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.
In 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.
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
Nowadays, 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Is Avoiding Auto Glass Repair Possible?
There aren’t many circumstances more aggravating than driving down the roadway and having some random debris shoot up and damage your windscreen. While this is at first annoying, eventually this could turn into a dangerous situation. There are a number of ways your windshield can be cracked and understanding the various causes will assist you in dealing with this scenario.
Common Causes Of Auto Glass Repair
- Rock, Gravel and Other Debris. The most common. When traveling through an area under construction (The I-5 in San Clemente comes to mind), tires from cars in front of you can throw this stuff at your windscreen. When traveling at the high rate of speed we tend to do here in southern Cal, even small rocks or gravel can chip your glass.
- The Sun. A damaged windshield left out in the direct sunlight can cause a windshield to split. Just by sitting there. Especially during the summer months here. As the glass heats, it also expands. And this can be made worse by the use of those sun shielding dashboard protectors. While they do a good job of protecting the dash of the car, they end up making the front windshield even hotter.
- Changes In Temperature. On days where there is a big difference between high and low temperature, this can also cause the small chip or crack on your windshield to expand. Glass has some amazing properties, one of them being flexibility. It has the ability to expand or contract depending on whether the temperature surrounding the glass rises or falls. However, if the glass has a flaw, this flaw will be exploited if there are rapid temperature changes. This is the main reason why you see disclaimers at car washes saying they’re not responsible for cracks getting worse when running your car through their car wash.
- Lousy Installation. An improperly installed windshield can undergo a stress crack. These are cracks that occur when nothing hits the windshield but is the result of something not done properly during a windshield replacement. Some common causes are improper placements (too high or low and too far to one side) or poor cleaning and preparation of the pinch weld.
- Acts Of God. These can include hail (not too common around here), wind, gardeners or baseballs.
Auto Glass Repair – Avoiding Replacement
Avoid the construction areas, the busier streets and freeways when possible. More cars and more debris equals greater chance of incurring auto glass repairs, even those of the small rock chip variety.
Driving slower also lowers the chance your glass will become damaged when coming into contact with rocks and gravel.
Parking indoors or in the shade helps keep your windshield cooler during our warm summer months. And don’t take to a car wash if you have a chipped windshield. Get the windshield repaired BEFORE taking it to the car wash.
Auto glass repairs are best done as soon as the damaged is noticed. This is especially true of the newer vehicles equipped with lane departure warning and/or forward collision alert systems. The cost of replacing these windshields routinely exceeds $1000. Don’t wait. Ge that chip or crack filled immediately.