LemonDeDuBlog

Your Daily Dose of Sanity

Common Auto Glass Repair Scenarios – What to Expect

Since the first pieces of auto glass rolled off the factory line and were installed into automobiles, the number one goal of their inclusion has been convenience. In the first days of the automobile, auto glass was used mainly as a way to block wind and insulate the cabin from the outside world. Unfortunately, this type of glass was virtually identical to traditional home window glass, making it far less likely to protect drivers in the event of an accident – in some cases, its fracture pattern actually created even more dangerous conditions. As time went on, however, advances in the industry have eliminated virtually all of these concerns.

In today’s automobile market, there are several reasons to take care of your auto glass. Not only does it protect you from the elements, but it also provides protection from dust and debris, boosts fuel economy through aerodynamics and can even save your life in the event of a rollover. When you first spot an area of damage on your auto glass, it is important to act quickly in order to prevent the damage from spreading. Many people are unaware of how the auto glass repair process works or what can be expected (since hopefully, this is a rare occurrence for most people). Below, we’ll discuss some common auto glass repair situations and what you should expect during the repair and once the job is completed.

What Can Be Repaired

Not all forms of auto glass damage can be easily repaired. Most auto glass companies inform their customers upfront that some damage – especially if it is large – may require a complete windshield or auto glass replacement in order to guarantee their safety. An auto glass technician will have to first inspect the damaged area before he or she can render an accurate verdict. More complex forms of damage, even when small, may require a complete replacement. Your auto insurance policy most likely provides some guarantee or payment toward a replacement, though there is usually a deductible involved.

A good rule of thumb for most forms of auto glass repair is that it can be repaired if the damage in question is no wider in any one direction than a dollar bill. The structural integrity of the windshield may not be guaranteed once any crack has spread across a distance longer than this area. Cracks that have spread in multiple directions – even if they are not longer than a dollar bill – may also not be repairable due to the extent of the damage. Common forms of damage caused by pebbles and other smaller pieces of debris can usually be repaired quickly and with little fanfare when caught early. It is always important to call an auto glass technician as soon as possible in order to prevent the damage from spreading.

Treating the Interim Problem

We always advise that you call an auto glass technician as soon as possible in order to avoid a costly replacement. Since most auto insurance policies fully cover windshield repair, the cost to you is almost always $0. If you cannot schedule an auto glass repair job immediately, then how can you make sure that the damage does not spread?

Certain types of plastic film can be purchased at auto stores (and even from some auto glass facilities that keep them on hand) to help stop a crack’s damage in its tracks. While not a permanent solution, these pieces of film can be applied directly to a cleaned piece of windshield in order to temporarily seal the damage and prevent bumps, debris and inclement weather from accelerating the spread of the damage. If you cannot find this film in stores or through an auto glass repair shop, then something as simple as a bandage or even a clear piece of tape can be used temporarily with similar results. This can buy you some time if you are on vacation, out of town or have no time to have the repairs performed same-day, but this patchwork solution will only work for a limited time.

Expected Aesthetic Results

What exactly can you expect in terms of appearance upon the completion of an auto glass repair? It will depend on the type and extent of the damage, but here’s the rundown. Very small chips or cracks may be repairable to the point that the previous damage is no longer visible. In many cases, however, you will still have some visible remnant of where the damage was; this usually looks like a bug smudge or water mark on the windshield and/or auto glass.

An auto glass technician will most likely tell you about this before repairing the damage. Some auto glass companies run marketing gimmicks that claim all damage will disappear. Due to the nature of glass and the way in which it is repaired, this is an unrealistic expectation. The majority of the damage will disappear, but a perfect windshield in terms of aesthetics will not be the case in almost all circumstances.

Can I Repair Damage to My Windshield?

There are dozens of different scenarios that can occur that will result in damage to a vehicle’s windshield. From minor car accidents to damage caused by flying debris, your windshield will sooner or later run into one of these unfortunate events. Any damage that is caused to a windshield does not stop there; over time, cracks and fractures in the windshield can permeate deep into the glass, which will cause running fractures and require a total windshield replacement in order to guarantee its safety. Did you know that the majority of your vehicle’s roll-over protection is ensured from the integrity and strength provided by your windshield?

Despite the fact that many insurance plans have coverage for windshield repair included, some do not have this amenity and will need to seek out services elsewhere. There are many different auto glass repair options available, with one of them being do it yourself windshield repair kits. While these kits may be relatively inexpensive, are they actually worth it? In the following article, we will discuss the pros and cons of DIY windshield repair to help you make the best decision about this issue.

Comparing Costs

The biggest reason why do it yourself windshield repair kits exist is the cost considerations that have to be made when needing a repair that is not covered by your auto insurance. A repair to your windshield can easily cost upwards of $100 without insurance coverage, whereas a windshield repair kit can cost as little as $15. This discrepancy leads many people to consider the use of a do it yourself kit to rectify the issue. Especially true for those with limited incomes, the act of forking over lots of money for a seemingly tiny crack in the windshield may not be a palatable decision. This leads to many individuals using a do it yourself repair option.

Differences in the Process

The overall process of windshield repair via each option is fairly similar, but the quality of components and tools used by a professional auto glass company will be much better. The tools that come with a do it yourself kit are often made of plastic; it would be impossible to create metal tools that provide the same benefit for a cost-effective price. The professional solution will include a process that levels the crack and ensures that resin finds its way into all of the cracks and chips in a damaged area, preventing new damage from forming after the repairs are completed. This cannot be guaranteed with a DIY solution, according to the National Windshield Repair Association.

Do it yourself glass repair kits will also not sufficiently repair damage in the majority of cases. The types of damage to your windshield can vary greatly and require the professional inspection of an auto glass technician in order to ensure that the damage does not spread after the repairs have been completed. You will not be able to tell with pinpoint accuracy whether or not all of the cracks have been filled with resin or whether the pattern of damage is one that can be repaired via a DIY solution. These reasons make it an even better idea to enlist the services of an auto glass company.

How It Works

If you do decide to use a do it yourself windshield repair kit, you will need to make a few preparations and allot an hour or so to perform the repairs. First, you will want to grab a pair of latex gloves, some paper towels and a sharp, pointed object to clear any debris from the crack. Once the area in question has been cleaned and freed of debris, the adhesive is then placed on top of the crack. The pedestal is then applied to the adhesive, allowing for insertion of the resin. The tube of resin is cut at one end and the majority of the substance is then injected into the pedestal. At this point, you will allow a bit of time for the resin to flow into the cracks.

Once this is complete, you will then insert a syringe into the pedestal, creating an airtight seal. The air in the chamber is then removed via the syringe, helping ensure that air bubbles do not form in the resin. After a few minutes, you will then need to remove the syringe and reinsert it to further push resin into the crack. This process needs to set for about twenty minutes, after which you can remove the syringe, pedestal and began scraping away the adhesive with a razor blade or similar object. The vehicle is then moved into direct sunlight, a small amount of resign is again applied and any uneven areas are smoothed out. After this is complete, the vehicle needs to sit for a half-hour before it is ready to be driven.

Conclusion

Do it yourself windshield repair can be a bit complicated for those who do not know what they are doing, and does not address all of the issues of damage to your windshield. A professional auto glass technician can ensure that the damage is treated at the source and will not result in future damage. While the professional solution may cost quite a bit more without insurance, the windshield may require a full replacement if not treated properly. This vital safety mechanism in your automobile deserves to be repaired by a professional, so it is recommended that you enlist the services of an auto glass shop for any windshield repair job.