by Bob Beranek
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In my training classes I am asked frequently, “Is drilling a requirement for a good windshield repair?” The answer is no. Drilling is not a requirement.  As a matter of fact, if you can refrain from drilling a pit, the repair will appear better after the process is complete. Not drilling leaves a smaller, less noticeable pit.

You should drill the glass for one reason only. Drilling opens the pit for resin to flow freely.  Sometimes when the break is old, the pit is plugged by debris from the roadway, from car wash wax or other debris forced into the pit by the wipers. This plug hinders the flow of the resin and should be breached or removed to properly complete the repair. Some drill out the plug and others use the edge of a straight edged razor blade to pick out the plug.

I have witnessed techs attempt to drill down to the lamination to fill the break better. Some have said that is what they were taught. Do not do this! The fact is that if you drill all the way down to the lamination, the windshield’s safety has been compromised and it should be replaced not repaired.

The part of the windshield that offers the occupants the greatest barrier for safety is the Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) interlayer. If it is punctured by hitting it with a drill bit, the PVB is no longer a restriction to ejection. It would fail at the puncture.

The proper procedure is to first use the razor blade edge to pick out the plug. If that fails, then drill the pit only to open it up. Never ever go down to the laminate. Just peck the drill bit into the pit until open and only penetrate less than half of the first layer of glass. Once that is accomplished, the resin will flow nicely. If while you are drilling, and a string of plastic comes up the drill bit, you have gone too far.

Please, DO NOT over-drill.

The word “Refracturing,” would be defined as re-breaking of a previously repaired chip. However, I use the term in a different way. I define it as a process in which a chip is made larger to enable you to fix it faster and better. To be more specific, we created a bullseye break at the pit to create a basin for the resin to flow easier to the other legs of the break.

Refracturing is done for a few reasons. For one, it makes a repair faster by evenly distributing the resin and because it doesn’t have to be pressured through the tight recesses of a crack or star type break. The other reason is quality of repair; a half-moon break will repair easier if you cause the half-moon to become a bullseye. To do that, you cause the half-moon to finish breaking and become a bullseye break.

             

Before refracturing                After refracturing

How do you complete a refracturing? First you need practice before doing it on a customer’s vehicle; take an old windshield and practice on surface divets on the glass. It takes a darning needle, larger sewing needle or sharp pick and a weighted tool. I use the handle of a screwdriver or other hand tools.  Next, place the pointed tip of the pick or needle into the pit of the break and tap the dull end with the weighted tool until a small bullseye is created under the pit. It may take several tries to get the hang of it but practice makes perfect. Now, fill in the break normally; the bullseye portion you created will disappear and the far reaches of the break will repair faster.

 

 

 

 

 

If you wish to make a bullseye break from a half moon, the first thing you must do is check the existing break and make sure that the ends of the moon are pointing inward and not outward. If they are pointing outward, the break will run against the pit instead of finishing the bullseye when the refracturing process is applied. However, if the tips of the half moon are pointing inward, the break will finish the circular bullseye due to the natural circular grain of the glass making a chip easy to repair.

Refracturing is a technique that works, give it a try, you won’t be sorry.

 

sa2Auto Glass Week™ is October 5-7, and your visit to the international trade show and festivities is the best way to get involved with your industry and take a few days off. San Antonio, Texas, the location of this year’s show, has a lot to offer. Walk along Riverwalk, sip a margarita and enjoy the music seeping out of the many restaurants and bars along the way. Go to historic San Antonio and visit the Alamo. Walk your industry’s trade show floor and learn what is new and upcoming.

I believe that being a good industry citizen is an important part of your commitment to your career.  Getting involved with the AGRR industry means that you make the difference regarding the direction we follow in the future. How can your presence at an international trade show help your own business and further the automotive glass industry? The show is more than a big convention center with lots of booths:

  • It is seminars, demonstrations and building lasting relationships that can help you in your daily work. Earn Continuing Education (CE) credits towards your Auto Glass Safety Council™ Certification by attending many of the seminars.
  • It is watching the glass replacement, tinting and windshield repair competitions. See how the best compete under scrutiny and side-by-side challenges. Learn some techniques that will make your job easier and increase the quality of your work.
  • It is getting involved with or just sitting in on the industry committee meetings that are going on before, during and after the show. Learn and share your thoughts on how the industry works. You never know, you might bring up an idea that has never been tried or thought of before.
  • It is networking with clients, suppliers and fellow automotive glass professionals. Share a beer or cocktail with your peers. They have tried different things and succeeded or have failed and can share the reasons why.
  • It is also a lot of fun through a golf tourney, pub crawl and silent auction.

sa1Yes, a trade show does cost you a little money and time but it gives back much more. Deduct the cost as a business expense. You can’t do that with vacation costs.

Maybe an annual visit to Auto Glass Week is not in the cards or the budget, but a bi-annual visit to the international show and a bi-annual visit to regional shows would work great. Look at the international trade show as one of your annual vacations that can be fun and informational at the same time. Get involved and enjoy yourself.  See you in San Antonio.