All About Auto Glass Repair

Lousy drivers, crummy weather or perhaps some good old road construction can become the cause of damage to your car’s front windscreen. These factors might even damage the other auto glass parts on your car too. Anyone who has driven the I-5 thru south Orange County lately knows what I am talking about. Even with brand new shocks on all 4 wheels, I wonder at times if I am still on a paved road. Mr. Toads Wild Ride anyone?

Anyway, the very first thought that pops into our mind is what is going to be the cost for auto glass repair. And hoping that you can avoid replacing the windscreen. As you can probably gather, auto glass repair is always less money than replacement. Sometimes ALOT less. Cars and trucks with ADAS fit this description. So what do you do?

Auto Glass Repair vs. Replacement?

To the outside world, repair and replace mean pretty much the same thing. Within the auto glass industry, they are vastly different terms. A few decades ago, some very clever people came up with the idea of filling small holes and cracks in the front windshield with a special resin. This process is now known as windshield repair. Or auto glass repair. And most commonly as rock chip repair.

This process put an end to the days of an automatic windshield replacement on really small dings. It also ended the automatic removal of large chunks of cash from your wallet. Due to the constant improvements in resin quality, injector tools and curing lamps, the auto glass repair end result is excellent. Not only in terms of preventing the crack from further expansion, but also the clarity of the damaged area.

girl breaking windshield with baseball batIn the case of major glass damage, your windshield must be replaced. And in the case with ADAS equipped vehicles, the cost can easily run into the 4-figure range. Lane departure warning and forward collision alert systems are all part of ADAS. Cameras allow for these systems to work. And the software must be re-calibrated anytime a windshield is replaced on vehicles with these systems. Current fees for this service seem to range from $300-500 range. Bear in mind this does NOT include the cost of glass, labor and materials. Isn’t technology wonderful?

The Auto Glass Repair Process

While windshield replacement requires the removal of the entire glass and installation of a new one, the repair process keeps the current windshield in place. And in the case of the factory installed glass, the original seal, the adhesive bond between glass and car, is kept intact too.

Auto glass repair entails completely filling the damaged area of the windshield with our high-quality resin, curing the resin with our high-powered LED curing lamp and then patching and polishing the surface damage. When done correctly by a trained and experienced profession (such as yours truly), the structural integrity of the windshield is restored to pre rock chip condition PLUS the damaged area looks almost like new.

I said almost. It will never be perfect. If you need perfect, break out your wallet and spring for a whole new windshield. This is your trade off. And ultimately your decision. But if you can live with some very minor flaws, the repair process will definitely save you money. And in the case of the newer ADAS equipped cars, ALOT of money.

Moral of the story: Get a small chip, get it repaired right away. If you are looking for auto glass repair in the south Orange County area, First Choice Windshield Repair can help. We specialize in rock chip repairs, performing well over 10,000 of them since opening in 2008.

Windshield Integrity Can Keep You Alive

Although windshield repair can seem like simple auto maintenance, it really isn’t. Just like an onion has many layers, so does the front windshield. It’s not just a piece of glass. Your windscreen protects you from weather, wind, rain, debris and bugs from entering the passenger compartment. It also helps keep the environment inside the car stable and calm. However, your windshield serves a much more important and greater purpose.

The front windshield is a critical component of your car’s ability to keep the driver and passengers safe. This is commonly referred as the Supplementary Restraint System (SRS). The SRS is found in all vehicles and is designed to provide protection against serious injury as well as death when an accident occurs. ALL vehicle’s front windshield provides a large percentage of the vehicle’s passenger compartment structural integrity. In the case of a rollover accident, this “piece of glass” is the main thing keeping you and your passengers among the living. Everyone should consider the front windshield just as important as your seat belts and airbags.

Windshield Importance in Collisions And Rollovers

vector image of car rolled overWant to know just how important a properly installed windshield is? Of course you do. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that roughly 1/3 of the American highway fatalities occur after people are ejected from a vehicle. Many of these occur during rollovers. The National Glass Association (NGA) has confirmed that a large percentage of those fatalities occur because the windshield does not remain firmly bonded to the vehicle.

