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Windshield replacement comes as a necessity most often because of debris from driving behind someone with a number of loose objects in the back of the truck or accidents. Sometimes, even weather conditions like hail can be culprit that makes this necessary. However, you can make this activity as pleasant as possible by discovering what options are available to you.

For instance, your insurance coverage is the first place to start. You need to find out what your insurance covers regarding windshield replacement such as whether or not coming to your home is an option. If so, is this option free of cost. Also, you should be able to choose your own glass company if you do not like their choice. You can take their recommendation if you like but it should not be a requirement to replace the windshield free of charge.

Back Windshield Replacement

Choose a glass company that does not compromise the quality of the glass they use for your replacement. Some of the glass companies will use a cheaper glass because it saves them money. This is not in your best interest. You want to make sure that you do not have to revisit the company anytime soon. Any company that has integrity and pride in workmanship will offer a warranty for the work done in a realistic time-frame.

You should not have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to have your car returned with the job done. Most places have a 24-hour turnaround and it does not create a problem for them or you. It is important to note that once the replacement has been done, you still may have wait an additional amount of time to make sure the window sets and you do not undo the work that was just done. Wind pressure can certainly make a difference if the required amount of time is not taken. Warmer weather allows the window to set quicker than cold weather, so the amount of time you have to wait will vary with the extreme hot and cold weather.

Broken Windshield Repair

Customer service associates should be able to answer general questions regarding the process of the windshield replacement and type of glass used. If there is more than one type of glass, you should be given an understanding of what the features and benefits are with the various choices. Make sure the glass company is certified by the National Glass Association is a standard of measure you can use.

Now, for some persons needing auto windshield replacement, this may be over-the-top. It is just not that serious for them. However, the point is that if you take the time to make sure you are spending money wisely, the activity becomes a little more pleasant.

Last, but certainly not least is the option to replace the glass your self. However, it is important to note that this option is viable only if the glass has not spidered. Small cracks can be repaired without a full glass replacement. You can obtain the kits from auto repair stores and discuss any questions with the customer service associates available to answer your questions.

Should the crack in the windshield be longer than two inches, your best move would to have a glass company do the work professionally. Spidered windshields raise the risk significantly of having the windshield completely shatter. This is certainly not a great outcome while you are driving.

The important thing here is that you have rights and options when it comes to replacing the windshield of your car for whatever reason. There are standards and the experience really does not have to be a nightmare.

Windshield Repair or Replacement, a Crucial Decision

Affordable Auto Glass Replacement

WINDSHIELD REPAIR: WHAT IS IT?

Your vehicle's windshield is composed of three layers: two pieces of glass separated by a thin layer of "PVB" (polyvinyl butyrate). PVB is the plastic film that essentially holds it all together. Depending on the density of the outer-layer and the force of a rock impact, the glass can flex and break. Unless the windshield is completely shattered, most often the damage is in the form of a rock chip. These are generally in the shape of a star, bullseye, or tiny crack. Although it may appear innocuous, over time, a rock chip will more likely than not spread to form a crack. Studies have shown that over 90% of rock chips continue to grow. Fatigue stress due to temperature changes and road conditions work to accelerate this process.

The first company to introduce a rudimentary system for windshield repair was 3m, with a product called "Scotch Weld." This system produced an ultrasound vibration to clean the break while injecting an adhesive. It was relatively effective; however it failed to repair many types of damage.

In 1972, Dr. Frank Werner invented a device that could substitute the air within a rock chip with a resin that could prevent a crack from developing. Over time, the science behind windshield repair evolved. Today, windshield repair is considered a favored alternative to windshield replacement in many circumstances. And although the science has evolved, the objective remains the same: to completely substitute the air within the break with an acrylic resin that will improve optical clarity, prevent further damage, and restore the structural integrity of the windshield.

THE WINDSHIELD CONUNDRUM: REPAIR OR REPLACE?

Windshield repair is essentially preventative maintenance. However, most motorists whose windshields suffer rock damage pay little or no mind to it. This is especially true where the damage is outside of the acute area of the windshield - not directly in front of the driver's view. Hence the saying: "out of sight, out of mind."

Once the rock chip spreads to become a large crack, windshield repair is no longer a viable option. Unfortunately, the cost of a new windshield can range anywhere between $300 to well over $1000, depending on the vehicle and the type of replacement windshield. OEM windshields, those made by the original manufacturer, are significantly more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts. In addition, many modern windshields offer features such as heating elements, sun coatings, and antennae, which significantly inflate the cost. Even with insurance, the deductible can be so high that it would be pointless to file an insurance claim. Thus, it is easy to understand why a $50 windshield repair is a favored alternative.

