Not sure if you need windshield replacement or just windshield repair? Then don’t miss this article. Read below to discover which option you need.
Windshields are wonderful things. They keep the rain and snow out of our eyes when we are driving in less than ideal weather. They help to keep us in the car and other unwanted things out of the car. But most importantly, they allow us to see what is in front of us while we are driving. Though this is very important, it is also the fatal flaw of windshields, we can see through them. Why is this a fatal flaw? Simply because they are made of glass and it is a known fact that glass breaks.
Since broken glass is dangerous, you will most likely want to get it repaired as soon as possible should it become chipped, cracked, or even broken completely. However, if you have already shopped around for a windshield repair shop, you have probably realized that this isn’t a cheap repair. Then you remembered that you have insurance, right? Now you want to know if your insurance is really worth what you pay for it. When it comes to auto glass and windshield repairs, several factors determine whether it is covered or not, including the state you live in and the type insurance coverage you pay for.
One could only hope that the answer to the question of auto insurance coverage would be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ But who are we kidding? The list of things in life that are that simple is very short and it most certainly doesn’t include anything dealing with insurance. Let’s see if we can’t make it as easy as possible.
Standard auto insurance usually covers damage done to any auto glass, which includes windshields, sunroofs, and side and rear windows, that are obtained during a collision (not including animal collisions). That means that if your windshield was broken during a storm, it’s not covered. If you had a run in with vandals, you are on your own. If you were unlucky enough to figure out why chickens and other wildlife cross the road and have a collision with an animal, you might want to see if the animal will cover the costs because your insurance won’t. Or if you were struck by one of those pesky flying pebbles, you guessed it, your standard insurance will not cover the repair costs.
If you want to make sure you’re not spending your hard earned cash to have your windshield replaced, your best option is to add comprehensive coverage. This will cover all of the above-mentioned damages and make sure that you don’t have to pay for those repairs yourself.
If you don’t have the coverage needed to get the insurance to repair or replace your windshield, you do have a few other options. If the crack is small and you consider yourself to be even slightly handy, you could fix it yourself. You can buy windshield repair kits for around $10 online or at your local auto supply shop. Be aware of the type of damage your windshield sustained so that you can make sure to buy a repair kit that is suitable for fixing that type of damage. If you are unsure, you can most likely ask a local mechanic or auto body repairman just to clarify.
If you are like many people and you don’t consider yourself to be handy or you just simply don’t have the time or patience to do it yourself, you can always pay to have the repairs done out of pocket. This will probably cost you between $100 and $400 depending on the extent of the damage. If you just get the crack or chip filled to keep it from spreading, it will save you some money but you will still be left with a damaged windshield. If the damage is extensive or you just want to fix the problem once and for all, you can pay to have a new windshield installed but it will definitely cost you more.
Types of Cracks
There are several different types of windshield cracks that a windshield can get from different types of impact. This is important to know, especially if you decided that repairing the damage yourself is your best option. To decide which type of crack you have, first start by assessing the impact site. This is the place on the windshield that made direct contact with the object that did the damage. From here, there are over a dozen different types of cracks. You have the smaller ones like dings, chips, stone breaks, and pits. Then you also have the more complex and larger cracks that include long cracks, edge cracks, floater cracks, and combination breaks.
Each crack will have to be treated differently. If you have a long crack that stretches the full length of your windshield, the best and safest option is to just replace the whole windshield. But if you are dealing with a small chip or ding, you can most likely put some filler in it with a DIY kit just to make sure it doesn’t spread and become a long crack.
Summing it Up
To make this annoying insurance question a little simpler for you, here is a summary of everything you just read:
- Yes, some insurance coverage will cover the cost of having your windshield repaired or replaced.
- No, it is not part of the standard insurance package, it is usually part of Comprehensive Coverage that you can add if you wish.
- If your insurance won’t cover the cost of the repairs, you can do it yourself or pay someone yourself.
- Finally, there are a lot of different ways tiny little stones can damage your windshield (chip, crack, star break, etc.)
If you don’t currently have a damaged windshield and you don’t have comprehensive coverage, you might want to consider getting it now, just in case you need it. If you have comprehensive coverage and a broken windshield, you are good to contact the insurance company now so you can start the process of getting that crack repaired. Finally, if you don’t have comprehensive insurance and you have a cracked windshield, it’s probably time for you to start contacting local windshield repair shops or looking for a do it yourself repair kit. Whatever options you have available, it is important to get existing issues repaired and make sure you are covered in the future.
The windshield plays a major role in a vehicle in many ways. It provides the driver and other passengers protection from environmental elements such as strong wind, rain, snow etc. It also provides safety in case of an accident thus preventing the driver and or passengers from being plunged from the vehicle.
