Demystifying Auto Glass Repair

By Randy Stern June 12, 2014
Photographer:

Categories: Our Homes, Vehicles & Rides

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

It is not often we think of dealing with windshield damage.

When we do, it becomes a huge affair between reporting to your insurance company, determining fault and who gets to pay what, and the fix itself. Once the claim is in motion, we find ourselves taking the whole process for granted to the point of paying for the entire replacement of the windshield.

To find out the truth about auto glass repair, Brad White of Novus Glass in Shakopee spoke to us about some of the facts of the business. What we found out was a lot more than just replacing a windshield.

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

Most likely, you would encounter a projectile hitting your windshield. It would leave a chip in the glass. Some chips are repairable, according to White. To repair the minor damage, White explains that the hole is cleaned before it is injected with a resin. Air is removed from the hole before a pit resin is injected to finish up the fill. A UV lamp is applied over the repair to induce UV rays to cure the resin. The repair procedure takes 15 to 45 minutes from start to finish. White said that you might still see the repair and if you want it to go away completely its always best to just replace the windshield.

What if that chip is not repaired? “Unresolved glass damage could be the start of a crack that goes across the windshield,” according to White. A glass replacement is in order. If contracted, White would be able to get a new windshield in the vehicle. The job takes about three hours if done on site, as it involves the removal and application of the new glass, along with the time needed for the urethane to cure long enough to drive the vehicle safely. Any poorly installed windshield or large glass damage is a potential threat to the vehicle’s strength when involved in an accident.

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

One thing to keep in mind that the windshields are made with laminated glass. Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an inter-layer, typically of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), between its two or more layers of glass. The inter-layer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large, sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic “spider web” cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass.

Laminated glass is normally used when there is a possibility of human impact or where the glass could fall if shattered. Skylight glazing and automobile windshields typically use laminated glass. In geographical areas requiring hurricane-resistant construction, laminated glass is often used in exterior storefronts, curtain walls, and windows. The PVB inter-layer also gives the glass a much higher sound insulation rating, due to the damping effect, and also blocks 99% of incoming UV radiation.

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

The windshield is not the only piece of glass we have to contend with in terms of damage. We often deal with shattered door glass or rear windows. These pieces are typically tempered glass and have a tendency to shatter in many pieces, unlike laminated windshields. Some of these pieces of glass are easily replaced, but as White states, there is sometimes “a lot more involved (in replacing side glass) with today’s vehicles.” Today’s automobiles have a plethora of electronics installed in the doors and rear glass area that sometimes need to be disconnected before removing and replacing the glass.

As for the quality of the replacement glass used on your vehicle, White states that glass equivalent to original manufacturer’s specification is required for all insurance claims. He only uses that specification for all of his replacements.

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

How much does repairing or replacing auto glass cost? A windshield repair would cost between $60 to $80. Windshield replacement can run anywhere from $250 to $1500 depending on the vehicle. In Minnesota, insured motorists who carry full coverage have a zero deductible on glass repairs and replacements; however, check your policy before making any claim on glass damage.

Before you make any claim, understand that insurance companies already have a tie-in with specific networks of auto glass companies. If you want to designate a certain company to do the work, it is suggested to contact your preferred glass repair and replacement service provider first before you make a claim.

Photo by Randy Stern

Photo by Randy Stern

There are many things to consider whenever you are presented with damage to your vehicle. It is essential to take care of the glass of your vehicle as it pertains to overall structural integrity. Perhaps this primer on auto glass repair may help the next time when hail, a potential thief, or a pebble from the truck in front of you hits your vehicle’s glass.

For more information about Novus Glass in Shakopee, go to www.novusglass.com.

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