(ARA) – Before you jump into your car for that long-planned road trip, there are a few things you need to take care of to make sure your trip will be a safe one.
“Get an oil change, have your belts and engine checked, and if your windshield has ever been replaced, make sure the job was done right,” says Leo Cyr, vice president of NOVUS Auto Glass.
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 82 people are either killed or injured in accidents every day after being ejected from their vehicles. There’s no breakdown of how many of those people went through windshields, but Cyr figures the number is high.
“Laws exist that require seatbelt use. Laws exist to prohibit tampering with or disabling airbags. However, there are no laws that govern how a windshield is replaced once the vehicle leaves the factory. An improperly replaced windshield could — and sometimes does — become detached from the vehicle during airbag deployment, from the force of a collision, or when the car rolls or flips over. With the windshield disabled, the effectiveness of the vehicle’s safety restraint system (SRS) is seriously compromised.
“The tragedy of the situation,” explains Cyr, “is the average person will not realize their windshield was improperly replaced until it is too late. There are literally thousands of responsible auto glass companies in the United States that perform high-quality, safe windshield replacement. However, the way to locate and select such a company comes from knowing what questions to ask before making a commitment.”
The first question to ask is if the windshield really needs to be replaced, or if dings in the glass can be repaired. Chips or dings that are small enough to be covered by a credit card or cracks that will fit under a dollar bill are typically repairable without having to remove the factory seal of the original glass.
If you do decide to go through with a repair, ask if the technician will take the following steps when making the repair:
* Remove the old sealant leaving approximately 1/16 inch bonding surface.
* Clean and prime the glass and the vehicle pinchweld.
* Wear gloves so as not to contaminate the clean glass.
* Use urethane adhesive (not butyl tape or silicone).
* Check for a passenger side airbag and, if present, use urethane rated for that type of installation.
* Discuss how long before the vehicle can be driven.
* Tell you the “do’s and don’ts” of operation during adhesive curing.
Afterwar the job is done, inspect the work carefully. You do not need to be an auto glass expert to identify the “tell tale” signs of improper installation. From outside the vehicle, see if the windshield is perfectly centered on the car. Is the distance the same between the left side and the right side of the windshield and the auto body?
Finally, inspect the molding that fits around the entire circumference of the windshield. Is the molding broken or are there visible gaps? Is the molding flat or does it look like a roller coaster? Most importantly, is the glass flush with the vehicle’s body? If any of these conditions are present, the installation should be considered suspect.
“When shopping for auto glass repair and/or replacement services, people need to be quality conscious to a fault,” says Cyr. “Discounts, coupons and sales incentives are fine when shopping for ‘brand’ name products at competing retailers. Auto glass repair/replacement is not a product. It is a service — a safety service — requiring the use of the best materials technology has to offer.”