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.
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.
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.
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.