You might not think about it often, but your windshield is a lifesaver.
If you didn’t have it, imagine what would happen inside your car when you got on the freeway. Imagine what could have happened to you if your windshield weren’t there when that pebble came flying at your car.
Thankfully, your windshield was there to protect you and other occupants of your vehicle from harm. But now your windshield needs some help. The glass is cracked and can no longer optimally perform its job.
Let’s look at 5 things you should know to properly replace a windshield.
1. Repair or Replace a Windshield?
First, you need to determine the extent of the damage. Sometimes it is possible to repair a windshield without having to replace it completely. This depends on the size of the chip or crack in your windshield.
Generally, windshields with chips smaller than a nickel or cracks shorter than 3 inches are candidates for repair. Of course, a few other factors play into this.
The location of the damage makes a difference. Damage near the edges is more likely to spread quickly and may not be eligible for repair.
Also, the chips may be small, but excessive. If your windshield is peppered with chips, it doesn’t make much sense to painstakingly fill each one. You might as well replace the whole windshield.
Another factor is when the damage occurred. Older cracks or chips are harder to repair than fresh ones.
One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t ignore a damaged windshield. Depending on the type of damage, you could be breaking the law and not even know it. Learn more about that here.
2. Hire a Company
You’ll probably find plenty of advice and information on the Internet for replacing your own windshield. However, that’s not always the best idea.
Windshields are critically important for safety. Incorrect installation means possibly exposing yourself, and anyone else in your car, to serious injury.
Windshield installation is also a very delicate process and it’s extremely easy to mess up. Thus, if you try to do it yourself with a YouTube walkthrough, you will probably make a mistake.
At best, the windshield will only leak and you’ll have to start over. At worst, your windshield may not protect you as it should in the event of an accident.
Your life isn’t worth the risk.
3. Don’t Get Hung Up On Budget
However, you shouldn’t hire any old company to perform your windshield installation. The industry is full of companies that cut corners to offer rock-bottom prices and attract customers.
The trouble is that these installations are only a little better than you doing it yourself. Companies like these aren’t concerned about safety, they’re concerned about making money.
You should choose a reputable company that is dedicated to safety and takes care to follow the correct procedures.
For example, something as simple as not wearing gloves during the installation can be hazardous. Oils and grease from the technician’s hands can interfere with the bonding agent. Other companies may cut corners by using subquality adhesives or not taking care to apply each layer correctly.
A better way to save money is to not take your car to a dealership. Most dealerships outsource windshield installation and charge you a markup. Rather, go directly to the source. Find a highly recommended auto glass repair shop to do the work for you.
You can also call around to get a few different quotes. However, don’t base your final decision on the cost. Consider reviews, recommendations, and the shop’s reputation as well.
4. Insurance Information
In some cases, your insurance company may pay a portion or even all of your windshield repair. This is typically covered under comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy.
Before you start worrying about having your auto insurance payment go up, know this. Glass repair or replacement is almost always considered a not at fault claim. This means that it’s unlikely to affect your premiums.
There are a couple exceptions to this, of course. The most notable being that you need to replace your windshield because of an accident that you were determined to be at fault for.
5. Follow the Aftercare Instructions
You should always follow the aftercare instructions to ensure that you get the best installation possible. Remember, safety is the priority here, not convenience.
This is something you can use to vet glass repair shops as well. If they tell you that you can drive your car immediately after the install, something isn’t quite right.
For bonding agents to properly set, the car needs to stay still for at least an hour afterwards. Depending on the adhesives used, a better recommendation can be up to 12 hours.
Another important tip that your professional should tell you is to leave the windows cracked for the duration of the drying time. This is an important step that you should follow.
When you close your car door it causes a small burst of air pressure inside your car. Before the windshield adhesive has fully dried, this can push on the glass enough to create small spaces or bubbles in the seal. If you leave your windows cracked, the air has somewhere to go and doesn’t put pressure on the windshield.
Replace a Windshield the Right Way
It doesn’t have to be difficult to replace a windshield the right way. Simply follow the tips that we’ve outlined here to ensure a safe and proper windshield installation.
We hope this information has been useful to you. For more great tips about auto repair and maintenance, feel free to check out my blog. With over 30 years in the industry, I know a thing or two about how to handle cars.
Also, if you have a specific question, or some feedback to offer you can always contact me. I’d love to hear from you!