Windshield Replacement Near You

If the damage is bad enough, regardless of your skill and/or confidence level, you may find yourself having to bite the bullet and take your car to a professional. Windshield repairs are common, so you should be able to find several options near you for a simple repair or even just an assessment.

Given how easy Tesla makes it to deal with their Service Centers, we recommend just booking an appointment through your Tesla app and having the experts take a look. Just keep in mind that in 2022, supply shortages continue to plague almost every single industry with lengthy delays. We’ve seen horror stories of people waiting 3-6 months for replacement Tesla windshield glass. 

Take Preventative Measures: Windshield Protection

We hate to end things on a bad note, and unfortunately, the effort and cost of replacing your Tesla windshield are not trivial. Especially with the added delays due to supply chain issues, more vehicle owners are choosing to take preventative measures rather than suffer the consequences of a broken windshield. But the good news is that there are products out there that can extend the life of your windshield.

Tesla Windshield Protector

With the rising costs of windshield replacement everywhere, new products are entering the market to help keep your windshield safe and looking like new. If you’re looking for protection from impact that can cause rock chips or cracks in the glass, you’ll want an impact resistant film - often called a windshield protection film - installed on the exterior of your Tesla windshield. 

Simply put, a Tesla windshield protector is kind of like an automotive-grade phone screen protector that’s designed specifically for your windshield. ExoShield is one example of a windshield protection film product that is specifically designed to give you durable, long-lasting protection that is completely invisible so it’s won’t affect the look of your car. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the technology and comparing your options, check out this post here, but in short, ExoShield is made up of three unique layers to protect your windshield. The bottom layer is an ultra-strength clear adhesive, which keeps the film attached to your windshield. On top of that, we layer a shock-absorbing polymer layer that distributes the force from any impact (e.g. from a rock on the highway), to prevent the glass from breaking. To top it all off, there is a final protective nanoceramic hardcoat layer that preserves the film from wiper blade scratching, UV damage, and chemical degradation.  

The film is professionally heat shrunk to your windshield to give it a perfect, completely invisible fit. If you’re interested in protecting your windshield, we recommend that you find a local window tint shop or windshield protection film installer near you to get the job done.

The Verdict

The truth is that having to repair or replace parts like your windshield is a drag. No one wants to do it, but it’s one of the essential parts about owning a vehicle. Making sure you’re armed with the different choices available to you when you first hear that rock hit your windshield will hopefully give you a bit of peace of mind, and if you’re looking for even more, remember that there are options for protecting your windshield and saving yourself the headache in the first place!

Tesla Windshield Replacement FAQs

Can Safelite Replace Tesla Windshields? Yes, Safelite can replace a Tesla windshield, but some customers experience longer wait times due to delays in shipping the windshield from Tesla.

Does Tesla Replace Windshields? Yes, Tesla does replace any damaged windshields. In fact, Tesla recommends taking your vehicle to Tesla Service if you need a windshield replacement to ensure the integrity of the cameras and sensors behind the windshield.

Who Makes Tesla Windshields? The glass found in Teslas, including the windshield, is produced by American Glass Products (AGP).

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Tesla Windshield? Depending on where you go, the price may vary. However, the cost can quickly go beyond $1,000 and as much as $2,000.

Does Tesla Warranty Cover Windshield Damage? If an impact caused the damage, Tesla warranty would not cover the damages. However, if the glass started cracking due to a manufacturing defect, it can be covered under warranty.

How to Clean a Tesla Windshield? Apply a streak-free glass cleaner onto your windshield and wipe it down with clean microfiber towels. Make sure these towels are only used for glass cleaning as they can pick up debris easily.

Does Tesla Insurance Cover Glass? Yes, Tesla Insurance does cover glass. However, Tesla Insurance is currently offered in select states only. 

Do Tesla Windows Have UV Protection? Yes, Tesla windows do have UV protection.

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