by Bob Beranek

There have been discussions about carmakers requiring pre & post scans when doing any repair work on their vehicles lately. “Scanning” means using a tool to read the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBDII) computer.

The scan taps into the OBDII port under the driver side dashboard and flags “fault” codes that are tripped by things that cause problems for the vehicle. Dealerships, body shops and other repair facilities are already required to perform a pre-scan prior to beginning any repair procedure to make sure there are no undetermined issues to deal with, along with and a post-scan after the repair is complete to confirm the repair.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Vehicle technology built into the modern vehicle is categorized under two headings, safety related or performance related. Safety related technology is the most important. If safety related features are not performing properly, the repair facility is obligated to fix the problem. An example might be the Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS). I say “might be” because it is still unclear if ADAS is an “assist” system or a “safety” system.

Some safety systems are noticeable to the driver via lights, sounds, and warnings that pop up on the dash or fill the cab with audible warnings. Others are intertwined with other systems that are read by the scan of the vehicle and are not obvious to the driver. The carmaker wants to make sure the vehicle owner has the most current safety technology up and working correctly.  Directing and requiring scans help assure the safety of occupants in the vehicle.

The other scanning requirement is of performance related technology. Vehicle owners spend thousands of dollars to have the latest in performance features and expect them to be in working order. When an owner enters a repair facility, they expect their vehicle to be in the same working order as when it arrived at the repair shop. Pre & post scans assure the customer of that expectation.

What does this have to do with auto glass? Our challenge is to step up. This new technology has reached our industry through our connection to ADAS and with other glass related systems. We must rise to the level of professionalism of our sister industries.

More and more auto repairers pinpoint systems that are not operating properly through a pre-scan process. They then deliver that vehicle back to the owners, with all of the systems repaired and operating at peak performance and safety; which are documented through the post-scan process.  Our industry cannot be any less of a service provider.

There are dozens of scanners available to the professional and consumer and can range from under $100 to thousands. Each scanner offers different levels of performance from superficial readings for the car owner to global scans that professionals use to diagnosis complex systems.

My advice – do your homework and determine the scanner that will fit the needs of your shop. Purchase and use it on every vehicle. When an issue shows itself, determine if you have the ability and equipment to repair the problem. If not, inform the customer of the issue and suggest a repair by a professional that can complete it.

I’m dedicating this post to “setting the glass.”

What exactly is meant by setting the glass? Setting the glass refers to placing the glass into the opening on the vehicle’s body where it is meant to fit. Some glass parts are adhered to the frame (pinchweld) and others are mechanically fastened and attached with nuts and bolts. The adhered part uses adhesive to bond and seal the opening from weather related issues, while the mechanically attached parts use a sealant.

Proper glass setting is imperative to sealing and bonding success. The amount of clearance in many cases, from top to bottom and from left to right are less than ¼ inch. The most important and difficult part to set and manipulate is the windshield. Due to its size, awkwardness, and importance to safety, the windshield gets all of the attention when it comes to accurate placement.

To properly set a glass into an opening, it is imperative to have access to all sides of the glass part and the opening. Tucking the glass under the cowl panel is not an acceptable procedure.  The technician cannot see the lower bead contact the adhesive and cannot correct a displaced bead after setting it because of the cowl panel’s presence.

There are many procedures and tools available to aid in setting the glass. Some may take extra effort, more practice, or additional cost than others, but the choice is that of the technician.

Once the glass is set in the opening and on the adhesive, the next step is to “deck” it out and make the seal. This is accomplished by the firm but gentle depression of the glass into the opening. How far into the opening the glass is depressed is important, if it’s too far and the glass could be susceptible to stress cracks. On the other hand, if it’s too little, and the glass will not perform its safety role in a crash.

The ideal positioning in the opening is dependent on the style of the vehicle. In a vehicle equipped with exterior mouldings the outside glass surface should be tight against the underside of the exterior mouldings and spaced high enough from the interior mouldings to prevent unpleasant noises.

If the glass has an exposed-edge style of mounting, then the glass positioning should be slightly lower than flush with the roofline. If it’s flush with the roofline, the glass and body can cause a noise called the “flute” effect. The air blows over the gap between the glass edge and the wall of the pinchweld causing a whistle or air rush noise. If the glass is too high, then the windshield will not support the roof to FMVSS 216a required for safety. If the glass is decked too low and the glass loses its freedom of movement and can cause stress fractures.

Setting the glass is vital to the success of the installation and must be accomplished flawlessly every time. Do not take shortcuts with this step.

There was a television show my wife always watched called “What Not to Wear.” It was a make-over show that helped those who were woefully out of style. This article is not about those of us who don’t dress fashionably, instead it gives suggestions that can save you damage claims from a customer who notices a scratch or dent that “wasn’t there before.” Simply put, when doing an installation you should dress in a way that will eliminate the possibility of damage to the vehicle during the process. It’s not a fashion show.

An auto glass technician will literally hug the vehicle. Which means the clothes you wear and the items you use to protect the vehicle is important in making sure the installation is a profitable one instead of a net loss due to damage.

How do we do this?

Keep in mind the front of your body will contact the vehicle, you should wear items that won’t cause damage.

  • Clothing:
    1. Wear a polo or T-shirt that doesn’t have buttons on the front, because the buttons can scratch the vehicle’s surface.
    2. Refrain from wearing jeans, as they have metal rivets for decoration that can damage a vehicle’s paint.
  • Belt:
    1. A buckle-less belt is the best. However, if you don’t own one you can move the buckle to the side or back.
    2. Remove the belt all together.
    3. Place thick tape over the buckle, or you can purchase a buckle cover.
  • Jewelry:
    1. Remove watches with metal bands, they can scratch the “A” pillar as you come across it with the cold knife. Replace the metal bands with leather or fabric bands, because these are less likely to damage the paint.
    2. Rings are usually not a concern because technicians should be wearing safety gloves. However, you can develop the habit or removing rings.
    3. Heavy necklaces or medallions worn around the neck can fall out of a shirt and damage vehicle fenders and glass. You should remove them and put them on after the installations are completed.
  • Pockets:
      1. Remember things you put in your pockets can scratch the paint and create dents in the fenders through the fabric. I suggest you remove keys, fasteners and small parts from your pockets.
      2. Do not put tools in your back pockets, as they can damage the seats. That is an expensive callback.

    Always remember that smooth and soft is better than rough and scratchy. An option to consider would be to cover all items listed above is a heavy fabric apron. Remember one scratch, one tear or one dent ruins not only your profit but may lose you a returning customer.