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Ask a Mechanic...A costly windshield replacement

By Brian Early Wheels.ca

Jul 10, 2022 3 min. read

Article was updated 3 months ago

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Dear Ask a Mechanic,

A couple of months ago, the windshield in our almost brand-new Nissan Rogue got cracked by a large stone and had to be replaced. My wife and I were shocked by the price of this repair, which was more than $2,200 with tax. It was explained to us that the high cost was partly due to some of the features our vehicle model includes. We went through our insurance for this claim. Does the cost seem out of line to you? Could a less expensive windshield be used if this were ever to happen again? – Glazed and confuse

Thankfully, this reader supplied a copy of his paperwork, which explained some of the factors that went into the cost of the windshield replacement. The reader’s 2021 Nissan Rogue has the Platinum trim options, including noise-reducing acoustic laminated glass used in the windshield and a special reflective area for the heads-up display. Like all 2021 Rogues, the windshield also has a spot for the collision mitigation and lane-departure warning system camera.

The documentation shows that the insurance company specified the use of original equipment manufacturer glass for the replacement, which is nice, since it makes the vehicle feel like new. Aftermarket glass varies in quality, from virtually indistinguishable from the original to a “funhouse mirror” feel. Costs often range just as widely.

When a vehicle model is very new and includes unique features, the aftermarket may not yet produce replacement glass for it. I spoke to Indar Boodram, owner of Aarons Auto Glass in Ajax, who confirmed that aftermarket options do exist for this model.

Boodram said that he would charge around $800 installed for a PGW-brand windshield – his preferred manufacturer – as he feels it’s equivalent in quality to the original manufacturer. He said the cost would be higher if he used Nissan glass, since he would need to purchase it from the dealer.

Even so, he’s confident that working directly with a glass installer should be less expensive, as many dealerships would “sub-out” the job to one anyway.

One thing that many independents don’t, or can’t, do is recalibrating the safety camera, which Nissan charged the reader $250 for. Boodram said that he’s never had any issues without calibration, provided quality glass was used.

Finally, when asked whether the Rogue owner could use a windshield from a lower-trim version, which still has the camera but lacked the acoustic layer, Boodram said in many cases you can, but the quality of the heads-up image would be reduced. Also reduced is the cost, by approximately half, so while not ideal, it’d be a viable option as this vehicle ages.

Ask a Mechanic is written by Brian Early, a Red Seal-certified automotive technician. You can send your questions to wheels@thestar.ca. These answers are for informational purposes only. Please consult a certified mechanic before having any work done to your vehicle.

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