How To Properly Conduct Windshield Replacement

Broken car windshield glass from stone. Damaged windscreen on vehicle, close up

Most people don’t know that the windshield of their car is a safety device. A windshield helps in reducing car crash injuries in addition to its role of protecting the driver and passengers from debris, water, and wind. The driver’s or passenger’s life could be saved by a windshield. But, how?  Well, the windshield actually blocks penetration of most outside objects into the vehicle interior. The windshield is also playing a critical role in airbag deployment for front passengers in many cars. Finally, it helps prevent the vehicle roof from collapsing, together with the rear window, in a rollover.

In addition to the abovementioned safety features, windshield damage can also compromise driver vision. That’s why checking the glass components of your vehicle, especially the windshield, for problems regularly is of utmost importance. 

Inspecting And Cleaning The Windshield

Use microfiber towels or soft cotton and non-ammonia cleaners that will remove grime and dirt without causing streaks to keep the glass parts of your car, especially the windshield, clean. Window tints, as well as upholstery materials and dash, can be damaged by ammonia-based cleaners.

So, what do you need to look for when you perform an auto glass inspection?  Here are some tips to ponder on:

  • As airborne particles hit your car’s glass at high speeds, there can be tiny micro-pits buildup on your windshield over time. When illuminated by a rising or setting sun or oncoming headlights, these pits reduce vision. Replacement is the only practical fix option for you if you got a badly pitted windshield.
  • Check the glass for chips and cracks, inside and out. Small cracks, and minor ‘bullseye’ or ‘star’ rock chips may be repairable. However, if you find any significant damage, it’s best to contact an auto glass specialist, like Discount Auto Glass, to arrange for the process of repairing or replacing your windshield. Of course, you should also contact your insurance company. 
  • Make sure that your rubber windshield wiper blades stay pliable and soft. They should also be able to clear water in a single swipe. The glass can be scratched by the metal wiper if you got brittle blades and they break.
  • Check for any damage to surrounding bodywork. Do it by inspecting the edges of the glass. Structural integrity may be weakened by any problems affecting the glass’s seal to the body.

Repairing The Windshield

Auto glass specialists can now repair many windshield damage types, thanks to innovative materials and processes available nowadays. Note that some car insurance companies cover glass repairs without deductible because windshield repair costs less than replacement. However, there are also carriers that prefer replacing damage windshield instead of repairing them.

What determines whether or not your windshield is suitable for repair is the location and size of a crack or chip. Cracks that are less than several inches long and chips that are smaller than a quarter are usually repairable. It’s essential to note, however, that there are states that don’t allow repairing glass in areas directly in the line of sight of the driver. That’s because even small fixes can create distortion that affects visibility and safety. Any windshield with a crack that extends from an edge should also be replaced, as recommended by most glass specialists. A repair is likely to be ineffective in these types of cracks since they tend to spread easily and quickly.

So, how does a glass with chips and cracks get repaired?  The process involves injection of a polymer resin directly into the damaged area. The area should, then, be allowed to dry before smoothing the surface so that the imperfection becomes nearly invisible. Of course, the technician’s skill when doing the work and the quality of the resins and tools will determine the repair’s outcome. Also, while there are available do-it-yourself glass repair kits in the market and even online, the repair job is better left to experts in most instances. That’s because professional car glass technicians have advanced resins and more sophisticated tools that help in ensuring a satisfactory repair.

Costs For Windshield Repairs

It’s essential to note that the cost for a windshield repair may vary by damage type, auto glass service provider, and location. When additional chips have to be fixed on the same windshield, discounts may apply. Longer cracks may cost more than a hundred dollars to repair, but regular cracks have similar prices to chips.

Windshield Replacement

Vehicle safety is the top consideration when replacing a windshield. That’s why the use of the proper techniques and materials is important. Motorists should always choose an auto glass company that’s registered as an official member of authority organizations, like the Auto Glass Safety Council. The auto glass business should also employ certified technicians.

Auto insurance policies have a comprehensive portion that covers windshield replacement, less any applicable deductible. Waiving of deductible for windshield replacement is even required for insurance policies in a few states. Of course, it’s a way of supporting driving safety because it allows motorists to have their damaged glass promptly replaced by an auto glass company at no cost.

Third-party companies are often used by insurance carriers in managing windshield replacement claims. Qualified installers will typically be recommended by these companies to vehicle owners. The referrals, however, aren’t required to be accepted by car owners. The owners still have the final say when it comes to who’ll perform the glass repair.

Here are considerations to make when doing windshield replacement.

  • Be wary of lowball prices that usually come from cut-rate installers. Some of them are actually using low-quality glass that may not really meet all the standards of the original equipment. Some bargain windshields, for example, have optical distortion that could distract the driver. A better piece of windshield glass is called for when a significant ‘ripple’ appears as the reflection of a graph paper perpendicularly held to the glass.
  • If you have ADAS or an advanced driver assistance system equipped on your car, and it uses a camera that’s mounted behind the windshield, you may require an original equipment replacement glass. Since the windshield now helps drive the car, it’s also important to calibrate the ADAS system after installing the new glass. Some car glass installation service provides can perform the calibration on some cars. In many cases, however, your car has to be taken to your dealer for the procedure.
  • Inspect the work after the process of windshield installation gets completed. Check for proper centering and make sure that the glass is actually flush with the body. The gap between the car body and the glass must be consistent in both sides, from the top going down. 
  • There should be no visible gaps and bumps if a molding is utilized. The molding should lie flat around the glass and should be even all the way. 
  • Also, there should be indications of air leaks present around the glass, like a ‘whistling’ sound when driving. Contact the installer and have the problems corrected if you find any issue.

Tips On Taking Care Of A Newly Replaced Windshield

You need to take extra care of your windshield once it gets replaced to minimize further damaging your pocket. To help you do that better, check out the following tips:

  • Be Gentle

Wait for at least one hour before getting into your vehicle and driving it after you get a replacement for your windshield. It’s a way for you to provide time for the urethane adhesive to set and harden. The windshield won’t get firmly installed into your car’s frame if you fail to follow this tip. 

The following 24 hours are also very crucial. Handle your car very gently during this time. Don’t take the vehicle through rough terrain or slam the car door, especially when windows are all shut.

  • Avoid Removing The Retention Tape

Retention tape helps in fixing the molding positioning. It also helps in keeping the glass in place until its completely cured. Yes, it may not be adding anything to your car’s aesthetic appeal, but it’s recommended to let the retention tape stay on for the next 24-28 hours.

  • Wait For At Least Three Days Before Washing Your Car

Don’t wash your vehicle yourself or take it to a car wash immediately after getting your windshield replaced. What’s recommended is to let at least three days pass before getting your vehicle washed. Again, it’s important to give the moldings more time to really get fixed into place.

  • Windows Should Be Kept Open

The integrity of the windshield glass may be threatened by the air pressure building up in a car. It’s recommended to have a window gap of about ¼ inch all the time to prevent any cracks or leaks. That way, you can keep the pressure equalized.

  • Change Your Route

It’s recommended that you change your route if the windshield replacement was carried out on account of poorly constructed, rough roads, or some form of vandalism. Keep your car and yourself safe by driving along other route and parking in different, shady spots.

Final Thoughts

With so many sellers and service providers clouding the market even without any authorization, it can be quite scary to have your car’s windshield replaced. If what you’re looking for is expert treatment for your windshield, then, the windshield replacement discussion in this post should help you make the right decisions and choose the right people to work on your car. 

 

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Will Hopstetter

Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.
Will Hopstetter
Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.