by Bob Beranek
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Back in 2013, I wrote an article for Technically Speaking called “The Seven Steps of Installation Pre-Inspection.” 2013 does not feel that long ago, but new technology has underlined the importance of pre-inspections beyond even what they were in the past.

Interaction with the customer before work begins and the inspection of the vehicle for pre-existing defects are still very important. To review, the tech should look for:

  • Early signs of corrosion. If corrosion is visible before mouldings are removed, it is an indication that there is more corrosion present under the glass or moulding. It may be necessary to discuss bodywork or the possibility of refusing to complete the installation entirely.
  • Moulding fit. If the moulding is not fitting flush to the body or glass, it could indicate a hidden problem with a previous installation. This also should be discussed with the customer.
  • Missing or damaged parts. This also can indicate a previous installation. It could mean the installation may take longer to complete to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Aftermarket paint jobs. Usually appears as “orange peel” texture, improper color matching or over spray on mouldings. This can indicate previous bodywork. This may cause problems with glass fit or paint peeling by removal of the moulding or protective tape.
  • Interior or exterior stains or damage. Check the seats, floor, headliner and interior garnish mouldings. Some stains may indicate a leak that should be addressed before work begins. While others can mean that some exterior parts may be loose or misplaced causing water or air seepage.
  • Electronic and mechanical items. These include wipers, washers, radio, lights, window regulators, power door locks, rain/light sensors, remote start, etc. Make sure all mechanicals are in working order before beginning work or inoperable mechanicals are discussed with the owner.

Today there is even more to look at and deem suitable for auto glass replacement. With the advent of the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) and the increased complexity of modern vehicles, the importance of pre-inspection or “Vehicle Assessment” is more important than ever.

We also now have more to consider when approaching the vehicle for glass replacement. Be sure to look for:

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Is there ADAS present? How do I handle it with the customer? Do I recalibrate or pass it along to the local dealership? If I am doing the recalibration, are all conditions correct for accurate calibrations? Does this vehicle require static calibration, dynamic calibration or both? Does it need a wheel alignment before the recalibration can be performed accurately? Your CSR or dispatcher can be trained to pre-qualify the customer and schedule accordingly, but pre-inspecting and customer interaction is the best for all concerned.
  • Pre/post scans. It is becoming common to pre- and post-scan a vehicle whenever it is repaired or maintained. The scans can pinpoint issues before they become bigger. Some of the items found on a scan cannot be remedied by an auto glass technician but should be found and communicated to the customer prior to doing any work on the vehicle. Post-scans can indicate if something you did caused a fault code to be triggered. This will alert the auto glass technician of possible concerns before leaving the keys with the customer.
  • Tools and their usage. We have a wide array of tools at our disposal. Power tools, new hand tools and setting tools all made to make our job easier and safer. The pre-inspection time should also be used to determine the best tool for the job based on what is observed and investigated by the customer interview. If the vehicle demands zero damage to the pinchweld due to exposure to the painted surfaces, then possibly a wire-out tool rather than a power or hand tool would be better to use. If the glass and installation expose a prior installation, then expect issues like corrosion, vehicle damage and missing parts to be part of your installation.

Modern installations are becoming very complex and technologically advanced. We must be on top of the new changes and be prepared to adjust our pre (and post) inspections to document any existing problems and preserve a record of the work that was done, both for the safety of the customer and to protect yourself from liability.

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