Answering the Most Asked Questions About Windshield Repair and Replacement
Whenever an automobile accident or road-related issue affects your auto glass, there are plenty of considerations that you have to make in a short period of time. If your windshield has been completely destroyed by a wreck or a large object coming into contact with it, then you must find a suitable replacement windshield before you can operate your vehicle safely. Any attempts to operate a vehicle without a windshield can result in danger to you and stiff fines from law enforcement if you are caught. Did you know that windshields provide up to half of the total strength of the roof structure in the event of a roll over?
If the damage to your windshield is less obvious, then you may need a simple repair to solve the issue. Many people may wish to put off such repairs, as it is only human nature to procrastinate (especially when money is involved). This can be equally dangerous, so a repair is needed as soon as possible to avoid long-term issues that can be more costly. Whether you need a repair or replacement, there are plenty of questions and concerns that you may have about the process. In the following article, we will address some of the most often asked questions about windshield repair and replacement to help you get the answers you need.
How long do repairs or replacements take?
The answer to this question depends upon a couple of issues, but is usually a straightforward process. Any repairs that are needed to your windshield are almost always completed within a half hour and the vehicle can be driven as soon as the repair is complete. A windshield replacement, however, may take up to an hour and usually requires the vehicle to remain parked for an additional hour before it is safe to drive. Another concern with windshield replacement is if you select OEM glass over OEE glass; in some cases, this will need to be ordered and may take a couple of days to arrive.
What conditions are needed for auto glass repair or replacement?
In many cases, an auto glass repair technician will come to your location to perform the repairs. Unless your vehicle is stranded in an outdoor location and is incapable of being relocated due to safety concerns, it is ideal that your vehicle be under a covered or inside when the repairs are performed. Various forms of inclement weather present a problem for the replacement or repair of auto glass, so it is generally a good idea to have a safe place from which the auto glass technician can perform the repairs and ensure that the work is not compromised by weather conditions.
Does a windshield repair job remove any visible signs of the crack or blemish?
Unfortunately, a repair does not guarantee that the previous damage to your windshield will no longer be visible. A windshield repair is not performed due to aesthetic concerns but rather to prevent further damage to the windshield, which can lead to a more costly replacement and a compromised strength of the roof in the event of a roll over. In a large percentage of windshield repair cases, a slight blemish or visual defect will remain where the damage once existed, but this is merely superficial.
Does a windshield repair job always result in the damage being corrected?
In the vast majority of cases, a windshield repair job will halt and correct any damage sustained to the windshield. In a small number of cases, however, underlying damage that is not yet visible will be exacerbated by the repair job but can be corrected by the same technician and in the same day. This may leave a larger visual blemish than before, but the damage can be stopped by an auto glass technician. In many cases, if additional damage is sustained during a repair job, the auto glass company will provide partial credit toward the repair.
How do I know if I need a windshield repair or replacement job performed?
There are multiple considerations that can only be assessed by an auto glass technician that is on-site and able to inspect your vehicle’s windshield, but most cracks, blemishes or issues with your windshield that are smaller than a dollar bill will result in a simple repair job. Larger issues, such as running cracks, will almost always result in the entire windshield having to be replaced. Auto glass companies such as Safelite provide ample information on how to further assess these differences and what to expect in terms of cost.
What types of windshield glass are available in the event that a replacement is needed?
There are two main types of auto glass available for those who need a windshield replacement: OEM glass and OEE glass. OEM glass is the same type of glass that comes standard in each new automobile, and is designed by a licensed manufacturer to meet the exact specifications of your vehicle. OEE glass can be thought of as aftermarket glass and does not meet the exact specifications of your automobile due to legal considerations. OEM glass often comes with a warranty, while OEE glass does not. Usually, OEE glass is perfectly fine for any replacement job, but professional drivers and car enthusiasts may wish to spend more on OEM glass for added value and the benefit of a warranty.
Auto Glass Regulations Across the Country
The automobile industry has been around for more than 100 years, and during this time has been on the receiving end of countless forms of regulation from both the federal government and the state. These regulations were designed to ensure safety for passengers and drivers, improve reliability of vehicles and address a number of other key areas that automobile owners, pedestrians and governments alike should all be concerned with. With millions of auto industry employees and tens of millions of drivers, these regulations have profound consequences on our day to day lives.
This is why it is so shocking to learn that despite the fact that auto glass has been around for just as long, there is very little in terms of regulation that applies to the industry – outside of the direct manufacturing of the material. Keeping you safe is a paramount goal of regulations passed at the state and federal level, yet auto glass installation and maintenance has historically been unregulated. What types of regulations exist and where can they be found? We’ll discuss examples in the following article in order to shed light on what regulations look like across the country.
Federal Auto Glass Regulation (Installation)
The biggest surprise to many who seek to have auto glass repair or replacement work done is finding out that no real regulation exists on the industry at the federal level. If your state has no regulations on auto glass technicians, then it’s possible that your work could be performed by someone who is completely unqualified. There is nothing stopping a person in states with no regulation from slapping a logo on a van and providing auto glass repair services immediately. This might be okay in other industries, but auto glass is a crucial part of your vehicle’s rollover strength and stability in an accident. An improper repair can lead to injury or even death.
The Auto Glass Safety Council has been at the forefront of pursuing sensible regulations in the auto glass industy at the federal level. This organization is comprised of qualified business and technicians who have taken the time to understand and learn about all auto glass related concepts, and can perform the work safely. We recommend that you only deal with auto glass shops that are AGRSS-certified. If you are unsure whether or not the shop in question is certified, then be sure to ask. You can also verify via the internet any other applicable certifications that they may have.
Federal Auto Glass Regulation (Manufacturing)
Despite the fact that virtually no federal regulations exist for the installation or maintenance of auto glass, there are ample examples of regulation when it comes to the production and manufacturing of auto glass. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration was formed in 1970 to handle issues relating to safety on our highways and in our automobiles. Since then, it has developed several pieces of regulation that pertain directly to how auto glass is made and how it is installed (by the OEM) in automobiles.
Two of these pieces of regulations are FMVSS 205 & 212, which deals with how thick auto glass and windshields must be, the transparency of the material and how strong it must be. This helps ensure protection from debris and reinforces the vehicle in the event of a rollover. FMVSS 216 also relates to rollover strength, helping ensure that the contact between windshield and roof is sound enough to protect you if the car flips. FMVSS 219 is another great example of glass regulation, which states that no part of a passenger vehicle can penetrate the glass by more than six millimeters in the event of a collision.
State Auto Glass Regulation
While listing the nuances in 50 states is a bit much to absorb, it is safe to say that there are underlying trends that can be observed based on regional location. In the South, for instance, very little regulation at the state level exists when it comes to auto glass installation – save that the replacement product must be of a similar quality as the original. In the Pacific West, you will find regulations that guarantee auto glass shops meet certain conditions for repair and disclosure, providing information on all parts used. The fitting criteria mentioned above also apply in most instances.
The Northeast may have the strictest state regulations on auto glass as a whole. Not only do some states require that auto insurance provide full coverage for replacement of damaged windshields, but aftermarket replacement parts must meet or exceed the quality and fit of the original glass in order to be used. Most states specify that the insured can select where the repairs are performed, but a few states like Alaska do not offer this. Unfortunately, no states currently have regulations on training or certification that auto glass technicians must have to perform the work.