Almost all the cases of death by rollover is due to an improper replacement of a windshield. Meaning the installation was done by a glass company and not the factory. The main issue here is a poorly installed windshield will not remain firmly bonded to the body of the vehicle during a severe crash or rollover. The NHTSA states that rollovers account for just 3% of all collisions and accidents but are responsible for about 31% of crash and accident fatalities. Additionally, most rollovers involve just the one car.

Auto Glass Considerations

My guess is that for most people out there, this might come as a surprise. Maybe a shock. Good. It should. Replacing a windshield is a very exact procedure and it’s most important function is to restore the vehicle to factory safety standards. Making it look pretty is a far less important feature. For those individuals out there who will make 17 phone calls to save $5.00, hopefully this will stimulate the grey matter between your ears to ask the more important questions.

One of the best ways of avoiding the consequences of a poor installation is to have small windshield cracks repaired immediately. Don’t allow the damaged to grow if you can help it. First Choice has specialized in windshield repair since 2008 and have performed over 10,000 rock chip repairs. Keeping the front windshield factory seal intact is one way to ensure your car is safe for you and your passengers.

ADAS And Windshield Repair

The replacement of front windscreens and the method vehicles must be (re) calibrated is evolving fast. Calibration is the process of re-setting an automobile’s Advance Driver-Assisted System (ADAS) back to the vehicles original factory specifications. This process is necessary after a camera mounted windshield is replaced due to road debris or an accident. Calibration ensures the ADAS features will continue to function properly.

Modern passenger cars and commercial vehicles need a safer and more efficient windshield replacement procedures. The windscreen serves as the backboard during an air bag deployment and todays automobiles are stiffened by bonded windshields. If a windscreen is not installed effectively, it can come loose in an accident and separate from the cars or truck body, causing major injuries or worse. Presence of ADAS does increase the difficulty of doing a good quality windscreen replacement because it is not as basic as just replacing the glass. And, the usage of non certified auto glass replacement adhesives with poor process handling can lead to come backs, safety dangers and customer frustration.

ADAS Auto Glass Details

Today’s passenger cars and commercial truck are developed with light-weight materials and utilize cutting edge ADAS innovation such as automotive imaging, LIDAR, radar or in-car networking. Such systems can prevent mishaps from taking place or at least actively help the motorist to decrease the chances of a mishap. A properly set up windshield supports the function of numerous security systems such as video cameras and the radar system.

Cam and radar are sensitive to geometric and optical tolerances, glass density and mass of the windshield. The software application is fine-tuned for each windscreen variation and demands incredibly stringent optical tolerances to function as intended. These ADAS systems can be impacted in case of the replacement of a windscreen which is implementing mechanical alignment modifications.

diagram of ADAS types available on today's vehicles

This could be either static, dynamic or both. Static calibration is carried out in a specifically tailored workshop environment, without needing to drive the automobile. Static calibration needs the usage of specialized device’s such as cam and sensor calibration (CSC) tools. Dynamic calibration needs driving the car to complete the ADAS calibration procedure. The calibration is finished with the aid of a hand-held unit plugged in straight into the automobile. The car will need to be driven at the OE maker specified speed and in excellent weather as a part of the windshield replacement process.

Rock Chip Repair and ADAS

The point is this: Newer cars and truck with ADAS is a difficult and expensive repair. IF, the damage to the windshield is small and not in front of the camera, there is a great chance the rock chip repair service can be performed. And for a whole lot less money. Don’t wait on this. Call us today for your windshield repair.

Windshields With ADAS

Auto Glass Repair And ADAS

If you have purchased a new car in the last few years, you might have been told it was equipped with a Lane Departure Warning System, a Forward Collision Alert System or even an Adaptive Cruise Control System. These are all fancy terms for another fancy term: ADAS, otherwise known as Advanced Driver Assisted Systems. ADAS is the umbrella under which all of these terms would sit. So, why would a rock chip repair guy be writing about this? Glad you asked.

types of advanced driver assisted systems

Typical ADAS sensors. LIDAR is not yet used in production vehicles. (Image: Texas Instruments)

What Is ADAS?

These are advanced features designed to increase driver and passenger safety. I know – you probably could have guessed this. Here is a little more detail: The ADAS cameras and sensors are often part of the vehicle’s rear view mirror assembly and sit very close to the front windshield. These items bring in outside information to the driver of the car. This connection of man and machine improves the drivers ability to react to dangerous road conditions or correct driver error by reducing reaction times to potentially harmful situations. These systems can even actively prevent accidents by automatically correcting the steering or applying the brakes to reduce the chances of having an accident.

