Should I fix a chipped windshield on my leased vehicle before I turn it in?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who noticed a chip in his leased vehicle's windshield.

Shaun Arsenault  works on removing a car windshield in Exeter, N.H.
Shaun Arsenault works on removing a car windshield in Exeter, N.H. –Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe

Q. The lease on my Hyundai is coming to an end. I’ve noticed a small, round chip on the windshield that’s the size of the tip of a pencil eraser. Some friends have advised that I replace the windshield, or else I’ll be charged for this chip by the leasing company. Others have said not to bother since it’s small. I called Hyundai and they were of no help. Do you think I should replace the windshield to avoid a financial penalty?

A. In most cases, the lease agreement will spell out what’s considered normal wear and tear. I was recently looking at a lease agreement on an Audi, and it required that the tires had a minimum tread depth, paint damage couldn’t be bigger than a typical business card, and the windshield had to be free of chips in the wiper area. If this were my car, I would consider having the windshield repaired, not replaced. The cost is minimal. Some insurance companies will pay for glass repair. I’ve had many windshields repaired over the years, and the results have been very good. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.