One of the most common vehicle maintenance tasks is to fix a new windscreen. Windscreens are pretty tough these days, but they're always vulnerable to loose chippings or things falling off of the vehicle in front of you.

Fitting a new windscreen is a specialist task and it's best to get someone to do it for you. You basically have two different options for replacing your windscreen:

  • A general vehicle maintenance garage
  • A specialist vehicle glass replacement company

Which one you go with is up to you. A local garage can often be convenient. Just check that their mechanics are experienced at replacing vehicle glass, as it's a very specialised job.

Most people prefer to go with one of the dedicated vehicle glass replacement companies. These companies usually only do car glass replacement, so all their mechanics are extremely skilled in the art of replacing vehicle glass. The larger companies have nationwide branch networks, so you should be able to find one in a town or city near to you. Many people however prefer to use their mobile vehicle replacement glass service. The companies tend to have fleets of mobile vans, so the mechanic can come to you in order to fix your broken or damaged windscreen. The mobile service also means that they can come to just about any location. It's particularly useful to get them to come to your place of work, then they can fix your vehicle glass during your lunch break.

Popular vehicle glass replacement companies with a network of branches include:

  • Autoglass
  • Carglass
  • Windscreens O'Brien
  • National Windscreens
  • Autowindshields

When choosing a vehicle glass replacement company it's worth checking to see that they have a relationship with your motor insurance company. If they do then they can often handle all the insurance paperwork themselves which saves you a lot of hassle. Most of the major insurance companies have relationships with the major vehicle glass replacement companies. It's also worth checking your motor insurance policy, as there may sometimes be an excess charge that means you may have to pay for some of the cost of getting a new windscreen. Some policies may also only pay according to how the windscreen or windows came to be damaged in the first place, whether it was due to an accident or an attempted theft from the motor vehicle.

Talking of costs, one way of reducing the cost of a new car windscreen is to get it repaired rather than replaced altogether. A windscreen repair can normally cost 40% of the cost of a replacement job, so that's a significant cost saving. If you're not sure whether your windscreen can be repaired then get one of the vehicle glass replacement companies to inspect your windscreen for you - they are normally happy to do a free no-obligation inspection for you.

Sadly car glass repairs can normally only be done on the front windscreen, so if the side windows or rear windhield are damaged then they will probably have to be replaced. Side windows are often broken or damaged by thieves looking for easy pickings, so a good way to reduce this is to make sure no valuables are ever visible in your vehicle while it is parked in a public place.

So these are the options for getting a new car windscreen.