Windshield Replacement and Repair – Know the Difference
Believe it or not, early cars didn’t come with windshields. By the time they were first introduced, they were simply made of window glass which broke and shattered easily. These early windshields often did more harm than good. These days windshields are made from tempered glass which is specially designed to withstand various dangers from temperature extremes to the occasional piece of debris. More often than not a windshield is able to deflect hazards and withstand the elements without any problem. When a windshield is broken or completely shattered it can become a safety issue for everyone involved.
When it comes to windshields, a repair job is always preferred, particularly by insurance companies. This is especially true in the case of a small chip or crack which can be easily repaired at minimal cost. Not only does the repair job take less time and cost much less than a full replacement, repairs means that the windshield doesn’t end up in the junkyard or landfills. This makes repair jobs more environmentally friendly.
Repairs are done with the help of super strong clear epoxy which is injected directly into the damaged area. The epoxy expands to fill every part of the damage and once it is dried and buffed clean it is virtually impossible to see where the damage had once been. Many insurance companies cover the entire cost of repair so there is no out of pocket expense to you. Most repair jobs can be done quickly and many companies even offer mobile repair service so that the job can be done without your needing to rearrange your own schedule.
Replacement jobs are obviously more complicated and can take much longer. In order to replace the entire windshield the old windshield must first be removed and the seals all around the windshield need to be examined and, in most cases, replaced. Many shops do not carry a wide variety of windshields on site and so depending on your make and model you may have to wait until they are able to order the correct replacement. Once the new windshield is ready to be mounted on your car the technicians will clear any debris from the seals and replace them if necessary. Then the windshield is placed and a special adhesive is used. This industrial glue must be allowed to set for a few hours and, once it has cured, the entire windshield is examined and must be certified as safe. The waiting time for all of this can vary widely. Sometimes it will only require a cure time of a few hours while other windshield needs to be left to set for a full 24 hours.
While there are some instances of damage which simply cannot be repaired it is important to remember that all questions about repair or replacement should be answered by your automotive specialist as well as your insurer. Insurance companies often have a set of guidelines which repair companies must adhere to in order to have the job covered. Taking care of a chip or crack early on will prevent the added stress and expense of a full windshield replacement job.