Anyone who has been driving for a number of years has probably experienced the inevitable pebble or stone which gets inadvertently flung up against your windshield to produce a tiny crack. This often happens when you’re driving behind a tractor-trailer that has 18 wheels, all churning furiously along the road, and sometimes picking up debris that gets passed along to following motorists. Then, in the next few days, you notice that the tiny crack has expanded and there are spidery cracks that appear to be growing along with the windshield.
Eventually, you end up with a crack that extends the entire length of the windshield, and that makes driving and visibility problematic. In some states, it’s illegal to drive your vehicle in this condition, and you would be required to fix it. This being the case, you’re much better off leaving the auto glass repair to the professionals, both for the sake of convenience and for safety’s sake.
Tools for Auto Glass Repair
If you were to undertake the replacement of a damaged windshield yourself, you would of course need to have a few skills that are necessary for the procedure, but you’d also need to have some materials and tools on hand to accomplish the goal. If you had to purchase all these, it would definitely cost you more than it would for a professional installation shop, and it would take you longer as well. These factors should be weighed when you’re trying to decide whether to do the work yourself or to leave it to the pros.
Here are some of the tools and materials you’d need to have ready for the job:
- stiff nylon brush
- cold knife
- glass cleaner
- rubber gasket for a windshield
- urethane primer
- razor blade scraper
- caulk gun
- auto glass urethane
- painters’ tape
- wire brush or sandpaper
- screwdriver, pliers, utility tape.
The steps you have to follow would be the same ones followed by a professional shop doing the work for you. These steps have been identified by a reputable agency, and by faithfully following these steps, you can be sure of having a safe vehicle to drive on the road after the process is complete.
There is actually a formalized process that has been set forth as the Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS), with a view toward ensuring that auto glass is replaced in the safest manner possible. This keeps road safety in mind at all times and guarantees that the new glass is installed in a way that will keep everyone from coming to harm on the roadway. Here are the steps that are outlined in the AGRSS procedure:
- installation prepping – the vehicle will be prepped for installation by a technician who places protective tape around the window and over the hood of the car. The windshield wipers then get removed temporarily along with the rear-view mirror, and any other external attachments in that general area. These will be stored somewhere until the replacement operation has been concluded, and it’s time to re-attach them.
- remove the damaged windshield – first, the molding strip that holds the glass in place has to be removed. Then a special knife is used to break through the urethane adhesive that binds the glass to the frame. A good deal of force is needed for this step, and it sometimes breaks the glass of the windshield, but that doesn’t really matter at this point. Any broken glass will be cleaned up completely before proceeding with the next step.
- prepare the window for installation – the technician will use tools that are adept at cutting down the previously used adhesive as close as possible to the framework of the car. After this, the frame has to be primed so that no contamination takes place when the new glass is ready to be installed.
- install the new windshield – after the frame has been thoroughly prepped and is ready for installation of the new glass, a technician will dry set the new glass in place using a new layer of urethane adhesive. Using a tool much like a caulking gun, the technician will apply new adhesive all around the windshield to make sure it stays in place under any conditions.
- finishing up – once the glass has been properly installed and has been cleaned off, all the finishing steps will be done in succession. This means the mirrors and windshields will be re-attached, as well as anything else that was removed during the beginning procedure. The discarded glass will be re-cycled by the glass repair shop. Now the work on the vehicle has been completed, and it is ready for driving again. It is always recommended that windshield wipers are not used on the glass for several days afterward, so the adhesive has a chance to set and become firm in place.
Auto Glass Repair Convenience
When you have the windshield replacement carried out by professionals, they will generally try to accommodate your schedule so as to make the whole process as convenient as possible. Many times, this involves coming right to your workplace and carrying out the installation in the parking lot where your vehicle has been parked for the day. That means you can go right ahead with your workday, and when the day is over, you can go out to the parking lot to find that the job is finished, and you’re ready to drive home with new glass in place.
The entire process generally takes less than an hour, and you can count on having a brand new windshield in place on that same day. Your auto insurance probably covered the full cost of having new glass put in place, although there may be a deductible you’re responsible for. In any case, for minimal cost to yourself, you can usually have a completely new windshield put in place very soon after you’ve incurred any kind of damage on the road. By contrast, if you were to do the whole operation yourself, at the very least it would be much more inconvenient, and it would probably cost you more as well.