by Bob Beranek
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We have talked about the most common cut-out tool, the cold knife, and the various blade options used with it. Now let’s talk about wire out tools, which are simultaneously the oldest and some of the newest cut-out tools in the auto glass replacement industry. By oldest, I mean it was the first cut-out tool used when glued-in windshields were introduced. By newest, I mean that wire-out tools have become more sophisticated and increasing popular as they were reinvented for today’s vehicles.

I have written positive articles and given my opinions on the wire tools in the past. The new, modern wire-out tools are much better than the first ones used in the 1940s. I believe that a wire-out tool is the best way to remove the glass without undue breakage and damage to the painted metal. However, it does take longer to cut out the glass than with other tools available. In addition, protection of the interior mouldings and dashboard are a concern during the glass removal.

Of course, all tools, if used incorrectly or without proper training, can cause interior and exterior damage to the vehicle. It is unfair for a technician to reject the use of wire tools because it takes longer to remove obstacles. All tools require the removal or displacement of obstacles. I believe that a professional technician must take into consideration all possible installation challenges when stocking his/her tool box. The wire-out tool is a viable option on some, if not all, installations and should be considered when making the decision of which tool to use to complete the installation with minimal damage.

With that being said, I thought I would provoke a discussion by giving my pros and cons of wire out tools.

Pros:

  • Vehicle manufacturer-approved and –recommended;
  • Less damage to the pinchweld;
  • Trimming back is reduced or eliminated;
  • Glass is removed whole with less mess;
  • Reduces time in strip down and clean up; and
  • Less cost for body primer due to less damage.

 Cons:

  • Interior parts must be removed or displaced;
  • Cut out takes longer, including:
    • Set up;
    • Wire breakage, re-setup;
    • Unseen obstacles;
    • Wire feed if mouldings are to be salvaged; and
    • Wire manipulation around pins, VIN plates and brackets; and
  • Tools are expensive.

In summary, I believe that a professional technician needs to develop the expertise to use all of the tools required to do the job right. An installation may require a cold knife, a power tool or a wire-out tool but the expert technician needs to become proficient in all of the instruments that may be necessary to complete the job correctly.

Comments (5)

  1. Joe Van De Wiel said on 13-09-2012

    I agree with you Bob you need to know how to work all tools no one tool for every installation

  2. Joe Van De Wiel said on 13-09-2012

    I agree with you Bob you need to know how to work all tools

  3. Jeff Gage said on 17-09-2012

    Probably the least evasive, and most under rated method of safe glass removal.
    A tech that is proficiant with these tools will find them to be an asset to their toolbox. As with any tool the more experiance you have with it the easier it is to use.

  4. Jay Bickford said on 28-09-2012

    If our goal is to replace our customer’s windshield back to as close to the OEM conditions as possible (and I believe that it is), then wire cut out tools should be in our tool boxes and their methods of use mastered. Unfortunately, it seems as many in our industry are only concerned about getting the job done quickly, and not about doing it well. This attitude seems to be inhibiting the adoption on a larger scale of wire cut out methods. Hopefully articles like this one will contribute to changing attitudes and practices in our industry.

  5. Roger D said on 22-09-2013

    The wire out tools of today can’t be overlooked. Like it or not if your going to be replacing glass in the future this is a tool you need to master. Cars are changing and the expectations placed on us by the public is going to require us to have a version of this tool in our tool box. I have installed for over 25 years and I have saw alot of change in those years. I see this as one of those turning points in our industry that will improve things for all. But the most important statement made in this article is the importance of seeing it as one of many removal tools you have at your disposal and knowing when each will give you the best finished results.

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