REPAIR OR REPLACE?
Probably the most common kind of damage to windshields is the dreaded stone chip. Call it a ding, a bull’s eye or a break it frequently leads to a long crack and the need to replace the glass. The alternative is to repair the chip before it has a chance to spread.
This is done by injecting a clear, optically pure epoxy into the break, displacing the air. The epoxy is then cured with uv light resulting in a strong, clear repair. Depending on the nature of the break not all repairs are invisible but unless the break is directly in the line of vision they are not usually visible to the casual observer.
Discretion should be used in repairing any break larger than 1 inch in diameter or with more than 3/8” of glass missing from the surface. Likewise, breaks with more than three long legs emanating from the center may not be wise to repair, especially if they are in the driver’s line of sight.
There are several advantages to repairing glass instead of replacing. Repairs generally run between fifty and sixty dollars for one break, far less than replacement. For this reason most insurance companies prefer that a repair be attempted whenever possible and will usually waive any deductible you have and pay the claim.
Another advantage is that the original seal between the glass and body remains intact. While competent glass installers successfully change glass every day, leaks do occasionally occur. On older cars, removing the windshield may be complicated by rust or previous paint work. Classic and antique cars may have expensive or hard to find windshields, which makes replacement impractical. All of these potential problems can be avoided by a simple glass repair
Another service offered by some glass repair companies is scratch removal. Although somewhat limited, scratch removal can be cost effective if the damage is not too extensive. Generally speaking, if the scratch is deep enough to catch a fingernail it’s too deep to polish out. Either you will end up with distortion or the time involved will be too costly. The most common damage suitable for scratch removal would be the frosty streaks left by damaged wiper blades.
A lot depends on the skill of the technician and the nature of the job. For example, it might make sense to polish the glass on an old classic with an expensive or hard to find glass even though it might result in some distortion or expense.
CHOOSING A GLASS REPAIR SPECIALIST
Finding a glass repair specialist is usually as easy as looking in the yellow pages under Automotive Glass or sometimes Windshield Repair. Even though many glass replacement companies have glass repair kits their technicians are not likely to be as experienced as a glass repair specialist whose primary business is repair, not replacement. If you have trouble finding a repair technician or want a recommendation visit a local dealership or used car lot and ask for a referral. They probably know more than one.
You might also want to check to see if the technician is certified by the National Windshield Repair Association. Most probably are not nor is it imperative but it gives some assurance that they know what they’re doing.
Unionville Auto F/X has 30 years experience repairing windshields. Most repairs can be done while you wait at our shop at 291 Albany Tpke. (Rte. 44 ), Canton, CT. Ask for Doug at 860-930-3618.
REPAIR OR REPLACE?