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.

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.

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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