504 Emory St, San Jose, California 95110

(408) 564-0419


(408) 564-0419 (408) 564-0419
504 Emory St, San Jose, California 95110

Windshield Sensor

As technology in motor vehicles improves, more and more new models are coming with automatic sensors built-in upon release. These sensors can do anything from sensing rain to automate the wipers to sensing light and regulating the strength of the headlights.

Now, while these sensors are incredibly useful to aid your driving, they do present a few extra problems when it comes to replacements in the event of a damaged windshield. So let’s look today at the different kinds of sensors you can find on your vehicle and how they affect you day to day.

What sensors can you get?

The main sensors that you get on a windshield come in 2 forms:

  • A light sensor
  • A rain sensor

These sensors assist with 2 of the most common tasks you can do with a vehicle; turning on and off the windshield wipers and the headlights.

These are incredibly handy to automate simple tasks such as ensuring foglights, full beams, and how powerful the wipers are depending on the weather. But you should not rely on them as they can prove to not produce the desired results if left to their own devices. Use them, but don’t rely on them.

Does your vehicle have a sensor?

What sensors are available will vary wildly depending on the make and model of the vehicle. However, most vehicles produced within the last 5+ will most likely come fitted with one sensor or another. If in doubt you can always refer to the vehicle handbook as it will have the most information available to be able to answer that question.

If you wish to check this visually, then look at the rearview mirror from outside of the cabin. You should see a small film/lens on the bottom of the mirror housing. This will show that there is at least some kind of sensor available in the vehicle.

A light sensor is also usually around the same place as the rain sensor, although it may also be on the mirror itself or on the dashboard. Have a look around on your vehicle to see what you can find and you can make a judgment from there as to which sensor it is.

If my windshield is cracked or chipped, do I need to replace my light sensor?

When a windshield is cracked or chipped you usually don’t have to replace the sensors unless they have been damaged also. If the sensors wires have been damaged or removed from their housing during the incident that broke the windshield then you may have to have them replaced as well.

However, if they have not been damaged in any way then you may be able to replace the windshield or repair it without removing it, and the sensors will remain working.

If the windshield does require replacing and your vehicle does have either or both of the sensors, then you need to take it to a qualified and trained repair technician to ensure that they remain intact.

If you attempt to do such repairs to your windshield yourself and you are not qualified or trained to do so, you seriously run the risk of causing irreparable damage to your sensors and their housings.

Always take your windshields to a reputable repair shop to ensure that they are fixed correctly and that the sensors are ok.

How much do the sensors cost to replace?

Replacement costs are going to vary greatly depending on the make and model of the vehicle as well as the severity of the damage to the sensor. Of course, you also have to factor in the potential cost of the windshield replacement as well, which can be up over $500 if it isn’t something covered by your insurance company.

Of course, you can always speak to your insurance company and see if the damage is something that they will cover depending on the situation in which they were damaged.

Failing all of this the cost of the work could easily become hundreds of dollars so just be aware of this if you need them to be repaired.


Your windshield sensors are an excellent piece of equipment that can contribute greatly to your driving experience. Whilst you shouldn’t take them for granted and rely only on them to perform certain tasks, they can take your thoughts away from having to constantly change your settings all the time. Just be aware that if you do need to replace or fix your sensors that the cost will be higher if you need to also replace your windshield.