Quarter and Vent Glass R&Rs

Those of you who attended the recent Auto Glass Technician Competitions (the “Olympics”) in West Palm Beach may have noticed that we threw our competitors a little curve this year. Instead of having the competitors replace a windshield in their first heat, we had them remove and reinstall (R&R) a quarter glass.

What surprised me the most were the various ways the competitors removed the parts. Everyone saved their quarter glasses, by the way. Not one participant broke the glass removing it which, in my eyes, proves they all deserved to be there. However, several people did damage the paint during the process.

A few scratches are not important when the body panel from which the glass is removed is going to be professionally painted anyway. That is usually the case when you are asked to remove a glass part whole. In addition, most of the quarter and vent glasses manufactured today are either encapsulated with decorative trim or have trim moldings that will cover scratches caused by the removal and primed by the technician. I understand this.

Please be aware, though, more and more quarter and vent glasses are coming out with exposed edges like the ones we had in the competition. The vehicles we used were Nissan Versa Notes with exposed edge quarters. Exposed edge glass not only leaves the most vulnerable part of the glass exposed to possible fracture, but it also exposes the wall and part of the floor of the pinchweld for the customer to see easily. If scratches are present or damage was primed with urethane black primer, it will be unsightly to the vehicle owner, which brings us to the purpose of this post.

When an auto glass technician is asked to R&R a part, he or she must determine the circumstances surrounding the repair. Is the body panel going to be painted, or is it being removed to make it easier to repair the body panel? Does the glass part have moldings or encapsulation that would cover possible primed scratches? These questions must be answered at the outset, so the technician can pick the method and tools to be used in the removal.

In the past, the success of an R&R procedure was determined by the steadiness of a technician’s hands while pulling a cold knife or by adding a helper who could assist in pulling the other end of a cut-out wire. Recently, we have had an influx of tool designs that have eased the cut-out procedure drastically.  The new wire-out tools and paddle-bladed hand and power tools have increased the success rate even among less experienced techs.

So how do you make sure your R&Rs go smoothly?

  • Understand the problems that could arise. Pay attention to the exposed-edge problem described above, or to undue stress on the glass part that may cause fracture during the removal.
  • Pick the right tools that the job demands. Figure out ahead of time if you want to use a wire-out tool, a cold knife, paddle tool or power tool.
  • Lastly, have the patience to do the job right. Too many times productivity pressure causes bad decisions to be made for the sake of quick removal.

If you are losing your dealer and collision customers, is it because they can’t overlook the damage caused by the R&R procedure anymore? That is a problem that can be fixed.