Traveling in an RV often entails long road trips that sometimes cover gravel backroads or uneven terrain.
Even if your travels primarily follow major paved roadways, you’re bound to encounter road construction or small debris along the way.
All of these conditions can send a stray rock or two flying at your RV’s windshield, causing chips or cracks.
When this happens, you’re left to consider whether you should repair or replace the windshield. But which should you decide? Perhaps more importantly, how much will it cost?
It will likely be necessary to replace the windshield in any vehicle at least once during its lifetime, and normal car windshield replacements typically cost at least $200, although it may cost as much as $800. Luckily, car windshield replacement is often covered by insurance.
What about an RV windshield? How much will it cost to replace the motorhome windshield?
RV windshield replacements cost between $1,000 and $5,000, depending on the type and size of RV. The windshield in a Class A RV motorhome will be more expensive to replace than one in a Class C or B RV, since it is a different size and kind of windshield.
In this article, I’m going to go into detail about the cost to replace your RV’s windshield, how to tell if you can repair the windshield instead of replacing it, how to choose a glass repair shop, and how to avoid damaging your RV windshield.
Why is an RV Windshield Replacement So Expensive?
RV windshields are a lot like other vehicle parts in terms of cost; if it’s larger or harder to find or make, it’s going to be more expensive.
With RV windshields, the glass is much larger than a typical vehicle’s windshield, especially with Class A motorhomes.
RV windshields for Class A and Class C campers are also specially designed to facilitate the aerodynamics and structural support of the vehicle, while Class B campervan windshields are more like those for a normal car.
Windshields for Class A RVs are made in two separate pieces and they are made from a different material in order to safely protect such a large space at the front of the motorhome.
While windshields for a normal car or Class B campervan are usually made with laminated and bonded safety glass, windshields for Class A RVs (and sometimes Class C RVs) need a stronger material to accommodate the increased size and air resistance requirements.
Another part of the increased cost to replace your RV windshield is labor. While you can probably replace your car windshield yourself, the same cannot be said with RV windshields.
You should hire a professional to do the job, or you may risk damaging the brand new glass during the installation or installing it incorrectly, leading to serious safety concerns when you hit the road again.
How Much Will it Cost to Replace My RV’s Windshield?
Like I mentioned earlier, the cost of an RV windshield replacement is between $1,000 and $5,000. The actual cost will depend on a few factors, such as:
- Extent of the damage
- Your insurance coverage
- The replacement quote from the auto shop
How Bad is the Damage?
The extent of the damage may actually be the deciding factor for whether you replace or repair your windshield.
If there’s just a chip or two, you may decide that a windshield repair may be a more reasonable and cost-effective solution.
However, if there’s a crack that extends across the windshield and impacts your driving visibility, you probably need a replacement.
Will Your Insurance Cover the Cost Motorhome Windshield Replacement Cost?
Depending on the level of insurance coverage you have with your provider, your RV windshield replacement may cost you a lot less out-of-pocket or might even be completely covered.
Since you should expect to replace your RV’s windshield once or twice while you own it, you may find that it’s worth it to pay for more comprehensive coverage so that your windshield replacement costs are covered by your insurance provider.
What Will the Auto or Glass Shop Charge?
As with any automotive repair or replacement job, the costs can vary from auto shop to auto shop.
If you need to replace your RV windshield, be sure to get quotes from a few auto shops in your area so that you can make the best choice on the grounds of price, quality of materials and workmanship, and customer service.
Does My RV’s Windshield Need to be Replaced or Just Repaired?
The answer to this question comes down to how badly your RV’s windshield is damaged, and based on that, how much the damage has jeopardized the strength of the windshield as a whole.
Keep in mind that small chips and hairline cracks can worsen over time, especially in the winter, since water can get into the damaged areas and freeze, expanding the cracks.
If you notice something small, it can save you a lot of money to get the windshield repaired now, so that you don’t have to replace the whole thing in a few months.
An RV windshield repair job may cost as little as $50, even for the windshield on a Class A RV.
So, how do you know if the windshield needs to be replaced or if you can just repair it?
There are two primary indicators that you need a full RV windshield replacement:
- The damage is larger than a quarter
- There are large cracks or chips in the driver’s line of sight
If the cracks or chips are smaller than a quarter and there’s no damage (or minimal damage) affecting the driver’s line of sight, you can probably just repair the damage without having to replace the RV’s windshield.
To be safe, it’s better to replace the windshield if there’s any damage that negatively impacts driving visibility.
Although the cost of replacing an RV windshield is high, you shouldn’t let it influence your decision because your RV’s windshield is an important part of the motorhome’s safety.
If you’re not sure whether to repair or replace the windshield due to damage, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
If they determine that the windshield damage isn’t a risk to safety and doesn’t compromise safety, it’s certainly more affordable to repair the damage instead of spending a few thousand dollars to replace it.
However, if replacement is necessary, it’s definitely worth the cost to keep you, your family, and other travelers safe.
Luckily, your RV insurance will likely cover most of the cost of a windshield replacement, and you’ll only need to pay the deductible.
Some states will even waive the deductible for a windshield replacement.
