by Bob Beranek
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I received information recently from an AllData representative that caused me to do a double take. Did you know that Nissan is requiring that the inside rearview mirror be replaced when the windshield is replaced on four of their most popular models?

The Position Statements released by Nissan share information regarding collision repairs, including glass, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) on the vehicles. One of the statements makes the directive very clear:

“As of the 2016 Nissan model line-up, the LEAF, JUKE, Sentra, and Quest all have non-reusable rear view mirrors. Any windshield replacement on these vehicles also requires the rear view mirror to be replaced.”

Nissan does not divulge the reason for the mirror directive nor is it explained in the service manual. It only says that the mirrors are not reusable. Nissan makes the claim that the windshield is a structural component to the vehicle that it contributes to the advanced vehicle technology and that OEM glass should be used for safety reasons. However, the statement stops short of saying that OE glass is the only kind that can be used for windshield replacement. In fact, they give directives if an aftermarket must be used. The direct quote is:

“Nissan North America DOES NOT support the use of aftermarket or recycled glass in a repair situation. If an aftermarket windshield is unavoidable in a repair situation, please be sure it meets the same specifications and similar quality to the OEM windshield being replaced.”

I am looking into the reason why the mirror must be replaced. I suspect that the mirrors have something to do with the camera or its mounting so replacement is required to ensure calibration success. However, that is a guess and I will keep you informed of what I find out.

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Another clear directive from Nissan is the calibration of their Around View® Monitor:

“Nissan North America has taken the position that any time a camera, or camera mounting part (front grille, door mirror, or others) is removed, installed, or replaced, it is mandatory for the qualified repair professional to perform a calibration of this system.”

The Around View® is the automaker’s collision avoidance camera system. It can be mounted in several different areas on the vehicle so the front, side and rear views can be monitored for collision avoidance. This position statement is also very clear and makes the directive “mandatory.”

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These are two interesting and important developments for Nissan windshield replacements. Though we do not currently know the reasons for these directives, they must be considered when replacing the windshields on these models. The Around View® Monitor is most definitely a safety issue and must be followed for your own protection. The rearview mirror directive does not directly mention safety related issues, though the mirrors are a safety device. These published Position Statements are unequivocal, however, and are ignored at your own peril.

I will keep you informed as I am able to collect and confirm more information.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have plagued and perplexed our industry for the last few years.

There is confusion over whether ADAS systems are officially “safety” devices. Some have said that because the system can be turned off by the driver, it cannot be considered a safety device. There are very different regulations designed for “safety devices” than other add-ons in a vehicle.

Dealerships haven’t been paying attention to automotive-glass related issues because glass replacement is outsourced to another company, and they depend on the service provider to deal with glass-related problems.

ADAS is a relatively new technology that does not apply to all models within a brand. Unless the carmaker announces a new service initiative with tools, directives and protocols, the dealerships let it pass without much attention. Service managers do not read the manual until they need to. Considering that most dealerships subcontract glass work, it will be up to glass replacement companies to raise questions about the new technology.

A big roadblock in getting definitive answers is the fear of liability, both on the part of carmakers and car repair facilities. I don’t think there is much question that these systems are safety devices, but some companies may be very reluctant to say that out loud for fear of becoming responsible for failures to the systems.

That brings us to our current situation: Carmakers defend themselves against liability by requiring or recommending recalibration, OE glass and/or other hoops to jump through. They hope these requirements will protect against a lawsuit, or at least supply a defense that is deemed plausible. The technology is too new to have a track record of data to prove one way or another right now. We are all trying to protect ourselves by crossing all the “T’s” and dotting all the “I’s.”

We in the automotive glass industry are no different than carmakers in wanting to minimize our liability. We want to release a safe vehicle to our customers, but we need information from carmakers and car designers so that we can define and overcome obstacles to aftermarket replacement.

As we uncover information that could help you in the field, we will let you know. Feel free to collect and forward all the supporting documents, pictures, or information you can for consideration, as well.

You may be thinking cold knives? Why is Bob writing about cold knives when there are power tools and wire-out tools that are taking over the automotive glass removal process? The answer is because it hasn’t happened yet, as much as tool companies and safety advocates would like to make that case. The cold knife is still the most popular tool for glass removal.

The productive use of a cold knife can be nearly as difficult to learn as hitting a golf ball straight, or hitting a baseball on every pitch. There are angles to find, leverage to master, and muscles to develop before a rookie technician can be proficient.

It takes some training. I call it the “sweet spot.” If a technician is able to find that sweet spot, he (or she) is able to cut through urethane like butter. It is amazing the first time a tech gets it just right. Only experience allows you to find it every time.

In one of my classes I taught a 14-year-old girl (no more than 70 pounds soaking wet) to pull a cold knife in two days. However, that isn’t always the case. I had a former employee who took six months to finally learn the technique. The problem with my ex-assistant is that he was a body builder in his spare time. He had a lot of muscle, so he thought that should be the secret to cutting out glass. Because he didn’t want to consider angles, leverage and the use of body weight, it took him a lot longer to learn than it could have.

Another component involved with the efficient use of a cold knife is the blades we choose. One of the most popular blades is the pointed and tapered sided blades invented and manufactured by UltraWiz.

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Their blades have been the choice of many new technicians country wide if not globally. They are easy to insert into a hardened urethane bead. The company offers super thin steel construction and the coated blades, pictured above. This is the blade style of choice by many. However, one thing I noticed as a trainer is that the tapered design does pose an inherent problem for the new and learning technicians. As the blade is pulled or pushed, it has a tendency to move out from under the glass and move towards the wall of the pinchweld. This wasn’t a problem when we had reveal mouldings to cover any mishaps in paint scratches but the modern “exposed-edge” glass mounting requires that the technician pay attention to the blade making contact with the exposed wall of the pinchweld.

When I started as an installer, we had the standard style of cold knife blade with parallel sides.

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This blade was substantially more difficult to insert and to pull. In fact, we needed to regularly use the shortest to the longest blade progression to comfortably cut out the glass. Even then, the blade itself was not always easy to remove from under the glass.

If you are relatively new to the industry and you use the tapered blade in your knife, please be aware of the action of your tool. Tweak the vertical handle in at the base to keep it under and against the glass edge during the cutout. Have the vertical handle of the knife with a slight backward angle while pulling and a slight forward angle when pushing the tool. Positioning the tool in this way will allow for the most efficient use of the cold knife without damage to the wall of the pinchweld.

Please let me know if you have other suggestions for mastering the cold knife. I am always interested in hearing your experiences.