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.

Boat Rock Chip Repair

Rock Chip Repair On Other Types Of Glass

Most people have now heard of rock chip repair. The service is just like it sounds: repairing a small amount of damage on the windshield caused by a rock that was kicked up by a vehicle in front of you. However, I have had this question asked of me a lot lately: “What kind of glass besides the front windshield can you do the rock chip repair service on?” Not sure of the reason but I figure now is as good as any to answer it.

To be capable of being repaired, the glass MUST be laminated. Absolutely. Without question. You may be asking to yourself: “What the heck is laminated glass anyway?” Well, good ‘ole Wikipedia defines laminated glass as “a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), between its two or more layers of glass”.

ham sandwich; ham between 2 slices of breadEnough of the geek speak. Think of it like a sandwich. There are 2 layers of glass (the bread) with a piece of plastic laminate (the meat) in the middle. In the case of a typical rock chip repair, only the outer layer of the glass is damaged. Due to the manufacturing process, the assembled glass (laminated) is considerably stronger and more durable than just a single layer of glass. And it is because of this assembly that the windshield repair process is made possible. Why? When injecting the specially formulated resin into the damaged area, it can only go as far as the cracks go until that area is full. If this were attempted on just a single layer of glass, the resin would seep out the opposite surface of the glass when pressure is applied.

Glass Repair On Boats

Yes, the rock chip repair service, and even longer cracks, can be performed on boat (ship, vessel, yacht, etc.) glass. As long as it’s laminated. And, oddly enough, we have been called out to perform the windshield repair service a few times in the local marina. After speaking with several boat owners, doing the repair vs. replacement is preferred, mainly due to the large difference in price. The other issue is finding replacement parts. Most auto glass companies here in southern CA are not set up to replace boat glass due to the NAGS database utilized by them excludes boat parts. Plus, getting the boat and the replacement technicians’ vehicle close enough to one another is a logistical nightmare.

This doesn’t affect the well-organized rock chip repair professional. All tools and materials needed for the service can easily be transported from the tech’s vehicle to the boat in just 1 trip. So, for all you boat owners out there dreading the idea of replacing one of your boat windows, look into the rock chip repair service offered by most glass companies. Even better, seek out a company that specializes in rock chip repair and can travel to the local marinas. A company like ours. Get in touch with us by phone, text or email right away.


Inquiry is free. Waiting too long is costly.

Importance Of Auto Glass Repair

Car glass is more vital than we than we typically think it is. Tempering (heat treating) the glass makes it difficult to break. Lamination (2 layers of glass with plastic in the middle) greatly raises passenger safety. In case of an accident. your car’s auto glass produces an incredibly stable framework that protects driver and passenger as well as keeping them separate from the outside world.

Just think if your vehicle wasn’t equipped with a front windshield. You would have no defense from flying objects such as rocks, nails, baseballs or binkies. Plus, if you wanted to feel the wind on your face at 70 mph, you would have bought a motorcycle. All auto glass, and specifically the windscreen, are part of the safety control system of your car. Operating in tandem with your air bags and seat belts, the windshield helps to keep the car’s passengers from ejection during an auto accident. By keeping drivers and passengers inside, less fatalities take place.

Back in the day, those people that built model planes and trains and took apart transistor radios, it was fairly simple to learn all there was to understand about cars by taking them apart and putting them back together in your garage. A little experimentation and hopefully no extra parts left over, and boom, you’re done. From the nonprofessional’s point of view, glass is glass. Place it in the appropriate grooves, apply the glue, make certain the rubber is secured and be sure all parts are put back in their original place. When something appears simple, it is frequently viewed as not important. And that view would be wrong.

Proper Auto Glass Repair Features

broken windshieldNowadays, being a grease monkey just won’t cut it. Glass techs need to be part computer geek and part engineer. Car glass and also the adjustments of it should never ever be taken for granted. As an example, if you ever find a couple of small pieces of glass left over from a side window breakage, just remember, the part was designed to break in this manner for your safety. If these parts had not been through the tempering process, those tiny pieces would have been large, jagged and dangerous shards capable of slicing an artery.

