When to Buy Windshield Protection Film: A Comprehensive Guide


Windshield protection film has taken the automotive restyling world by storm. While paint protection film and ceramic coatings are pretty much old news, windshield protection is probably the latest new product to hit the shelves of your favorite local tint shop.

Even if you’ve already heard of windshield protection, you may be wondering if it’s really for you, or if it only really makes sense for supercar owners. In this post, we’re going to break down who windshield protection film is really for (and no, it’s not everyone!), what it will (or won’t) protect against, the best time to purchase windshield protection, and where to get it!

What is Windshield Protection Film?

First of all, let’s clear up a few common misconceptions about products to protect your windshield.

If you’re looking for something that will actually protect your windshield from rock chips or other damage to your glass, you’ll want to look for a clear, impact resistant film that is applied on the outside of your windshield.

Unlike coatings or other surface treatments that installers may apply on your glass, a protective film is really the only thing that will actually protect your windshield from impact.

How it Works:

When a rock or other debris from the road hits your windshield, the film will absorb the force of that impact and distribute it across the film, rather than to your windshield. Not only does this prevent small chips or cracks that happen when a mid-sized rock hits the glass, but it will also prevent the glass from getting scratched and pitted over time from the tiny stones or sand that is pretty much constantly bombarding your windshield.

Who is Windshield Protection Film Made For?

While we have to admit we’re probably biased, we actually don’t believe that windshield protection film is right for everyone! Depending on the vehicle you drive, your insurance policy, and the environment you live in, windshield protection may not be right for you.

You own a supercar, exotic, or rare vehicle

If you’re driving something that most people would only dream of even getting to ride in one day - you probably need windshield protection. Even though the glass itself may not be significantly higher quality than your middle-of-the-road commuter car, with an expensive car comes expensive maintenance - including the windshield.

When your windshield is in the $2000+ price bracket, protecting it is really a no brainer. You’re probably also protecting other surfaces of your vehicle like the paint, so bundling in windshield protection is a great option.

You have a hard-to-find windshield

Even if you don’t drive your dream car (yet), if your car has a windshield that is difficult to replace, it’s extra important to take the necessary steps to protect it - otherwise it could mean unwanted time off the road.

While there’s no rule of thumb, generally if you drive vehicles that are less popular or a little older, the windshield may be more difficult to find (especially if you’re a stickler for only OEM parts). This can also apply if you’re driving a classic car where finding parts for it in general requires a small miracle.

If you’re not sure if your windshield is readily available, we’d suggest giving a couple local glass shops a call or crawling through various online forums and reddit to find out if people have had bad experiences in the past.

You spend a lot of time highway driving

Commuter vehicles are some of the most likely to have to face frequent windshield replacements because of the horrendous highway roads and the number of transport trucks that you’re stuck behind on a daily basis.

And while you may be thinking “My car isn’t worth $100k, so my windshield replacement will be affordable”…think again! Windshield replacement for almost every modern vehicle on the road is at least $1200 or more in 2023 because of the technology behind the windshield that powers features like lane-keeping assist or collision avoidance.

Again, checking in with your local glass repair guy, scouring the internet for more information, or using an online quote calculator tool will give you an estimate for what you can expect.

If this is you, windshield protection will give you that peace of mind when you're on the road every single day.

Your roads are terrible

If you live somewhere like this, you know it. Some cities are notorious for having terrible roads pretty much year round. There are also certain places farther north that use gravel and dirt on the roads during the winter, which is your windshield’s worst nightmare!

If you’re finding yourself replacing your windshield every year or more, windshield replacement film is a great way to spend a little more time out of a glass repair shop this year! The cost of a windshield protection film is going to be a fraction of the cost you spend on windshields in a year.

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, that doesn’t mean that windshield protection isn’t right for you! Ultimately there are a few things to consider:

1. How expensive is your windshield to replace?

2. If your windshield costs you $150 to replace, all the more power to you! Unless you’re finding that it breaks a couple times a year, you may prefer to just deal with the regular replacements.

3. How easy is it to get a replacement windshield for your vehicle? How frequently would you have to replace your windshield?

4. What does your insurance cover? If your windshield only breaks once every 5 years and your insurance fully covers the cost - congratulations! We can’t say we’re not jealous, but we’re definitely happy for you.

What Will Windshield Protection Film Protect?

As you can imagine, we get a lot of interesting questions when we tell people that there’s a product out there that can save their glass. While a windshield protection film will give you peace of mind while on the road, it’s important to remember that there are some things that it will NOT protect against. Windshield protection film is not the same as bulletproof glass, and will not protect your windshield from large boulders, hitting a moose, or other (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime events.

That being said, a windshield protection film like ExoShield protects against chips, cracks, or pitting that comes from small stones hitting the windshield at highway speeds. This means fewer repairs or replacements while you have the film on your windshield.

When to Get Windshield Protection?

The best time to protect your windshield is yesterday.

In all seriousness, like most insurance products or investments, the sooner you get it, the sooner you can reap the rewards! If you’re buying a new car, that’s a great time to do all your protection products at once - windshield protection film, paint protection film, ceramic coatings - etc. As soon as you drive the car off the lot, your windshield will start to get small pitting marks or scuffs that will never go away, so the sooner you get that covered, the better condition your windshield will be in.

If you have damage to your windshield, it’s important to assess the extent of the damage before getting a film like ExoShield installed. If it’s anything more minor or purely cosmetic (scratching, pitting, etc.) you can install the film on your windshield as-is without many issues. While the film will not necessarily improve the appearance of the windshield, it will prevent it from getting any worse.

If you have severe damage or cracks, it’s best to wait until you’ve replaced your windshield to get ExoShield installed.

Where to Buy Windshield Protection Film

There are a couple different ways that you can get protected with a film like ExoShield:

DIY Kits (for select models only)

If you drive a popular off-road vehicle with flat glass, you’re no stranger to broken windshields (we’re looking at you Wrangler owners…). The good news is that there are DIY kits available especially for you through ExoShield. We offer ExoShield ULTRA kits, which have a thicker, more impact resistant windshield protection film that you can install yourself in about 30 minutes in your garage. You can shop DIY kits online, or reach out to your local installer to see if they carry ExoShield ULTRA.

Find a Local Installer

For models that don’t have a DIY kit available, it’s best to go to a trained and certified installer of windshield protection film. They’ll be able to custom cut and mold the film to fit your exact windshield to give you seamless coverage, no matter what you drive! Make sure to look for someone who has been certified by the manufacturer to ensure they’ll be able to offer you the quality, support, and warranty coverage that comes with the product.

Learn More About ExoShield Products


Looking for the right installer for your automotive protection film? Click here for a map of certified installers.

Looking for a windshield protection film installer?

Check out our map to find our list of certified windshield protection film installers.

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