Corrosion—Part Four

Ben Franklin once said, that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  When it comes to auto glass removal, that quote holds even more meaning. If we scratch a vehicle and don’t protect that exposed metal from oxidation then we have just put the driver and all occupants in that vehicle in harm’s way. So, preventing the scratch from happening in the first place eliminates the possibility of injury or death. Wow—doesn’t that word “death” scare the heck out of you? Did any of you realize that every scratch you cause and fail to deal with could cause serious injury or worse? Do you take the extra effort to eliminate damage to the paint? Do you take the extra effort to find every small scratch and deal with it?

Here are some of my suggestions for preventing, eliminating and dealing with damage to the vehicle.

  1. Use protective coverings to cover susceptible areas of the vehicle. This can include fender covers, drop cloths, tapes, pads and even the new pinchweld protection systems.  Use the thickest tape that will allow movement of the tools. It may be necessary to double or triple coat an area.
  2. Use the right tool for the job.
    1. The new wire-out tools are becoming very popular. I heard from some of my contacts in dealerships that all removals by European dealerships must be done with the use of wire-out tools.
    2. Do not use a blind cut out when a direct sightline cut out is possible. If you can see what is happening, the easier it is to control the situation.
    3. If you suspect that the cold knife blade will make contact with the body, even if it will be hidden by moldings, use a padded blade or other procedures to eliminate the damage to the painted surfaces.
    4. Use a concave type utility knife blade so it is less likely that the body will be scored during the molding removal.
    5. If a scraper is used, then use the blade reversed from what is typical. The beveled side should be to the floor of the pinchweld and the flat side facing up. This makes the existing urethane removal smooth without scraping the paint.
    6. Make all tools as sharp as possible. Change the blades on utility knives often.  Sharpen and hone all blades that cut. All auto glass cut-out tools, with the exception of utility knife blades, have a beveled side and a flat side. The flat side is always to the glass. If the technician reverses that blade and puts the beveled side to the glass, the blade will dive to the metal and damage the metal and interior moldings. Make sure you keep the beveling the same. Do not sharpen both sides.
  3. If scratches occur even after we put forth our best efforts, it is best to cover those scratches as soon as possible and with the recommended materials.
    1. Remember that urethane metal primers are not rust-inhibitive. They are used to cover exposed bare metal so oxidation can be slowed.
    2. Some scratches are so hard to see that many technicians fail to see them even with extreme care. Here is a hint I was taught by one of my dearest friends and colleagues, Bruce Gates from Gates Bros. Glass. Take a pocket flashlight or any bright light and shine it on the pinchweld. If there is exposed metal, the light makes it stand out and it is obvious. Even in bright daylight the flashlight highlights the scratch for easy priming.
    3. Make sure you prime only the scratch with a 1/8 inch overlap to make sure that the scratch is covered and air tight.
    4. Don’t forget to prime the scratches that are in areas outside of the bonding area.  They can corrode as well. They can spread into the bonding area and undermine the bond.

Prevention is obviously the best way to deal with corrosion, but cure is an absolute. Try to be perfect but when mistakes happen make sure you correct the mistake thoroughly.

Next week is the treatment of corrosion.