Every driver has been in a situation where they're driving down the road when slow motion suddenly cues as they helplessly watch a rock or piece of debris hurdle towards their windshield. A fraction of a second later they hear impact and aggressively scan their windshield to assess any damage. Most of the time it's nothing, but when a crack or chip does occur it can be a complete hindrance.
For most people, windshield repair isn't a major concern, but time is one of the biggest contributing factors when it comes to the repair or replace debate. The path of least resistance involves heading straight to your favorite windshield repair shop and having them seal the chip with a special resin that will solidify once it's hit with UV light. This will prevent the chip from spreading and will reduce the visibility of the crack.
On the other hand, if repairs are put on the backburner then there is a chance that moisture and other debris can become embedded in the chip and cause further damage. This path runs the risk of creating spots on the windshield that could obstruct the driver's view, or the embedded debris could form a crack that requires the entire windshield be replaced.
Self-Repair Versus Repair Cost
If you have comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle then the debate is already over; your insurance company will cover the cost of replacing the windshield at no detriment to you. Even if you don't have insurance, the cost of getting a windshield repaired is significantly lower than getting it completely replaced, and there are kits you can purchase to fix the windshield yourself.
It is recommended that you have a windshield repair professional make the repairs; however, since they'll be able to correctly assess the damage, offer the best course for repair, and you'll be guaranteed that it won't be a problem down the road.
How to Avoid the Issue Altogether
Being a safe and responsible driver is the best preventative medicine. Rocks are usually flung from the tires of larger vehicles, and service vehicles typically carry a lot of debris that can also damage your vehicle. Maintaining a safe driving distance from these types of vehicles will prevent a lot of headache. Windborne-debris can also be a problem, so take preventative measures if you know there is a storm approaching soon. Park your car in a garage, pick up loose rocks; pine cones; and other objects that may turn into a projectile under strong winds to prevent your vehicle from becoming damaged.