Magic Windshields - BLOG - Will a Chipped Toyota Highlander Windshield Pass Vehicle Safety Inspection

Will a Chipped Toyota Highlander Windshield Pass Vehicle Safety Inspection?

As a Toyota Highlander owner, maintaining the integrity of your vehicle is crucial, especially when it comes to safety features such as the windshield. Your Toyota windshield is essential for visibility and plays a critical role in the car’s structural integrity. However, vehicle owners find themselves in a predicament in the case of a chipped windshield. Will a chipped or cracked windshield pass inspection? Here’s what Toyota owners need to know.

Understanding Vehicle Safety Inspection Regulations

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To determine whether a chipped windshield will pass inspection, it’s important to understand the regulations governing vehicle inspections in your region. These regulations vary by state and country, but there are common guidelines that most follow.

Visibility and Safety Standards for Your Toyota Windshield and Others

Most jurisdictions have strict visibility and safety standards. These regulations ensure that the driver has an unobstructed view of the road. Typically, any damage within the driver’s line of sight can be grounds for failing an inspection. This includes chips, cracks, or any other imperfections that impair visibility.

Federal and State Guidelines

In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides detailed specifications for commercial vehicle windshields. These regulations set restrictions on the size and location of chips and cracks as well as prohibit any obstructions from being present in the wipers’ sweep area. States often adopt similar standards for non-commercial vehicles, though the specifics can vary.

In general, the auto glass should be solid and free of anything that could get in the way of the driver’s view. Even if your vehicle completed its annual inspection a few months ago, you may still be subject to penalties for modifications that have been made since then. A broken window makes you more likely to be fined for faulty equipment.

This is different in each state because each has its own rules and laws about what kinds of legal car accessories are allowed, so it’s important to check the laws in your area. Any windshield damage should be looked at by a professional immediately because it could be dangerous, even if it’s not against the law.

While Arizona has no particular rules concerning windshield cracks and chips, any damage should be addressed as soon as possible. Windshield cracks or chips can reduce visibility and undermine its structural integrity, creating a safety concern.

International Standards

Outside the U.S., vehicle inspection standards can also be stringent. For instance, the Standards of Vehicle Equipment Regulations in Nova Scotia mandate that the windshield must not be broken, shattered, or otherwise damaged in a way that impairs the driver’s view. These international guidelines emphasize the importance of maintaining a clear and unobstructed view through the windshield.

Size and Location of the Chip

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The size and location of the chip are crucial factors in determining whether a windshield will pass inspection.

  • Size Specifications

Generally, if a chip is smaller than the size of a quarter and is not in the driver’s direct line of sight, it may not affect the inspection results. However, the specific measurements can vary. For example, some guidelines allow for small chips (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) and cracks (up to 3 inches long) in areas outside the critical vision area.

  • Critical Vision Area

The critical vision area is typically defined as the area directly in front of the driver, usually encompassing the width of the steering wheel and extending up to the height of the windshield wipers. Damage within this area is more likely to cause inspection failure because it directly affects the driver’s ability to see the road. Even minor chips in this zone can be grounds for rejection, as they can distort the driver’s view and potentially lead to hazardous situations.

  • Structural Integrity

Besides visibility, the structural integrity of the windshield is another consideration. A chip might seem minor, but it can compromise the windshield’s ability to withstand impacts and protect occupants during a collision. Windshields contribute significantly to the overall strength of the vehicle’s cabin and support the proper deployment of airbags. Thus, extensive damage, particularly if it spreads over time, poses significant safety risks and inspection concerns [1].

So, understanding and adhering to visibility and safety standards, along with considering the size and location of windshield chips, is essential for passing vehicle inspections. Whether you are dealing with federal guidelines in the U.S. or international standards, maintaining a clear and structurally sound windshield is crucial for both legal compliance and personal safety.

Types of Windshield Damage Checked During Vehicle Safety Inspection

Understanding the different types of windshield damage can help you assess whether your chipped windshield will pass inspection.

