Windshield Repair: Don’t Let Small Become Big

A few days ago, I noticed a small squealing noise coming from my engine compartment. After pulling into a large parking lot (thank you Target Mission Viejo), I popped the hood to see if I could determine the cause. While I am an experienced (and excellent) windshield repair tech, the same cannot be said about my diagnosing mechanical issue’s ability. And as you may have guessed, I could not figure out this particular problem.

A couple of days passed and the noise didn’t get any worse. But it didn’t get any better either. So, I decided to quit messing around and have the car professionally diagnosed. After driving over to one of my favorite local mechanics and describing the problem, we walk over to my car, pop the hood and start the car. It takes him all of 5 seconds to determine my water pump is on its last legs. So much for my brilliant deduction of serpentine belt replacement.

He then shows me where it is beginning to leak coolant fluid. There were just a few drips, but it was quite obvious once he pointed them out. It looked so easy for him because he knew where to look. This comes from training and experience. If I had decided to ignore the sound, the damage to my vehicle could have been much worse. Like new radiator worse. Or even new engine block worse. Water pump alone? Not bad. Add in new radiator? Not a deal breaker. A new engine, then we are talking mucho dinero. Or new car shopping time.

Don’t Drag Your Feet On Windshield Repair

sad guy watching his money fly out of his walletSo, what does a water pump have to do with windshield repair? Actually, not much. But it does have a lot to do with procrastination. Waiting to deal with an auto repair can lead to more money exiting your bank account vs. dealing with the issue right away. Doesn’t matter if it is your front windshield or your water pump. Paraphrasing the old (OK, very old) Fram Oil Filter commercial, your choice is to pay now or pay later. Problem is later is always more.

In the case with windshields equipped with ADAS (Advance Driver Assisted System), the replacement of your front windshield can easily run you on the wrong side of the 4-figure mark. ADAS includes such features as forward collision alert and lane departure warning, among others. The high replacement cost is due to the camera recalibration auto manufactures state must be performed whenever a new windshield is installed. And when adding the higher windshield part cost, glass labor, adhesives and miscellaneous parts to the calibration fee, it’s not hard to see how easy it is to reach the $1,000 mark.

Your Windshield Repair Solution

The question you have to ask yourself is $85 now vs. maybe $1,000+ later a good way to go? Honestly, this decision should take about 2.5 seconds to make. Windshield repair is a viable alternative when the damage is the size of a quarter or less. This type of repair is our specialty, having performed over 10,000 rock chip repairs. We at First Choice Windshield Repair can make sure your small problem doesn’t mushroom into a large one. And, whatever you do, get that rock chip repaired right away. Don’t let the hot weather make the decision for you.

Special shout-out to Tony over at A-K Auto Repair 23141 Orange Avenue Unit C & D, Lake Forest, CA 92630 (949) 598-9000 as the inspiration for this post. Really good guy and business.

Don’t Let A Rock Chip Ruin Your Day

Imagine today is a good day. A great day in fact. Life is good. Bills are paid. Weather is nice. And you decide to go for a drive. Because it has been a while since you have done this. You jump on the freeway, crank up your favorite music and roll down the windows.

Then you remember the I-5 in south Orange County absolutely sucks. Pavement resembles an off-road trail instead of a freeway. And you begin to think that this might not have been the best idea. Then your suspicion is confirmed when a pebble jumps up and creates a rock chip in your front windshield.

After the swearing has subsided, you start thinking what’s next. Do I need to replace the windshield? Is there a way to repair it without changing the glass?

Rock Chip Repairs Are A Great Alternative Vs. Replacement

If this situation has ever happened to you, be thankful for the way this piece of glass is manufactured. All windshields are constructed with 2 layers of glass sandwiched around a plastic laminate in the middle. Like the meat of a sandwich. This is a requirement by the United Stated Department of Transportation (DOT).

rock chip repair before and afterThis structure is incredibly strong. It supports the car’s roof structure during a rollover accident. Without this piece of glass properly installed, the front metal pieces (called A-pillars) would fold and the passenger compartment would be crushed the vehicle chassis. A properly installed front windshield also acts as a backstop for the passenger side air bag when it deploys.

When the damage caused by the road debris can be covered by a quarter, the rock chip can almost always be repaired. Like 99% of the time. And just to be clear, the damage is the physical impact point and anything spreading out from the impact point.

Fixing Rock Chips Saves You Money

So, you may think to yourself, “Self, it’s no big deal. I can live with this tiny amount of damage.” If you are thinking this way, smack yourself across your face a couple of times to snap yourself out of this delusion. OK. Maybe that is a little harsh. But sooner or later, that small rock chip can turn into a long crack. Once this happens, your only option is replacement.

Maybe you can roll the dice with an older vehicle where the difference of rock chip repair vs replacement may not be a huge difference. However, if you have a late model vehicle with lane departure or forward collision alert systems, replacing the front windshield will more than likely be a 4-figure expense.

In this case, it is a no-brainer to have that rock chip repaired. And to have it done as soon as possible. Bad roads (cough, I-5, cough), extreme temperatures or just pulling in and out of your driveway can cause that small ding on your windshield to become a huge crack.

Moral of the story: If you get a small rock chip, get it repaired right away. Look no further for mobile rock chip repair in south Orange County area. First Choice Windshield Repair can help you with this. We specialize in rock chip repairs, performing well over 10,000 of them since opening in 2008.

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.

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.

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