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I’m Out for Answers

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.