Car window replacement costs can vary significantly due to several variables. Whether you find yourself in a situation where you accidentally locked your keys inside your car or your vehicle was vandalized, resulting in a broken window, you will inevitably need a replacement. However, determining the exact cost of the replacement can be challenging, as it depends on various factors. While prices for straightforward replacements start at around $300, they can increase depending on the circumstances.
It is crucial to note that this guide primarily focuses on side windows, as windshield and rear windshield replacement costs are addressed separately.
Side Windows: Size Isn’t Everything
It may seem logical to assume that smaller windows are less expensive to replace. However, that is not always the case. For instance, the small, fixed-position triangular windows located in the front or rear doors may appear to be the cheapest to replace due to their size. However, industry experts reveal that these windows are not produced in the same quantities as the roll-up windows, making them more expensive to purchase. Additionally, replacing these small triangular windows requires significant effort, as the door needs to be stripped to remove the broken window and install the new one, involving seals and adhesives. This intricate process adds to the overall cost of replacement. On the other hand, regular windows are designed for easier removal and replacement.
Glass Quality & Features
The quality of the glass also impacts the cost of replacement. Some vehicles come equipped with laminated glass, which aims to reduce cabin noise. Certain windows may feature embedded antennas or heating elements for defrosting the rear window. These additional features increase the cost of the replacement window. The advantage is that modern windows with embedded antennas or heating elements are plug-and-play, reducing the installation time and keeping the total price of the replacement window more affordable.
Cost of Labor in Car Window Replacement
The complexity of the installation process can also affect the labor cost of replacing car windows. When a window is shattered, numerous glass fragments may end up inside the door, requiring extensive cleaning before the new window can be installed. This involves stripping the door, removing all trim, and meticulously eliminating every tiny piece of glass. In some cases, vehicle owners may inadvertently worsen the situation by attempting to close the smashed window using the up/down switch. This action activates the regulator inside the door, potentially damaging it due to the presence of glass fragments. Consequently, not only will the window need replacement, but the regulator and connecting wires may also require replacement. It is advisable for vehicle owners to avoid using the window switch in such scenarios to prevent further damage and additional expenses.
Original Equipment (OE) vs. Aftermarket Glass
When it comes to replacement windows, there is a choice between Original Equipment (OE) glass and aftermarket glass. OE glass is provided by the vehicle manufacturer, while aftermarket glass is supplied by third-party auto parts suppliers. Aftermarket windows are generally more affordable than OE glass, but their availability varies depending on the vehicle. Aftermarket options are commonly available for mass-produced vehicles with a significant market presence. However, rare or niche vehicles may only offer OE glass, which often comes at a higher cost due to limited supply.
Sample Costs for Side Windows
To provide some real-world estimates for side window repair costs, we surveyed three major glass providers. It’s important to note that costs can vary significantly among providers. The following quotes represent the most commonly replaced units, namely the opening windows:
Provider: Glass America
- 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan: $268.22 (front) / $354.72 (rear)
- 2018 Honda Civic: $279.90 (front) / $268.29 (rear)
- 2017 Ford F-150: $445.81 (front) / $305.98 (rear)
- 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan: $430.00 (front) / $430.00 (rear)
- 2018 Honda Civic: $450.00 (front) / $430.00 (rear)
- 2017 Ford F-150: $490.00 (front) / $440.00 (rear)
Provider: Today Auto Glass
- 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan: $538.00 (front) / $682.00 (rear)
- 2018 Honda Civic: $545.00 (front) / $516.00 (rear)
- 2017 Ford F-150: $834.00 (front) / $601.00 (rear)
Note: The prices listed above represent front and rear side windows, respectively.
Obtaining Your Own Quote
To avoid any surprises and gain a better understanding of the replacement cost, many auto glass companies offer online quotes. However, it’s important to note that some companies may only provide quick quotes for main windows, excluding quarter and vent windows. These unique window types may require obtaining estimates directly from a dealership. It is advisable to shop around, compare prices, and carefully review the details of each quote to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the purchase.