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Windshield Replacement: A Guide on What to Expect

By 2024-06-14 No Comments

Did you know that approximately 14 million windshields are replaced annually in the United States? This statistic makes it look like a common occurrence, but you should never take it as such.

Windshields do more than just a sheet of glass – they are an essential part of your vehicle’s safety system for visibility and structural integrity, among other things.

Knowing what happens during this procedure will help dispel fears or concerns and ensure quality work is done on your car. So, let’s discuss every step involved in replacing cracked auto glass and find out what happens at each point.

Windshield Replacement: A Guide on What to Expect myWindshield

Understanding why windshield replacement matters

Before understanding how it’s done, let’s understand why timely replacement matters. The windshield does more than just protect you from the elements – it contributes significantly towards the overall safety of your car.

During a front-end collision, for instance, this component gives much-needed support which can prevent roof collapse. It also acts as a backstop for airbags, ensuring their proper deployment when they’re most needed during impact protection.

However, slight chips or cracks on its surface could impair vision, especially if located within a direct line of sight. These could worsen with time due to fluctuations in temperature, vibrations from driving on rough roads, etc., necessitating extensive repairs later on at higher costs. 

Therefore, dealing with any problem as soon as possible is about being safe and preventing further deterioration and potential dangers.

The process of replacing a windshield

Initial Evaluation

To begin with, an expert who is well-trained in auto glass will carefully evaluate how badly damaged the windshield is before deciding the best solution. Depending on their findings, this could be fixing or changing the entire windshield altogether. They will examine its size, location, type (bullseye or chip crack), and other factors.

By carrying out this evaluation, they can know if only repairs are required or if a complete windshield replacement needs to be done, but it always depends on the extent of damage. Windshield repairs can be offered where some small cracks and chips are not in the driver’s line of sight.

Insurance consideration

If your auto insurance covers windshield damage, your technicians might help you file a claim, receive an approved estimate, and book an appointment when convenient.

If your insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacement or you choose to pay out-of-pocket, the technician will provide you with a detailed quote outlining the costs involved.

Preparation

First, the technician will ready your vehicle for replacement after finishing the evaluation and settling insurance issues (if necessary). This means safeguarding both the interior and exterior of your car.

To do this, they will cover up the dashboard, steering wheel, and seats so that no dirt or glue gets onto them. Additionally, areas outside around the windshield, such as fenders or hoods, may be covered to protect against any harm while removing it.

Taking off the broken windshield

The technician will start by prepping the car and removing the damaged windshield. This step is performed with precise care using special tools.

A unique knife cuts through the adhesive bond attached to the old windscreen. Next, they gently pry it from its frame without causing any harm to nearby areas.

Cleaning and priming

After removing the previous windscreen, every part of it should be removed from where it was fixed before any new installation can occur; otherwise, there won’t be enough space for the new one.

To this effect, technicians clean up meticulously around these edges so that nothing sticks or gets in when another glass panel is being attached later on through an adhesion process like urethane adhesives (which need good surface contact).

Anything left behind, such as resins, must be removed since they may interfere with proper bonding between two surfaces. Only when everything has been cleared off completely can primer be applied.

Primers create strong bonds between materials like metal frames and polymer sheets used to make windshields.

Putting in a new windshield

A quality adhesive made of urethane can now be applied all over the windshield frame. Gloves are worn during this time because some adhesives contain chemicals that can cause burns if they come into contact with the skin.

The use of gloves also helps prevent contamination, which might compromise bonding strength later on between these two parts due to dirt or grease interference at their interface level (where adhesive meets material).

The adhesive should securely bond glass against the frame and allow flexibility for accommodating natural movements caused by driving vibrations, etc.

Curing time

Adhesives cure fastest when moisture is present, so it should not take long before a windshield securely binds itself to your car frame after being joined together using a urethane adhesive.

However, your technicians might give this some time for curing, usually between 24 hours and up to three days, depending on the type of adhesives used and environmental conditions like temperature and humidity levels.

Proper aftercare for a successful windshield replacement

The first twenty-four hours following any windshield replacement are crucial. The following tips will help you ensure a successful installation:

Avoid car washes

Do not take your car through high-pressure or touchless car washes for at least 24 hours after the installation. The strong water jets can dislodge the adhesive before it has had time to cure properly.

Crack open windows

Leaving the windows slightly cracked open for the first day will help regulate air pressure inside and outside the vehicle, preventing any stress on the adhesive bond caused by rapid changes in pressure.

Leave retention tape on

If retention tape was applied during installation, wait to remove it until your technician instructs you. Retention tape helps secure the windshield during the initial curing process.

Drive gently

Avoid unnecessary heavy braking, driving over potholes or speed bumps, or other sudden jarring movements for the first few days after installation. These actions can cause stress on the new windshield before it is fully cured and may lead to premature failure of the adhesive bond.

Check for leaks

After a few days since your windshield was replaced, inspect carefully around its perimeter (especially at the lower corners) for any signs of water leakage. If you notice a leak, contact the auto glass shop as soon as possible to have it resolved.

Choosing an auto glass shop: What you should know

You must choose the best auto glass shop for your windshield replacement. Below are a few things that should be considered when picking out an auto glass shop:

Certification and experience

Find an establishment with certified technicians who are experienced in replacing windshields. Certifications show that these workers have been trained and possess all the necessary skills to complete this task successfully.

Quality materials

Ensure that high-quality OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or OEE (original equipment equivalent) glass is used with its respective adhesive at such establishments. Failure to do so may compromise safety as well as the lifespan of the new windshield.

Warranties

Most reputable automobile glass shops offer a warranty covering the workmanship and materials employed during repairs or replacements. Having such assurance gives peace of mind when driving around, knowing very well that any future problems arising from your newly fixed windscreen will be catered for under this agreement.

A safer drive with your new windshield installed properly

Replacing windshields is difficult because they require expertise, quality materials, and proper care afterward.

However, by following through with all the necessary steps while selecting a reliable auto glass company, you can be assured that everything will work out fine.

Every successful windshield replacement should bring back clarity and structural soundness to any damaged screen, enhancing safety for everyone traveling in the vehicles.

Therefore, you should not treat new windshields as beautifiers; instead, consider it a worthwhile investment towards personal protection. Above all, don’t procrastinate when faced with broken windshields – act fast and drive safe!