The Importance of a Timely Windscreen Repair
Out of all of the various car repair necessities, no problem is more easily preventable or as potentially costly as encountering a small and seemingly innocuous crack in a windshield. This type of window glass is specifically designed to take punishment, but accidents will nonetheless occur over time. It is first important to realize that when a crack is noticed, the damage has already been done. This small defect will grow due to temperature differences and the natural vibration of the vehicle.
Addressing a crack as soon as it is noticed is essential to preventing a potentially major problem that could ultimately result in an entire windshield replacement. While replacing this type of car glass can prove challenging and costly, there are other methods including the use of an epoxy resin that can fill in a small crack or crater and thus prevent a substantial amount of work. So, some of the most important things to understand about a crack in this type of glass are:
Once a defect is noticed, it will inevitably grow larger over time.
Should this crack not be filled in, the entire window may eventually need to be removed and replaced.
The main instances where windshield replacement is necessary are when:
- A sizeable crack obscures the line of sight of the driver.
- The crack has grown to more than six inches in length.
While these instances represent scenarios where a replacement is advisable and even mandatory, there are other circumstances where a simple repair will prove adequate. Smaller cracks, "cratering" and chips caused by pebbles are included in this category. So, a situation that would require a simple repair can be when:
- A smaller crack or imperfection has recently occurred.
- A crack is no more than six inches in length.
- A crack or chip is not located in the visual field of the driver (above the steering wheel)
A minor crack in a windscreen can often be repaired with do-it-yourself epoxy and resin kits. This can be performed in a matter of minutes and the results can be a nearly flawless finished product.
Resin Application – Step by step:
- Clean the surrounding surface area.
- Apply the suction cup apparatus supplied with the product.
- Insert the resin from the syringe.
- Allow any bubbles to rise to the surface and the resin to dry.
- Scrape off any excess material with a razor.
Replacing a Windscreen
Whether this task is performed at home or under the cognizance of a glass repair service, there are certain steps that will be performed to ensure a quality and safe outcome.
First, the rubber gasket around the windscreen will be removed. This must be done gently and with care, for otherwise the rubber can be damaged in the process and a new gasket will be needed. While this gasket prevents the entry of water and helps reduce vibrations, the main step involves removing the urethane that holds the window glass in place.
Next, the glass itself will be removed. This normally requires two or three men, as the glass can be quite heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. After this removal is completed, any dirt or build-up will be wiped clean from the groove where the windscreen was attached.
Any areas of rust that may be encountered where the replacement glass will sit must be ground down to bare metal. This will help the glass sit firmly in place and prevent any future leaks as well as reduce potentially damaging vibrations.
After, a layer of urethane adhesive will be applied around the periphery of the frame. This is usually accomplished with a normal caulking gun. This compound will secure the new piece of window glass securely to the chassis. The glass is then carefully put in place and once again, this is generally a two man operation.
Once the car glass rests firmly upon the newly applied adhesive, the outer gasket will be secured. Although sometimes the original can be used again, many car repair shops will provide a new one, as it will naturally be more flexible and help extend the lifespan of the newly installed windscreen.
To summarize - Windscreen replacement Step-by-step:
- Remove the protective outer gasket.
- Extract the damaged glass.
- Ablate any areas of rust down to the bare metal frame.
- Apply a strong urethane adhesive.
- Insert the new window.
- Reapply a new or used gasket.
This entire job can prove complicated and time consuming and therefore, many vehicle owners will instead opt for a reputable car repair service. While this is more than likely the most efficient way to replace a damaged windshield, there are still a few factors to remember in regards to consumer rights and the choices that a car owner is entitled to.
First, it is important to recognize that even if a vehicle is under warranty, the owner maintains the option to choose the windshield repair service. Neither an insurance provider nor a dealership can dictate which car glass shop to use.
Always ask for industry certification from any professional serviceman, they are obliged to produce evidence of their experience. It is also recommended to inquire as to whether they have had much experience on a specific make and model of a vehicle before proceeding.
Demand quality glass and materials. Although many car repair service shops may recommend using replacement windshields, it is always best to ask for a windshield or replacement glass made by the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This can help guarantee that the replacement will last.
Finally, it is the customer's right to obtain a written warranty that is valid throughout the country. Quality glass repair shops should have no problem accommodating this requirement and this warranty can help protect against fault of craftsmanship or other unexpected circumstances.
To summarize - Always keep in mind:
- The owner has the right to choose the car repair service.
- The certification of the technician should always be determined beforehand.
- Industry recognized materials must be used.
- A written warranty should be provided.