Few things are more annoying to the owner of a new car (or even a beloved older car) than the appearance of chips, cracks and other damage to their car or truck glass. If you're fuming over this issue, rest assured that an auto glass shop can restore your vehicle to its former glory. But when you're ready to bring your car or truck in for an evaluation, make sure you ask the relevant professionals these four important questions.
1. Repair or Replace?
Repairing a damage pieced of auto glass is invariably cheaper than replacing it, but in some cases you may not have a choice in the matter. Your auto glass specialist will have to evaluate the damage carefully to recommend the right course of action. The position and size of the defect are often the deciding factors in whether car or truck windows or windshields can actually be replaced properly. Variables may include:
- Length - A crack that extends longer than 18 inches may not be repairable.
- Depth - Cracks or chips that penetrate the outer layer of windshield glass to the inner layer, or which originate from the inside layer, may call for replacement instead or repair.
- Position - A crack or chip that extends beyond the visible part of the glass may be impossible to repair completely. Repairing defects that fall into the driver's central field of vision is also inadvisable, since even a skillful repair may not provide ideal visual clarity.
2. How Long Will It Take?
Auto glass repair at a place like Brite-View Glass takes considerably less time than a full windshield replacement. Repairing a typical chip or crack may take only 40 minutes or less, depending on how much grime or debris has to be scrubbed out of the defect first. Once this preliminary step is completed, the technician simply injects a clear resin into the defect, polishes it smooth, and allows the resin to cure into the resilient undetectable final result.
Windshield replacement is another matter entirely. When performed properly, this process generally requires significantly longer curing times than a mere repair does, even though the installation itself may take only a few minutes. That's because the windshield is an essential piece of safety equipment and must be absolutely fixed to the car before you take it out on the road. If your installer uses a one-part urethane to adhere the windshield to the car, you may have to wait 12 hours or more before the care is safe to drive. Use of a two-part urethane, in which chemicals accelerate the curing process, can reduce the wait to about one hour. Ask your service tech which method needs to be used on your vehicle.
3. What Kind of Glass?
All windshield replacement products are not created equal, so it pays to ask about your options. Dealerships use dealer glass, which is the exact same product that the car or truck came with, while auto glass shops use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) glass. OEM glass is considered to be the equivalent of dealer glass in terms of clarity and durability, so you can have it installed with confidence. You may also have the option of installing aftermarket glass known as OEE (original equipment equivalent) glass for even less money, but be aware that you get what you pat for in this case -- OEE glass can vary widely in quality (and possibly even in glass thickness).
4. How Much Does Insurance Cover?
This is a question for your insurance company, and it's an important one. Auto glass damage is covered by the comprehensive portion of your insurance plan, but only beyond the amount of your deductible. For example, if your deductible is $250 and the repair estimate is $500, you and the insurance company will each pay half of the total cost. If your deductible as large as (or larger than) the total estimate, then there's no point in filing a claim for it at all. Once the insurance company approves your claim, ask whether you can have the work done at any auto glass shop or only at certain preferred ones.
Auto glass damage is an irritating and potentially hazardous problem, but asking the right questions will help you resolve it as quickly and cost effectively as possible while ensuring a safe, top-quality result. Good luck!