by Bob Beranek
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During my years in the automotive glass industry I have personally done thousands of windshield repairs using dozens of different kits. I have helped in developing windshield repair kits. I have done repairs in every environmental condition possible, from extreme cold to extreme heat, and from dry to wet weather, including rain or snow. I have done repairs on every kind of laminated glass, from basic to glass with state-of-the-art technology. I’ve had successes and failures. However, there are people in this industry who have done far more research and sophisticated testing on the process of windshield repair than I have.

Over the four plus decades since windshield repair was invented, there has been many changes in how windshield repairs are perceived, sold and the service is delivered. Some of the perceptions of what windshield repair is and what it does are correct, some are plain wrong and other perceptions are more in the “grey area.” Windshield repair as a service could develop the reputation of being a scam if the consumers who buy it and the technicians who provide it are not better educated.

In most cases, chip repair is sold by legitimate and honest entrepreneurs out to provide a valuable service. However, in some cases, it is sold by crooks out to defraud insurance companies or by technicians who simply don’t know what they’re doing. The service of chip repair can be delivered by “repair only” companies that don’t get paid unless the job is done perfectly, by automotive glass companies that use it as a loss leader to sell more windshields and by less-than-reputable companies that trick the consumer into repairs that don’t even exist.

I have come to the realization recently that though I don’t have all the new facts available, I wish to find them. Are there definitive answers to the questions asked by consumers and technicians?

  • Does a proper repair restore the structural integrity of a new windshield?
  • Are there any windshields that are not repairable? What are they? How did you determine that?
  • What conditions will make a repair unsuccessful or less successful?
  • Can a repair be done in the rain or snow? How do you dry out a chip so it can be repaired?
  • If drilling is done, how deep do you drill?
  • How long is too long for a crack repair?

The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS) is very informative, easily understood by a technician and it answers some of the questions above, yet it does not answer all questions a person might have concerning specifics of windshield repair. For example:

  • A technician called me concerning the repair of a heated windshield with a metallic heating element embedded in the lamination (Land Rover). The vehicle dealer says no problem with repairing this windshield, a previous repairer agreed, no problem. The industry standard does not address the issue. Upon further research, however, reports tell of the heating element not working in the repaired area and a glass manufacturer warned of electrical arching at the repaired area and recommended against repair of heated windshields.

So, what is correct and what is the right thing to do? Who do we listen to and where are the facts to back it up? Who is liable if the windshield breaks again, or the heating element no longer works or if someone is hurt due to improper repair?

I believe in windshield repair as a viable service to the consuming public. If done correctly, it restores clearer visibility to the driver of the vehicle and thus provides more safety to the occupants. However, as a teacher, I need facts that can be proven and relied on. I need answers from the people that know.

In the next few posts, I want to open up a discussion of what is and what is not correct about windshield repair. I want to hear from repair experts, glass experts and those that provide supplies and equipment to the industry.

Professionals and experts, please respond to this request either publicly through this blog or if you prefer, privately by calling me at 800-695-5418 or email bob@autoglassconsultants.com. Help us understand your business and service.

Comments (6)

  1. […] TODAY’S BLOG: I’m Out for Answers […]

    • John Power said on 01-02-2015

      We just purchased a Lexus NX SUV, a new model car, with a AGC M 14 front windshield (there is a symbol between the “M” and the number). In the month since we have owned the car, the windshield has been lightly pitted, then on a different day a crack appeared and on a different day a pebble hit the car and the windshield got a deep impact pit. While driving in the same neighborhoods for the last 25 years we have never had this happen…never. Is it possible that the glass for this model is thinner than in the past? Is it possible to compare the thickness of this new windshield to what our last car, a 2006Toyota Highlander, had?

  2. Daniel Dinu said on 18-01-2015

    Ok, Bob.
    You just sledged right between the eyes !
    This windshield repair job is the leading way I do for living, so I feel very entitled to join the subject.
    As the space offered by this blog would not comfort my way of exhibit, I would kindly ask you to allow me several episodes to share my 25 years of expertise to learn and let our colleagues learn about this state-of-the-art job we all feel dedicated to.
    Briefly, I would draw some skinny answers to your issues:
    1. Every chip must must be fresh, dry and have not more than 1 millimeter radius of scattered or crater glass missing;
    2. Extreme temperatures are hazardous: freezing weather is propostrous, as hot
    glass may offer embarrising surprises when drilling a long crack stop hole;
    3. Long cracks follow blindly the heating areas: drilling generates heat, so…
    On the other hand, most windshields are heated from the dashboard openings,
    tempting the crack to follow the isothermal lines;
    4. Best results occure for straight, lineshaped cracks. Turned
    or lightingshape cracks are hard to resolve;
    5. Drilling depth is an argument subject: I would recommend to reach the inner layer
    of glass, as glass-PVB-glass sandwich may be altered deep inside;

    Allow me to stop here with the promiss I will be back soon
    ready to ask all our mates quests and dares, ready to enhance my
    skills and to share my humble knowledge.

    However it’s uncomfortable to carry on this essay, as my smartphone is so tiny 🙂
    Next time I’ll use my desktop.

    Have a great 2015 !

  3. Daniel Dinu said on 18-01-2015

    I believe I could publish a little book about, and feel like some other people would join th idea, so…let’s gather some stuff and let it come to life together !

  4. Glasseye said on 21-01-2015

    “Does a proper repair restore the structural integrity of a new windshield?”

    A good question from a prospective customer. To answer this, the repairer must be able to explain how the repair technique they are using, meets recognised national/international standards, explaining how those standards are derived
    and what criteria they are using when inspecting the glass for possible repair.

    Are there any windshields that are not repairable? What are they? How did you determine that?

    National criteria for roadworthy testing will be the main guide repairers use but I would not advise repair in an area of glass which requires good optical quality for sensors to operate.

    What conditions will make a repair unsuccessful or less successful?

    Repairing outside the range of recommended repair temperatures, contaminated glass surfaces, inadequate protection from direct sunlight, poor housekeeping, badly trained and poorly equipped operatives.

    Can a repair be done in the rain or snow? How do you dry out a chip so it can be repaired?

    Not impossible, given the repairer has suitable equipment, but not preferable. Careful use of heat to dry moisture from the chip. Good equipment, good training.

    If drilling is done, how deep do you drill?

    The drill should not contact the interlayer. The problem here is, not all windshields have the same outer layer glass thickness. Experience and trained operation of drill use will help but if in doubt, don’t drill.

    How long is too long for a crack repair?

    National criteria and guidance for roadworthy use will be the main influencing factor to answer this question. The repairer must have good knowledge of these.

    • Daniel Dinu said on 21-01-2015

      I totaly agree, Glasseye.

      The most important thing is the sincere dialogue between the Customer and the Technician.
      Customer must be conducted to a proper understanding of the job aims and risks, and it is the Technician communication skills to share the required information with the Beneficiary and to understand him/herself the limits of his/her expertise.
      I much appreciate your professional way of exposure and would gladly carry on a long term dialogue upon our common work.
      Best wishes !

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