by Bob Beranek
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The benefits of pre-inspecting a vehicle before beginning an installation are self-evident. ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS™ Standard 003-2015 dictates that you cannot replace a windshield if the body is compromised by corrosion or deformity. In addition, by doing pre-inspections you can document any damage that was there before you touched the vehicle. This can ensure that your customer has a clear understanding about the automotive glass replacement process.

However, how many of you do a post-inspection? A post-inspection critiques the finished job. It includes an inventory of tools and parts, as well as a presentation of the vehicle to the owner and the instructions for the customer after the installation.

It is imperative to look the vehicle over before handing it back to the customer. Forget for a moment that you are the installer and put yourself in the position of the owner. Then look at that vehicle as if you owned it, because for a period of time after the installation, if anything goes wrong, it will come back on you. What should you do before presenting the vehicle to the customer?

  • Clean the vehicle inside and out. Clean and polish the part you replaced and maybe all the glass to show you appreciate the customer’s business. Vacuum the front seat area or at least empty the floor mats. Check and clean in the inconspicuous areas that you may have touched with your dirty- or urethane-covered hands and fingers. These areas can be behind the steering wheel, rearview mirror or exterior door latch.
  • Check for missing or broken parts. Did you lose that retainer? Did you break that clip? Replace them and make sure that everything fits tight and appears correct.
  • Do an inventory of your tools. Do you have all of your tools removed from the inside of the vehicle and from under the hood? Check.
  • Do the wipers/washers and all mechanical items removed or displaced during installation operate properly after the installation? Make sure the wipers don’t slap the cowl panel or the “A” pillar moulding. Make sure the rain sensor works and the mirror doesn’t wobble or vibrate.

Once everything is back to its original position and working properly, show off your workmanship and give the customer after-install instructions. Remember that the customer’s well-being is in your hands. Speak professionally, thoroughly and firmly. Do not equivocate. Explain in no uncertain terms that their health and safety depends on following your instructions. If they chose not to follow the instructions, then their lives and that of their family and friends could be at risk of serious injury or death.

In my opinion, tell them:

  • DO NOT drive the vehicle until the safe-drive-away time is reached. Tell the customer time of day and not the amount of time.
  • Tell the customer to keep the vehicle vented for air escape. It is best for the bonding and performance of the installation if the air in the vehicle has an escape route other than the freshly installed adhesive bead. The customer can stop the venting when the vehicle is safe to drive.
  • Tell the customer to remove any tape used in the installation as soon as the safe-drive-away time is reached. The tape can cause paint damaged if left on too long.
  • Explain to the customer that they should refrain from a professional carwash until the next day. It is not because the high pressure water could wash out the bead. That is a myth. However, the chemicals used in dissolving the tars and road grime from the vehicles painted surfaces could undermine the freshly applied adhesive bead. A carwash in the driveway with mild detergents is not a problem and can be allowed if need be.

I feel that the post-inspection is as important to the safety and well-being of my customers as the pre-inspection. Customers will come back to your company for future automotive glass services because their vehicle is presented in a way that tells them you care about their vehicle and about their safety.

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