Excuses vary. Some say their insurance has a deductible that they currently can’t afford. Some say the crack doesn’t obstruct their view, while others say they just don’t see the necessity if it’s not shattered. It’s hard not to roll my eyes at all these answers. The purpose of this article is to tell you why it’s so important to have a good windshield on your vehicle and to give you some tips for when you make this very important purchase.
The Purpose of Your Windshield
Believe it or not, front windshields serve a much bigger purpose than just allowing you to see outside of the car when you’re driving. They also protect you from the rain, snow and other elements of weather. More importantly, however, are the safety features provided by your car’s windshield such as the 3 bullet points below.
- It Acts As A Shield For Air Bags – Cheap, low-quality glass is more likely to crack or pop out, which can cause incorrect deployment or improper inflation of your air bags.
- It Prevents The Roof From Collapsing – Many people don’t realize that the windshield of the car provides from 30% to 60% of the car’s structural strength. In a roll-over crash, a cheap windshield can cause your roof to collapse, which can be life-threatening to you and your passengers.
- It Helps Prevent Ejection of Passengers in a Crash – Your windshield can also keep you from being thrown from your vehicle in the case of a collision. With the exception of seat belts, the windshield provides the most safety from being thrown from your vehicle. These are some of the many reasons why OEM glass is required by car manufacturers.
Safety Comes First
Purchasing auto glass for any part of your vehicle is more than just opening the phone book and choosing the first provider with the cheapest price. Safety should always be the #1 concern when we’re driving. Here are four safety questions you should ask windshield replacement service providers before you choose which one to use.
How Qualified are the Technicians Replacing Your Windshield?
While windshield replacement service providers, also referred to as auto glass technicians, are not required to be licensed, they should be highly trained, experienced and knowledgeable of the whole process. With so many makes and models of vehicles around today all having different types and shapes of auto glass, windshield installation and replacement can be complicated. Ask your auto glass technician to provide proof they are certified. Do some research before hiring someone to do the job. Are they reputable? Will they take care of insurance paperwork for you? Check credentials while comparing costs!
What Type of Glass & Adhesive Do They Use?
If your auto glass technician states he can get you a windshield cheaper than average, you should definitely question what type of glass is being used. Is it OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass? OEM glass is safer, sturdier and less prone to cracking. If you’ve gone so far as to require OEM glass, you will want to ask if they are using OEM adhesives as well. Low-quality adhesives do not work as well in wet or cold climates and take much longer to dry or cure. This can be a real problem if the car is used too soon after installation. In other words, the windshield may leak with the slightest impact if you start driving around before the urethane has time to dry.
How Soon Can You Drive Your Car After Installation?
With the busy lives we all lead today, we seldom have the time to sit at a garage waiting for a new windshield to be installed. Auto glass providers often come to our home or place of business and do the work while we do our work. This is extremely convenient, but can be dangerous if we’re unknowingly driving the car before it’s ready. The glass and urethane need time to properly cure to the car in order to prevent future problems. This is known as “safe drive away time” and is listed on each bottle of urethane. Question your windshield replacement service provider on this safety issue, as well as if there are any precautions that should be taken a couple days after installation.
What Type of Warranty Do They Provide?
If you’re like many others who have waited almost forever to finally replace your windshield, you’re going to want to make sure it last and, if it doesn’t, that they’ll replace it free. If you’re offered anything less than at least a 1-year warranty, question the type of glass that’s being used. Some companies may offer a lifetime warranty. If this is offered, you can almost assume they’re using high-quality OEM glass.
Windshield – Replacement or Repair?
As much as you may want to put off spending money on your damaged windshield, it’s very possible you may only need a repair. A good rule of thumb is that if the crack is at least as long as a dollar bill, it should be replaced. Even if it’s shorter than a dollar bill, it should be replaced if it extends to the edge of the glass. If the chip or crack is smaller than a dollar bill and it’s not extended to the edge of the glass, it may be able to be safely repaired. Additionally, if the crack is in your line of vision, it needs to be replaced.
While all the glass on your car is important, the front windshield is most important in terms of having it fixed when it’s damaged. Something to consider, insurance companies often will pay to have a windshield repaired because it may prevent a larger expense if it shatters completely. Also, some insurance companies require a deductible be paid for replacements, while others may waive the deductible. Contacting your insurance company could save you money! That being said, the main concern here is safety and hiring a certified technician will ensure the job is done correctly whether you’re saving money through your insurance or not.