It’s one of modern driving’s great dilemmas: should you ignore that windscreen chip, get it repaired or replace the whole screen?

Little cracks and chips in a windscreen happen to every business vehicle. They can be caused by stones, trees, awkward loads inside the vehicle… or even clumsily changing your wiper blades.

It’s tempting to breathe a sigh of relief that the whole window didn’t shatter and then ignore the damage until some other time. However, experts from the AA advise car and commercial owners to get any windscreen damage fixed as soon as possible.

That’s because heat, moisture, frost, dirt and vehicle movement can create secondary cracks. Even the smallest chips can grow or get ingrained with dirt, and then become irreparable.

As well as reducing visibility and becoming an irritating distraction, chips and cracks can reduce the windscreen’s overall strength. It’s not just a window – modern windscreens form an important part of the structural strength of the vehicle. And a damaged windscreen can result in an MOT failure.

If a vehicle with a defective windscreen is in an accident because of the impaired visibility, the owner could face action because of their ‘improper maintenance.’ And a windscreen that has been damaged can suddenly shatter completely. For example, a small crack that is subject to frost and then sudden warmth from the vehicle’s heater, could react by splitting the whole screen.

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider what happens when front seat airbags go off in the case of a collision. Most of them are designed to inflate against the windscreen and push the occupants back into their seats. If the screen is damaged, the airbag is likely to smash the glass and inflate outwards, rendering it useless as a safety device.

So this is not just a hard sell by windscreen companies – damaged windscreens should be examined by an expert as soon as possible.

But should it be replaced or repaired? That will depend on the size, position and severity of the damage. Smaller cracks and chips can be repaired in an invisible and impressively strong way – and it will be cheaper than a full replacement. But don’t be swayed by the cost difference. It’s too important a decision to take a cost-saving short-cut. Business vehicle owners should rely on the expertise of the repairer to judge whether fixing or replacing is best.

That’s why it pays to use one of the most reputable windscreen companies. So to help our customers, Allstar have partnered with the UK's largest independent vehicle glass repair and replacement company - National Windscreens. This means you can use your existing Allstar card to pay for all vehicle glass repair and replacements. It can even provide savings on the price of a new screen of up to 20%. Find out more about this service here