If your BMW’s windshield is cracked, you’ll normally have to replace it.
Unfortunately, BMW uses expensive glass, the time to remove and replace the windshield can be significant, and you’ll likely end up facing a significant bill.
However, the newer your vehicle, the more that will cost.
In fact, the average cost to replace a BMW windshield is about $1,500. That can go as low as $400 at a third-party glass installer or up to $4,500 at a BMW dealer.
If your car is about 7 years or older, you can expect costs between $800 and $1,600 and a standard. If it’s brand new, those costs will be much higher – but you might have a warranty.
In addition, about $800-$1,200 of those costs are for materials and the rest is for labor and additional parts.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of BMW windshield replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
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How Much Does BMW Windshield Replacement Cost?*
The cost of replacing your BMW windshield will typically depend on the cost of labor, the age of the car, and the brand of the glass.
For example, you could pay as little as about $400 for the job. However, if you go to the dealer, the average is about $1,500. And, if you have a new car, it will be more than double that.
|Vehicle||Windshield Cost||Labor Cost|
|BMW 5 Series||$219-$998||$148-$2,336|
|BMW 3 Series||$329-$1,140||$160-$1,256|
|BMW 7 Series||$410-$1,254||$137-$1,123|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (June 2023). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
What’s Special About a BMW Windshield?
BMW windshields are typically tilted at an angle to offer minimum wind resistance and maximum strength for the glass. However, this means that anyone installing the glass either needs a custom windshield made for that BMW or to install the glass using setting frames to hold it at the right angle.
BMW also uses sensors and connections around the glass. If you have to replace those, you’ll typically pay as much as $700 more for the windshield replacement.
OEM windshields can cost as much as $1,780 for “just” the glass and sensors. However, if you don’t care about resale value, there’s very little reason not to go with a third-party installer so you can drop those costs to about $500.
On the other hand, if you want to ensure the sensor and heads up display are fitted to BMW standard, you’ll generally want to go to the dealer.
BMW Windshield Replacement Cost Factors
Replacing a BMW windshield is not cheap. However, the cost can vary dramatically depending on where you go and what you want. Here are some of the price factors that will influence that.
Cost of the Glass
A standard flat plane of glass with no sensors and no connectors will typically start from about $100. Installed, most windshields run around $250-$350.
BMW uses custom processes for quality control, uses its own branding, and integrates sensors and Heads Up Displays into the windshield. This can raise the price of the glass to over $1,700.
Buying replacement glass for your BMW is expensive. Even if you go with a third-party option, you could pay over $600 just for the glass.
Cost of Labor
Installing a BMW windshield is a lot of work. Most shops quote it at 4 hours for the job, including removing and replacing the covers, adhesive, molding, and sensors.
If you’re paying dealer rates, that could be as much as $210 per hour, or $840 for that work. If you also have to replace the heads up display, car cover, sun visor, etc., you could be looking at close to 10 hours of labor. At the average national rate of $100+ per hour at a dealer, that’s around $1,000 in labor.
On average, even if you go to a third-party glass repair shop, they’ll spend at least 4 hours on the job. However, at a third-party shop, rates can go as low as $40 per hour.
It’s unlikely that you can get away with “just” replacing the windshield. Instead, you’ll have to assess and replace other parts, many of which might damage on taking the old windshield out.
For example, the cover, bump stop, sun visors, trim, rain sensor, camera, molding, film pad, adhesive, heads up display, the silicon connectors to the sensors, etc. Most of these parts are cheap on their own, but pricing can add up.
For example, the molding is typically $10-$40 per size, but you need four sides plus clips. Adhesive kits are generally about $50. Rain sensors are normally $200+. That will all add to the total cost of the windshield replacement.
For this reason, it’s not uncommon to see rates of $1,700-$1,800 for newer BMW windshields, even from third-party suppliers. And, that’s still half of what you’d pay at a dealer.
BMW doesn’t make its own glass. Instead, the brand has other manufacturers produce glass, which they then brand and sticker. Those brands include:
- Splintex (OEM)
- Pilkington (OEM)
- Saint Gobain (OEM)
The OEM brands are always more expensive. However, it does mean that you get the original glass supplied with the vehicle, tuned to fit your vehicle. That will maximize resale value and will ensure that your car is the same as when you bought it.
If you don’t care about that, any of the aftermarket brands supplying BMW windshields will do. Of these, Safelite is generally the most popular. However, Pikington and Splintex are the most common brands offered by auto glass repair centers for BMW.
