What’s in a Name? Types of Windshield Damage, Explained

A windshield chip is a chip, right?

Not so fast!

There are many different types of windshield chips and cracks. The type that your windshield has will determine whether or not it can be repaired (versus replaced). Keep reading to learn what kind of chip or crack your windshield has.



Windshield damage can first be divided into two categories: chips and cracks. (It is possible to have a combination of both, however.)


Chips generally occur after a small rock or piece of debris hits your windshield. You will almost always find chips on the outer layer of your front windshield. Your front windshield is made of laminate glass, which is made of several panes of glass separated by a layer of plastic and is designed not to shatter. This means that debris hitting your windshield will cause tiny pieces of glass to “flake off.”

There are several different types of chips:

Chip (pit)
A chip is a small piece of glass missing from the windshield. The “pit” is the area where the glass is missing.

Larger than a chip, a bulls-eye is an area of damage that is dark-colored and circular-shaped with an impact hole.

Half moon (partial bulls-eye)
A half moon is like a bulls-eye, but the area of damage isn’t completely circular.

Combination break
This involves multiple types of damage, like a chip with cracks radiating out from it.

It’s important to get chips fixed right away because a chip left unfixed can weaken your windshield and cause cracks to form. Don’t let a small, easily repaired chip turn into a large crack requiring a full windshield replacement!


Although they are most often found in the front windshield, cracks can form on any piece of glass in your car. Cracks can occur in both laminate glass (what your front windshield is made of) and tempered glass (what your back windshield and side windows are most likely made of). Unlike chips, cracks can form without any impact happening whatsoever. In fact, here are some of the most common causes of windshield cracks. It’s also possible for a crack to form in the inner or outer layer of your front windshield.

There are several different types of cracks:

Edge crack
This is a crack that starts within two inches of the edge of the windshield or reaches the edge.

Floater crack
This type starts anywhere in the middle of the windshield, not near the edges.

Stress crack
This type can occur after a large or sudden variation in temperature. (For example, a crack can form if you use hot water to melt the ice off your car’s windshield in the winter.)

Crack chip
This (admittedly confusingly named) crack is one that can be covered by a quarter.

Long crack
A long crack is more than six inches in length.

Star break
This is a series of cracks radiating from one chip, giving it the appearance of a star.

Can It Be Repaired?

Generally speaking, the damage to your windshield can be repaired if it fits the following criteria:

  • The damage is roughly the size of a quarter or smaller.
  • Your windshield has fewer than three chips.
  • The crack does not reach the edge of your windshield.

Oh, and if you’re thinking about turning your windshield damage into a DIY project, be sure to read this helpful article DIY Windshield Repair: Is It Safe? first!

If you’re windshield needs repair, look no further than Jack’s Glass! Our certified technicians make it quick and easy to get your windshield repaired by coming directly to you and by working with your insurance company. Contact us today.