Replacing a Windshield
When unfortunate changes need to be made, whether it be a windshield repair or replacement, several vehicle owners today attempt to resolve this issue with minimal cost. In many circumstances a low cost repair or replacement may not always be the best solution therefore resulting in poor safety and high risk of injury or death.
If a windshield is installed incorrectly it could have devastating results such as the windshield popping out of place. This could cause the driver and or passengers to be thrown out of the vehicle, possibly causing a fatality if a seatbelt wasn’t used. Another possibility is if the windshield gives out the driver may stomp on the brakes causing the driver and or passengers to hit their head on air bag locations causing them to deploy. This can cause other means of serious injury or death.
Shops and Technicians
An individual by the name of David Beck is a windshield installer near Salt Lake City. He installs several windshields daily and has worked in the industry for numerous years.
As an expert technician, this gentleman agrees that proper training as well as certification as a windshield installer is vital and stresses the importance of being aware of what is known as “tailgaters”. He also wants consumers to know there are installers who “slap” a windshield in place with little to no regard for a person’s safety. They don’t manage the windshield properly and don’t use the right adhesives which allows for further issues such as rust and leaks to occur.
Mr. Beck has stated that he wished people knew that their windshield is the main safety restraint in their vehicle. The windshield itself is comprised of two layers of glass with a layer of vinyl sandwiched in between so that when the glass breaks the inner vinyl material holds it together. This is so that the shards don’t cut the vehicle occupants.
Beck has explained that the windshield keeps a person in a car and prevents anything from entering the car. He also explains that it’s not an area to find the quickest solution or the cheapest prices. Mr. Steve Mazor is the chief automotive engineer for the Auto Club of Southern California, stresses that if this vital piece of the vehicle isn’t installed properly so that it holds strong enough, then a person can be ejected from a car at an accelerated speed. This means that serious injury can occur… or worse. He states that the likelihood of surviving a bad accident, or walking away without serious injury, are much slimmer and that nearly a third of all vehicle accident fatalities are due to a person being thrown from a vehicle.
The 20/20 news program conducted an investigation on the safety of windshields and they observed technicians that were installing windshields incorrectly. The biggest mistake they noticed was techs not using gloves during installation. Beck explains that grease and natural oils on their hands causes the adhesive to bond incorrectly. They also caught technicians that failed to use all the proper and necessary materials like primer.
It is important to do research when looking for a windshield installer. It is recommended that you call three or more auto repair shops to ask a few questions other than just price. Levy has stated that is a good idea to ask if the repair shops use glass that classifies as OEM, which is often fits better and is the best quality. Levy has also recommended asking how long it should be before taking the car after completed installation and if they tell you that you can take the vehicle immediately, you should go somewhere else.
Levy has also stated that a car should sit for an hour, at the very least, before you drive it again and in some cases, it could take as long as 12 hours. Beck has stated that if you take your car to a dealership to have a windshield replaced, they will subcontract it out to an auto glass shop to save money. Although when the vehicle is new, you might only be able to get your vehicle’s glass at the dealership. This is what happened with the long-term test car for Edmunds, a 2011 Infiniti m56, where the windshield cost $1,300 and was only available at the dealer.
Estimated Time and Conditions of Installation
The usual installation job will take around an hour and can be done just about anywhere – even your home. After the installation is finished make sure to check to see if the job was done correctly. Check the molding and that there are no signs of materials visible either inside or outside the vehicle. The vehicle interior should be clean. Any sign of miscellaneous materials or debris could be a sign of a sloppy job.
Some rock chips, scratches or stars can be repaired before they worsen and you need to replace the entire windshield. This can save you quite a bit of money. Mazor has stated that some windshield technicians claim that cracks up to 15” long can still be repaired as long as they only meet one edge of the glass. Beck states that rock chips, which he also has experience repairing, are easier to fix when the damage is still fresh. Rain can wash debris into the cracks making it more difficult to seal and this doesn’t take long to happen. He has suggested keeping a roll of clear tape in the vehicle to make slight repairs until a time you can get it to a windshield repair shop.
Beck, when repairing a windshield, injects a polymer into the imperfections. After the unique windshield polymer has cured, he smooths the surface so it doesn’t interfere with the wipers. Beck has stated that if he can get the chip or crack repaired inside a week of the damage, he can keep the windshield from further damage. Levy has said that studies have shown that windshield imperfections that are in a driver’s way when driving can actually slow their reaction time to an emergency traffic situation. She also says that windshields that have pits, hazing or any discoloration should be replaced.
It doesn’t matter if the windshield isn’t broken or damaged due to the fact that imperfections can magnify the glare of oncoming traffic at night. According to Mazor, a new windshield can be more affordable than you think. In a lot of cases the repairs can be covered by the driver’s insurance. The deductible can be as low as $50 – or even free if you have glass coverage – which is well worth the cost when you compare it to the cost of damage if the windshield were to impair a driver enough to cause an accident.