Bullseye Chip

A bullseye chip is a circular chip that results from the impact of a round object, such as a rock or hailstone. These chips can vary in size from small, minor imperfections to larger, more noticeable damage. If a bullseye chip is small and located outside the driver’s direct line of sight, it may not impact the inspection. However, if the chip is large or situated within the critical vision area, it is likely to cause inspection failure. This type of damage can often be repaired if caught early, but larger bullseye chips may necessitate a full windshield replacement.

Star Break

A star break is characterized by a central impact point with several cracks radiating outward, resembling a star. This type of damage is particularly problematic because it can quickly worsen, with the cracks spreading over time. If a star break occurs within the driver’s line of sight, it is almost certain to fail an inspection due to the potential for further cracking and the impairment of visibility. Even star breaks outside the critical vision area need prompt attention to prevent them from expanding and compromising the windshield’s integrity.

Combination Break

A combination break involves multiple types of damage, such as a bullseye chip combined with cracks or a star break. The complexity and spread of the damage typically mean that a combination break is more severe and more likely to lead to an inspection failure. These types of breaks can obscure vision and weaken the windshield’s structure significantly, making them a priority for repair or replacement. The repairability of combination breaks depends on the size and extent of the damage; however, they often require more extensive repairs compared to isolated chips or cracks.


Cracks are linear fractures in the windshield glass that can vary greatly in length. Long cracks, especially those exceeding six inches, are particularly problematic. These cracks can compromise the structural integrity of the windshield, making it less effective in protecting the vehicle’s occupants during a collision. Cracks can also spread over time due to temperature changes and vehicle vibrations. For these reasons, long cracks are a common reason for inspection failures. Even shorter cracks, if located in the driver’s line of sight, can result in a failed inspection due to the potential for further expansion and visibility impairment.

Edge Cracks

Edge cracks originate within two inches of the windshield’s edge and can extend around the perimeter. The stress from improper installation or structural weakness at the glass’s edges frequently causes these cracks. Edge cracks are particularly concerning because they can compromise the entire windshield’s integrity, making it more susceptible to shattering. Due to their location and potential impact on the vehicle’s structural support, edge cracks almost always result in inspection failure and typically require a full windshield replacement [3].

Floater Cracks

Floater cracks start in the middle of the windshield, away from the edges. These cracks can vary in length and severity, but they are less likely to cause immediate structural issues compared to edge cracks. However, if a floater crack is long or located within the driver’s field of vision, it can still result in inspection failure. These cracks can often be repaired if they are short and not extensively spread; otherwise, replacement might be necessary [5].

Chips and Pits

Chips and pits are small areas of damage typically caused by debris impacts. While a single small chip or pit might not fail an inspection if it is outside the driver’s line of sight, multiple chips or larger pits can be problematic. They can distort the driver’s view and may spread into more significant cracks over time. Prompt repair of chips and pits can prevent further damage and help pass vehicle inspections.

Understanding these various types of windshield damage and their implications can help you take appropriate action to ensure your windshield is in a condition that will pass inspection. Regular checks and prompt repairs are crucial in maintaining both the safety and legality of your vehicle.

The Impact on Windshield Safety Features

A chipped or cracked windshield can affect the performance of other safety features in your Toyota. Modern vehicles often integrate Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as lane departure warning, automatic braking, and collision avoidance systems. These systems rely on sensors and cameras that are often mounted near the windshield. Any damage to the windshield can interfere with the accuracy of these systems, compromising safety and inspection outcomes.

Repair or Replacement: What to Do Before a Vehicle Safety Inspection?

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If your windshield is chipped, you have two primary options: repair or replacement. The best course of action depends on the extent of the damage and its implications for a vehicle safety inspection.

When to Repair

Repair is typically feasible when the chip or crack is small, not in the driver’s direct line of sight, and does not exceed a few inches. Professional repair services can fill the chips with resin, restoring the windshield’s integrity and clarity. This option is often more cost-effective and can prevent the damage from spreading, thus maintaining the windshield’s structural integrity and ensuring it meets vehicle safety inspection standards.

