by Bob Beranek

The fall season is here, and there are a few things you may need to adjust to compensate for the colder weather.

  • Clothing – Colder weather means proper clothing should be acquired for comfort and quality installations. A cold technician hurries through their installations and can cut corners. You should dress in layers, so when the day wears on and temperatures rise a layer of clothing can come off.

    Photo courtesy of

    Photo courtesy of

  • Scheduling – It’s great to do installations in the open air during the summer and spring. However, the cold winds of the fall and winter are not as pleasant. Make sure to schedule jobs with shelter available as often as possible because cold winds and wet weather are not conducive to proper installations.
  • Tools – You might be able to get by with dull blades and cold knives in the summertime but fall brings stiffer and harder to cut urethane beads. Make sure your blades are sharpened in the morning and honed up during the day and that your power tools are in good working order.
  • Parts – Cooler weather brings more brittle plastic parts. Make sure your parts box is stocked and inventoried. Also you should have your heat gun and hair dryer at the ready to warm up vinyl and dry out pinchwelds. The sun is not as warm in the fall so be prepared to smooth out that “washboard” moulding before you leave each job.
  • Adhesives – Sealants and adhesives will be stiffer in colder temps. Keep them warm by taking them in the shop at night. During the day you can keep them warm by exposing them to warmer air blowing from the floor heaters. I do not recommend using your defrosters on the dashboard, as that can make those cartridges or packages flying projectiles in case of an accident. Check with your adhesive manufacturers’ instructions so you will know what you can and cannot do when storing your chemicals.
  • Primers – Most primers have a longer drying time in colder weather. Make sure you check the proper timing and adjust your installation procedures to compensate.
  • ADAS – Many Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) turn themselves off when the cameras and sensors cannot see the road markings due to rain or snow. You should be aware of this and make sure your customer knows recalibration is required even though the system has shut itself down.
  • MDAT – The Minimum Drive Away Times (MDAT) may have to be adjusted to compensate for cooler and dryer temperature. Some adhesive systems do not need any adjustments except for some primer dry times, however others do need to be adjusted according to the heat and humidity of the day. Keep you MDAT charts available for reference.

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.