These cameras and sensors quite sensitive. Optical clarity and glass thickness will affect their efficiency. The software that runs this system is fine tuned to the glass thickness and optical tolerances and clarity at the factory. So, if a windshield doesn’t meet original equipment (OEM) specs, there is a very good chance these systems won’t work properly. And each auto manufacturer has their own unique set of specifications. A few months back the Auto Glass Safety Council released a checklist of vehicles that require ADAS recalibration after front windshield replacement.

Repairing An ADAS Equipped Windshield

Replacing a windshield without ADAS is relatively simple vs one with ADAS. Not only does the new windshield have to be positioned properly, glass shops have to make sure the cameras are calibrated properly after the new windshield is installed. Neglecting to do this could result in failures through out the cars ADAS and could even result in a collision which could have been avoided.

Many car dealers and manufacturers recommend replacing the windshield with and original OEM part. When combining the cost of an OEM part with the fee charged for ADAS recalibration, AAA found that the average cost of replacing a windshield with an OEM part on a vehicle equipped with windshield dependent ADAS ranged from $1,300—$1,650.

Obviously, this is ALOT of money. If you end up with a rock chip on one of these windshields, the best thing you can do is get this repaired right away in order to avoid the MUCH more costly option of replacement. However, there is one condition. If the damage is located in front of the camera or sensor, it should not be repaired – and should be replaced. Good thing is that this is a very small area of the windshield. Naturally, if you decide on the repair option, you should contact First Choice for this type of auto glass repair.

Rock Chip Blunders

5 Common Windshield Rock Chip Blunders

Keeping your vehicle front windshield in good condition is of critical value. The big ideas is that a damaged windscreen is potentially life threatening. Therefore, utilizing a professional for this type of service just makes sense. Read on further to see some of typical mistakes some make with broken or chipped glass on their cars and trucks.

1. Overlooking Small Rock Chips

rock chip star crack

A lot of people will ignore a tiny crack or chip in their front windshield. This is not wise. Why? The longer the existing damage is not addressed, the higher the chance of it spreading becomes. And once it spreads, you no longer have the opportunity to do a windshield repair, leaving you with the more, and sometimes MUCH more costly option of replacing the entire piece of glass.

So, you might consider taking your automobile to an expert in order to get the chip repaired as quickly as possible. Paraphrasing an old commercial, “You can either pay now or pay later. But later is ALWAYS more.”

2. Attempting To Repair It Yourself

If you are not an expert, do not attempt to act like one. It probably won’t end well for you. Glass specialists can discover the degree of the damage and then suggest the best course of action for you to take. They have the training, tools and experience to make this problem disappear.
And about those DIY kits you see in the store or online…they remind me of a saying my parents used to tell me as a kid: “If you can’t say anything nice…”

3. Utilizing YouTube


You can utilize online videos sites like YouTube or Vimeo for guides and tutorials. However, they are not enough to assist you fix or change your car’s windshield without making expensive errors. While the guides or videos may make it look like a walk in the park, repairing a damaged glass the wrong way can be a expensive affair. Plus, there is always the chance and injury could occur.

4. Not Allowing Enough time to the Curing Process

Another typical error is that wanna be mechanics tend to be a little bit impatient to drive their automobiles after the windshield repair work or replacement. In the case of replacements, it is much better to await the recommended number of hours as adhesives need some time to cure. Depending on the product, the car should not move from anywhere from 1 to 6 hours.

It is crucial to understand a damaged windscreen is not simple to fix. Qualified technicians utilize their experience and the proper tools plus determining if the surrounding conditions will allow for a proper installation.

5. Not Hiring A Professional

Long story short, if you have a damaged windscreen, we recommend that you employ the services of a specialist. All you require to do is call your local expert or contact them through their website for a quote or to set up an appointment.

Have you been trying to find an car glass repair work specialist? In the case of small rock chips, we recommend that you get in touch with us right away. If you need to have a windshield or some other glass piece replaced, we do not perform this type of service. But, we can point you in the right direction, if you wish.

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