When to Replace

Replacement is necessary when the damage is extensive, such as long cracks or multiple chips. Replacement ensures that the windshield can perform its role in vehicle safety effectively. It’s also often required for inspection compliance, as significant damage can impair visibility and weaken the windshield, leading to an inspection failure. Ensuring your windshield is in top condition is crucial for passing a vehicle safety inspection and maintaining the overall safety of your vehicle.

Cost Considerations

The cost of windshield repair or replacement can vary. Repair is generally less expensive, costing between $50 and $150, while replacement can range from $200 to $500 or more, depending on your vehicle model and whether you opt for an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or aftermarket windshield. Weighing these costs against the necessity of passing a vehicle safety inspection can help determine the best course of action.

Insurance Coverage

Check your insurance policy, as many providers cover windshield repair or replacement. Comprehensive coverage often includes glass damage, and some insurers even offer no-deductible options for windshield repairs. Understanding your insurance coverage can significantly offset costs and ensure you are compliant with vehicle safety inspection requirements. Reviewing your policy details before scheduling repairs can save time and money, ensuring you meet all necessary inspection standards.

By considering the extent of the damage, cost implications, and insurance coverage, you can make an informed decision on whether to repair or replace your windshield, ensuring your vehicle passes the safety inspection and remains safe on the road.

Preparing for Vehicle Safety Inspection

To ensure your Toyota passes a vehicle safety inspection, take the following steps:

Inspect the Damage

Evaluate the size and location of the chip on your Toyota windshield. If it’s in the driver’s line of sight or larger than a quarter, consider repair or replacement. Chips and cracks in critical areas can obstruct vision and lead to an inspection failure. Ensuring that your windshield is clear and intact is crucial for passing the vehicle safety inspection.

Seek Professional Assessment

Consult with a professional windshield repair service. They can provide a detailed assessment of the damage and recommend whether repair or replacement is necessary. Professionals use specialized tools and techniques to determine the best course of action, ensuring your windshield meets the safety standards required for the vehicle safety inspection.

Schedule Repairs Promptly

Don’t delay repairs. Windshield damage can worsen over time due to temperature changes and road vibrations. Prompt repair or replacement not only improves your chances of passing the inspection but also maintains the structural integrity of your vehicle. Timely intervention can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems that might require a full windshield replacement.

Document Repairs

Keep records of any repairs or replacements. Documentation can be useful during the inspection process to demonstrate that the issue has been addressed. Detailed records help inspectors verify that the windshield damage has been professionally repaired, ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

Legal and Safety Implications

Driving with a chipped or cracked windshield not only risks failing the vehicle safety inspection but also has legal and safety implications. Most regions have laws against driving with obstructed views, and failure to comply can result in fines. More importantly, a damaged windshield compromises your safety and that of your passengers. Ensuring your windshield is in good condition is essential for safe driving and legal compliance.


Whether a chipped Toyota windshield will pass a vehicle safety inspection depends on the size, location, and extent of the damage. Small chips that are not in the driver’s line of sight may pass, while larger or more critical damage will likely result in a vehicle safety inspection failure. You can check out this Windshield Replacement Guide to learn more.

Your Toyota windshield is critical to driving safety. Even smudges and dirt may make driving risky because they limit visibility. If you’ve ever driven with a dirty windshield in direct sunlight, you know how dangerous it can be and how distracting it is while you’re trying to concentrate on the road. Magic Windshield’s Toyota windshield service center highly recommends frequent windshield maintenance for both your and your passengers’ safety.

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If you encounter any issues or want expert assistance in the case of a cracked or chipped windshield, do not hesitate to contact reputable vehicle repair shops or windshield professionals. For Arizona residents, Magic Windshields is your top auto glass repair provider. We provide skilled repairs and smooth replacements to ensure clear windshield vision wherever you go. 

So, visit us at 302 W Melinda Ln #4, Phoenix, AZ 85027, or call (623) 267-4756 to schedule an appointment and maintain your Corolla’s visibility as good as its performance. Visit the Magic Windshields Facebook page to stay up-to-date on our latest projects.

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