Additionally, your insurance provider may offer extra coverage for RV glass repairs, and since motorhome windshields notoriously get hit with gravel and small rocks while on the road, it might be worth it to pay a little bit extra for the additional coverage.
Although windshield repair isn’t going to have as clean and clear a result as a replacement, it’ll improve the visibility and strength of your windshield.
Just remember that a full replacement will take longer; typically several days, while a repair job might only take a couple of hours.
So be sure to schedule the work with plenty of time for the sealant to dry before you hit the road on your next camping trip.
How to Find an RV Windshield Glass Repair Shop
Unless it’s your profession and you have the expert training and special tools required to replace your RV windshield yourself, you should never try to replace an RV windshield yourself.
While you may be able to replace your car windshield from your home garage, RV windshields are something else entirely and it’s a job best left to the professionals.
Some minor motorhome windshield repairs can be done at home with a do-it-yourself glass repair kit, but the damage may still spread.
Therefore, it’s best to trust even small repair jobs to the professionals at your local auto shop, so that they can effectively repair and seal any small cracks or chips in your RV’s windshield.
A repair job is usually pretty inexpensive, costing as little as $50, which may even be covered by your insurance.
When you begin your search for an RV windshield glass repair shop, be sure to follow these steps:
- 1Make sure the auto or glass shop has the expertise to work on RVs. Since RV windshields are very different from car windshields, it’s important that the repair shop has the skills and tools to handle them.
- 2Ask about any provided warranties. It’s a good idea to check with the shop and find out if they provide any warranties on labor or the windshield, itself. Always ask questions to find out exactly what’s covered and how long the warranty lasts, and make sure it’s clear in writing.
- 3Don’t make your choice based solely on price. Some glass repair shops will cost more, but have more extensive warranties or higher quality workmanship or materials. Compare and contrast to find the best one on multiple fronts.
You may also want the windshield replacement to happen at your home, so you should ask about mobile service if that is something that’s important to you.
How Professionals Replace RV Windshields
Although you should not attempt to replace your own RV windshield unless you’re a professional with the expertise and tools to do so, you may be curious about the process and steps involved. Here’s a brief look:
- 1The technician will adjust or remove the wipers and windshield cowl in order to gain access to the windshield molding, which is a different process for each model of RV.
- 2They will then remove the windshield molding and use specific tools to carefully separate the windshield and sealant.
- 3To protect the dashboard inside as they work, the technician will cover the interior dash and driving area.
- 4When the technician is ready to remove the windshield, they will use suction cups to gently lift the glass off of the RV.
- 5Then, they will need to remove the older layer of the urethane sealant, clean the remaining layers, and prepare the new glass and body areas around the windshield for the new sealant.
- 6Next, the technician will need to fix any scratched areas with primer touch-ups to prevent rust from forming, and seal the edges of the RV body around the windshield with new urethane sealant.
- 7The final step is to position the new windshield, set it in place, and reinstall the windshield molding, cowling, and any other pieces they removed.
How to Avoid Damaging Your RV Windshield
Although you can’t avoid every flying rock or pebble as you travel in your motorhome, there are ways to avoid some damage and prevent the inconvenience and expense of repairing or replacing your RV windshield:
- 1Be proactive and check your RV windshield regularly and frequently for chips or cracks, and repair even minor damage quickly. Remember, even small cracks or chips can develop into bigger problems, so repairing minor damage can prevent or delay the necessity for a complete RV windshield replacement.
- 2Clean the windshield regularly at gas stations, and regularly scrub the rubber sealant around the edges. It’s important to clean off bugs, dirt, and road grease to keep it from hardening on the windshield’s surface and leading to worse damage later. Use a hard rubber scraper to remove debris from the rubber seal around the outside of the windshield. This debris can cause erosion, which allows air and water to get under the seal and lead to stress fractures in the windshield, itself.
- 3Avoid driving on rough roads, freshly sanded roads, or driving behind large trucks. All of these conditions can cause rocks or sand to fly up at your RV’s windshield and cause damage.
- 4Use a windshield cover when your RV is stored and not in use. The cover will protect your RV’s rubber seal from collecting dust or shrinking in the sunshine.
- 5Replace your wiper blades every 2 - 3 years. While your RV sits in the sun, the UV rays gradually break down the rubber in your wiper blades, and after a point, the rubber can cause damage to the windshield when you use the wipers.
- 6When shopping for an RV, always look very closely at the windshield. You don’t want to purchase a motorhome that will require a windshield replacement in a couple of months (unless, of course, they include a windshield replacement in the sale of the vehicle - but you’ll still want to be aware so that you can request it in the terms of the sale).
- 7Check for signs of rust around the edges of the windshield before each trip or before you buy an RV. Rust build-up can cause warping of the windshield, which leads to cracks. Repair any rust damage and apply rust prevention treatments as soon as possible.
Summarizing the Cost of Replacing Your RV Windshield
While an RV windshield replacement could cost you between $1,000 and $5,000, it’s a very important job to have done for the safety of your RV, yourself and your family, and other people on the road.
If you can mitigate the cost of a full windshield replacement by repairing minor damage quickly, you can extend the lifetime of your motorhome’s windshield.
What’s more, your RV insurance may cover most or all of the cost of repairs or a windshield replacement.