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.
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”.
Enough 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.
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.