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.
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
Want 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.
Your Windshield – Repair It or Replace It
Unless you keep your automobile parked inside your home all the time, ultimately you will experience a chip in your windscreen. It’s simply the nature of driving on our highways and roadways. The concern then turns into one of whether to fix or change it. How do you choose which is ideal for you?
Windscreen repair work is attained by cleaning up the broken location of all dirt and getting rid of any present moisture. The finest outcomes occur when the repair work is carried out quickly after the initial damage takes place.
Waiting too long to address a repair might lead to the chip expanding or spidering throughout the whole windshield. If this occurs you actually are just left with the choice of a replacement. You might likewise need to change the glass if the chip damage takes place within the motorists field of vision – your rock chip repair expert can recommend on this.
Rock Chip Repair – It’s A Good Thing
Little chips and “bullseye” markings are likely a basic repair and effectively fixed will be noticeably clearer. Some subtle visual distortions might appear in bigger repair work, especially if this damage remains in within the motorists field of vision. You might need to change the windscreen for security factors in this case.
Windscreen repair work is an excellent option in numerous circumstances and it returns the glass to a structurally sound condition and the repair work is eco-friendly too. Naturally, not all damage can be fixed. Multiple long spidery fractures are one such type. And holes in the glass are not repairable with the resin injection system either.
When you find yourself in need of windscreen repair work (or replacement) find a quality automobile glass repair center to carry out the work. You are not required to utilize the business your insurance provider advises, so opt for the one that you are comfortable with. Also, check online for reviews of the company you’re checking out. Seeing what other people are saying makes choosing a company that much easier.
Auto Glass Repair – Don’t Dilly
Your car needs to not be moved throughout the adhesive set up period if your windshield is changed. Keeping the car as still as possible guarantees the very best seal and minimizes the chance that any movement of the vehicle does not pop the seal around the windscreen, potentially triggering future leak issues. The real time needed for the adhesive to cure can be explained by your expert glass replacement center. It’s not long most of the time, just a couple of hours on average.
Keep in mind, deciding to carry out a repair of a small break or chip is very important. The damage will likely get worse if not fixed quickly and might lead to a more expensive replacement versus a basic repair work. Sometimes alot more. Many newer vehicles are equipped with ADAS – Advanced Driver Assisted Systems. These are also referred to as lane departure warning system and forward collision alert systems, among others. It’s common for these windshields to run over $1,000 USD.
Ask your neighbor glass repair center to learn more. They’ll more than happy to answer your questions.
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?
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.