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.

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

vector image of car rolled overWant 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.

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.

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.

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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