If you have insurance or glass coverage as part of your service plan or warranty, it will cover a large part of the windshield replacement. For example, with BMW’s standard insurance plan, you’ll pay about $300 out of pocket to replace the glass.
If you don’t have that, you’ll pay full price, although your standard auto insurance may be willing to cover more of it.
Signs To Replace A Windshield
Sometimes you can get away with repairing your BMW’s windshield instead of replacing it.
So, when should you go through with actually replacing your windshield?
Deep or Long Cracks
If a crack is longer than about 5 inches or close to half the thickness of the windshield, it can’t be repaired well.
You can patch it, but the spot will be a weak point in the glass and it will break again. And, because there’s already a weak point, that second break could shatter the glass. So, it’s always safer to replace the glass when you have a deep or long crack.
You’ll always be able to ask your glass technician for advice. They know the glass you have in your car and can offer the best advice to save you money.
Chips on the Outside Edge
Large chips on the outside edge of the windshield are the easiest to ignore when driving. However, they also weaken the windshield the most.
This means that it’s more likely that the windshield will shatter or that it will come partially loose. That can be extremely dangerous, so you’ll always want to prevent the issue by replacing the windshield.
The Windshield is Loose
If your windshield is loose at any point in the frame, it means the adhesive is loose or you’ve lost clips. There is a chance you can have the glass taken out, cleaned, and put back in.
However, if the glass is loose, it also likely means that the glass is damaged. You can check this with your technician on a case-by-case basis.
The HUD is Damaged
If electronics such as the HUD or the sensors are damaged, you may be able to replace those independently.
However, some BMW windshields come with them integrated, meaning you’ll have to replace the full set to restore functionality.
How Do You Replace A BMW Windshield? (Video)
You cannot easily replace a windshield on your own. You should always ensure that you have at least two people to handle the glass if you decide to do so. In addition, you’ll want to have the service manual on hand to ensure you can get the glass to the correct angle and tilt.
Otherwise, you can change the windshield on your own.
Things you’ll need
- New windshield
- Replacement molding
- Replacement clips
- Silicone connectors for sensors
- Replacement sensors (optional)
- HUD (Optional)
- Adhesive kit
- Urethane seal
- Frit band
- Trim (Optional, you may be able to reuse the old trim)
- Sound insulation for cowl
- Bump stop
- RLS film pad
- Box knife
- Cleaning supplies
- Use a flat screwdriver to carefully pry up the trim, starting from a corner.
- Then, remove the moldings from around the windshield.
- Disconnect the sensors and any wiring or cables for the HUD – you may have to do this from inside the vehicle and you may have to remove the top panel on the dash to do so.
- Find the pinch welds connecting the glass to the car hood and the body of the vehicle.
- Cut the urethane seal with a box knife and pull it away.
- Have someone help you remove the windshield from the car, pushing it away from the pinch weld, and then lifting up to get the glass out.
- Thoroughly clean the surface to remove the old urethane and adhesive.
- Remove any rust or built-up debris on the pinch welds, if there is rust, use primer to protect it from future damage.
- Get out your windshield adhesive kit, typically a frit band and primer, and apply the primer to the band. Then, put the band on the windshield.
- Apply a bead of urethane around the edge of the windshield.
- Slowly slide the windshield into place, being careful to slide it down into the first pinch weld, you probably have to lift the hood during installation to do so.
- Press the glass down to ensure it is firmly in place across the seals. You may have been given temporary sealing tape to ensure that it stays in place for this period.
- Allow the urethane to dry.
- Refit the electronics.
- Reinstall the molding clips.
- Put the molding back on.
- Reinstall the trim.
If you still have questions about replacing your BMW’s windshield, these answers may help.
Is it better to repair or replace a cracked BMW windshield?
Depending on the length and depth of the crack, you might be recommended to repair or replace the windshield.
In general, you’ll want to opt for replacement when the crack is more than 5 inches in length or deeper than half the glass.
Can you stop a cracked windshield from getting worse?
Repairing a cracked windshield can stop it from getting worse.
However, if the crack is too big, it will eventually crack again, so you’re better off replacing it.
Do you need OEM BMW glass?
You don’t need an OEM BMW windshield. However, you may prefer to opt for one for the sensors or the HUD.
In addition, opting for third-party glass may affect the retail value of your vehicle.
Replacing a BMW windshield typically costs around $1,500. That can drop to under $300 for an aftermarket third-party supplier and it can go to over $4,000 for a brand-new BMW windshield fitted with electronics. In either case, you can shop around, compare local quotes, and see what you’re getting for the money before you invest.
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