Have a question or concern about your windshield? Contact us for your free consultation and estimate.
You get into your car to start your day, but all of a sudden, the smell of your hair product and cologne is quickly subdued by another smell.
A not-so-glorious one. It’s the smell of mildew, a sign of a windshield leaking problem.
Fortunately, you’re not the first one to face this problem. In fact, statistics show that the most common automobile insurance claims for U.S. drivers involve windshields — at 30%. And a whopping 70-80% of this 30% of claims involve edge cracks.
But there’s no reason to drown in despair. Here’s what to do if you’ve encountered a leaking windshield.
Windshield Leaking? Here Are Some Signs
If you notice any of these problems inside your cabin, you may have a leaking windshield:
- Damp carpet
- Rust stains
Maybe these signs don’t immediately scare you. For example, perhaps mold doesn’t trigger allergy issues for you, so you don’t feel the pressure to solve the problem right away.
The mold might not stop you in your tracks, but a serious computer failure stemming from a leaking windshield certainly will. Windshield leaking can also cause electrical issues such as sensor failures, the rusting of your pin connectors, and windows that fog up as a result of high humidity in your car.
These aren’t problems you can ignore for long.
Not only that but also your windshield plays an important role in your car’s structure. It essentially gives your entire car stability, so a weakness in your windshield can put you and your entire family at risk of injury or even death in the event of a car accident.
Reasons for a Leaking Windshield
Oftentimes, a leaking windshield is simply the result of a poor installation job, particularly if you just had the windshield replaced.
At the time of the job, the correct quantity of urethane might not have been used, thus preventing the windshield from sealing properly.
Another potential cause of windshield leaking following an installation job is that your technician didn’t wear gloves when setting the windshield, so oils from his or her hands prevented the urethane from sticking to your window.
In addition, the technician might have failed to use setting tools or vacuum cups, perhaps because he or she received no training on the use of this equipment.
Another possible issue is that your technician completed your installation job in snowy or rainy conditions, as urethane will not adhere to a damp surface.
If you have an older car, this may also be the reason for your leak, as older vehicles used rubber gaskets that ended up deteriorating over time. Today’s windshields instead adhere to the vehicles’ bodies to provide watertight seals as well as the support needed for airbag systems during possible motor vehicle collisions.
Don’t just assume that the water inside your car is due to windshield leaking, though.
Sure, water can easily invade your car’s interior through a windshield that is either faulty or cracked. But it can also enter through the vents of a broken car air conditioner or even through the car’s body.
Leaks can additionally happen around doors or sunroofs that are not sealed adequately. That’s why we suggest performing simple tests to verify that a windshield leak is indeed the culprit.
Finding your leak’s source can be more difficult than it sounds, and testing may be a time-consuming process, but fortunately, you can do the testing yourself. Let’s go over a couple of options.
The Shower Test
For this test, close all doors and windows, and then, shower the outside of your automobile with water from a garden hose.
Start at the lowest point of the windshield, and then, slowly work your way up while an assistant inside the vehicle searches for where the stream begins to enter the cabin. Use low water pressure, as too much force will cause the water to simply bounce off the car.
Be cautious if you use this test, though.
Make sure that you protect your vehicle’s interior from potential water damage in the event that you discover a windshield leak.
The Soap Test
This test first involves applying soap to a wash mitt. Then, rub the soap onto the trim area of your windshield’s exterior, and finally, turn your car’s heater blower to defrost.
Alternatively, have an assistant blow air onto the windshield’s edges from inside the car using an air nozzle.
As you stand outside, look for soapy bubbles. They will tell you where your leak is happening.
Seal it Up
If you’ve found your leak, you can now fix it with the proper materials. First, take off your windshield’s exterior trim, and use paint thinner or another adhesive remover to clean the area under and around the seal.
Then, dry the area, and apply brand-new sealant to your windshield beneath the seal.
Finally, smooth any rough areas using an index card.
After giving the sealant several minutes to try, repeat your water test to see if your repair did the trick.
In all your sealing bliss, however, don’t make the mistake of using the “S” word — silicone — as silicone contracts and expands in the cold and heat.
On top of that, you can’t complete a resealing job with the right sealant because it will not stick to silicone.
How We Can Help
If you still can’t seem to stop the windshield from leaking, that’s where we step in.
Your leak might not be close to its source, as water may travel a long distance before it reaches your vehicle’s interior. This can easily throw you off when you’re attempting to diagnose the problem yourself.
However, we have the skills and equipment to diagnose your problem and to repair or replace your windshield depending on your unique situation. Trust us to get the job done so the problem doesn’t continue to come up for you.
Have a question or concern about your vehicle’s auto glass? Contact us to talk about it!