With much even more innovative safety and security functions than were in place just a few years ago, car manufacturing engineers made automobile glass, seat belts, and air bags to function together to maintain driver and passenger safety. In the event of a collision or rollover, a poorly installed windshield will merely pop out of its setting unless high quality adhesives are used. And, not allowing these adhesives to set up and cure properly will also have the same result.

Cars and truck glass is also instrumental in prohibiting much of the noise and weather from bombarding you and your passengers. And lastly, there are the newest components that your windscreen effortlessly takes care of in the background. Features such as lane departure warning systems, forward collision alerts, heads up displays and rain sensors. It’s pretty amazing how many things your cars glass handles without your realizing it.

Vital Benefits Of Auto Glass Repair

For these factors as well as many even more, it’s critical to get your glass repaired quickly after damage occurs due to accident or just road debris. When having any pieces of glass replaced, it’s critical to choose well trained and experienced professionals. Here is some FREE advice: choosing a company based solely on price often doesn’t end well for the customer. Just a thought.

If repairing the car’s front windshield in an option, get this done. Immediately. Because once the damage begins to spread, you only choice left is the more expensive replacement. And speaking of choice, First Choice Windshield Repair (that us) should be at the top of your list for rock chip repairs. We have been in business since 2008 and have been performing windshield repairs since the late 1990’s.

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.

DIY Rock Chip Repair

Are DIY Rock Chip Repair Kits Worth It?

We’ve all been there. Driving along, minding our own business, when out of nowhere, something hits the windshield. If you’re lucky, you escape this situation with nothing more than a tiny pit or scuff mark on the glass. If you’re not so lucky, you see some damage.

Hopefully it’s just small. You know this situation needs to be addressed. And to save money, you think about heading on over to your nearest auto parts store or onto the internet to purchase a do it yourself (DIY for short) windshield repair kit.

You’re a pretty handy person and the idea of performing this seemingly simple repair just feels like the right call. The YouTube videos make it look like a cakewalk. But before you part with your cash, there are some things you might want to know.

What’s The Deal With These DIY Windshield Repair Kits?

rock chip repair lake forest

The big draw to these products is the price. They run about $15-$20 US. They come with a set of instructions, some resin, a tool to inject the resin and a piece of curing film. Seems complete right? If only it were that simple. Once you begin peeling back the onion, some other factors begin to arise…

  • How much pressure should be applied.
  • The rock chip doesn’t look the same as the once in the instructions.
  • The outside temperature might be too hot. Or too cold.
  • No customer support when questions arise.

And here comes the monkey in the wrench: if the repair you attempt is not completed properly, you’re screwed. Neither I, or any other windshield repair technician, can come in afterwards and fix the failed repair. Once the resin is inside the crack, it’s in there to stay. You get one shot to do this right. You’ll have to break out the magnifying glass to find mention of this fact in the fine print. If it’s even in there. And, instead of saving money, now you’re looking at spending more money to fully replace your windshield. In some cases, ALOT more. 4 figures more.

The Most Important Thing Missing From DIY Rock Chip Kits

Me. Or someone like me. A qualified professional. While not being able to speak for anyone else, I have performed over 10,000 auto glass repairs in my lifetime. An experienced windshield repair tech is able to determine the method needed for a proper repair, how much pressure should be applied and whether or not the windshield is too hot or cold.

We use professional grade injectors, the best resin on the market and cure the repair with LED UV lights. We also finish the repair by filling the impact pit with a thicker resin, curing it, scraping it smooth with a razor blade and buff the area with polishing compound.

Whatever you decide, do it quickly. Last thing you want to do is put off the repair. This gives the crack more of an opportunity to spread. Once this happens, replacement of the glass becomes mandatory. And, if you don’t believe it’s worth the risk, give First Choice Windshield Repair a call. We’ll happily perform the work at your home or office.

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