But cost is not the only issue. Once a factory windshield is replaced, other problems can surface. Windshield replacement compromises the factory seal, which is nearly impossible to replicate. Not only can an improperly replaced windshield lead to leakage and possible water damage, it can fail in the event of an accident.

Together with the air bags and seatbelts, the windshield plays a significant part of the vehicle's safety restraint system (SRS). In an accident, the windshield works to maintain the structural integrity of the passenger compartment. As you can imagine, this is especially important in the event of a roll-over accident. It also cushions the occupant's impact and prevents the possibly of being ejected from the vehicle. An improperly installed windshield could fail on all of these fronts.

An investigative report conducted by ABC's 20/20 shed light into the dangers surrounding improperly installed windshields. It found that millions of windshields have not been installed properly and have contributed to serious injuries and even death.

So there are many reasons why a vehicle owner should opt for windshield repair early on. Ignoring the small and seemingly unintrusive rock chip could prove to be a mistake.

WINDSHIELDS: THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Every year about 15 million windshields - about 600 million pounds of waste - are replaced in the United States. Until recently, much of it has ended up in landfills due to logistical obstacles, difficulties with separating the glass from the PVB, and lack of facilities.

Only recently have companies begun to take up the environmental cause. In 2010, JN Phillips Auto Glass launched its "Green Shield" program and began recycling windshields. To date, over a million pounds of used windshields have been successfully recycled. Still, the process is slow, cumbersome, and expensive. It also involves the transportation of massive amounts of windshields, adding to the carbon footprint.

What is more, windshield recycling is not required by law, so most replaced windshields continue to end up in landfills. The reason is simple economics: lack of incentive to recycle. As of yet, windshield recycling is not subsidized by the government, nor is it given considerable preferential tax treatment. Since the cost of recycling eventually shifts to the consumer, the cost of a new windshield would increase significantly. To compete in the competitive free market world of windshield replacement, recycling is simply not cost effective.

Windshield repair, on the other hand, leaves almost no impact on the environment. Whereas about 250,000 BTU's are necessary to manufacture a typical 30 pound windshield, windshield repair requires practically no energy. What is more, the amount of waste generated from windshield repair is negligible. Thus, windshield repair is always a greener alternative to replacement.

INSURANCE COMPANIES: THEY GET IT

Insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against risk of contingent, uncertain loss. The insurer agrees to indemnify the insured in the event of a loss. Overall, it's a pretty simple process. However, a significant portion the claim may not be covered by the insurer. This is known as the deductible - the amount that must be paid out of pocket before an insurer will cover any expenses. The average deductible for both collision and comprehensive claims is roughly around $500. This can be difficult to digest when the time comes to file a claim. In many cases, the insured will simply forgo filing the claim to avoid having to pay the deductible and possibly risk an increase in premiums. Not to mention, if a new windshield costs $400, filing a claim would be pointless with a $500 deductible.

Today, most insurance companies understand the importance of having the windshield repaired before it's too late. To incentivize motorists to repair rock chips and small cracks, a majority of comprehensive policies carry with it a 100% indemnity on windshield repair. No deductible is required. Insurance companies realize that most rock chips inevitably will require a new windshield if left untreated. In most cases the rock chip will be a certain loss.

So from a risk management perspective, insurance companies benefit by paying the full cost of a windshield repair. First, it eliminates the risk that the insurer will be required to pay significantly more for a new windshield. And second, it eliminates the risk that a damaged or replaced windshield could fail to provide the structural integrity necessary in the event of an accident.

DO IT YOURSELF KITS: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME

There are many inexpensive DIY (Do-It-Yourself) windshield repair kits on the market. Those that come to mind include "Liquid Glass," "Pitstop," and "Fix-A-Windshield," to name a few. These are simple plastic devices that essentially use the same process. Most cost around $10 to $20 and have a one time use.

Reviews on DIY kits vary greatly. Some report good results, while others regret making their own attempt at repair. The only certainty is that a successful repair is not certain.

According to Edmunds.com, these kits are essentially "inexpensive band-aids" that don't provide a complete repair. The reason is simple science. The basic idea of windshield repair is to remove the air contained within the rock chip and completely substitute it with resin, which can be up to 2000 times as dense as air. Removing the air is essential to minimize the pressure inside the rock chip, allowing the resin to flow and reach the entire break. Unfortunately, cheap DIY kits simply are ineffective at removing all of the air. What is more, they do not provide the amount of pressure necessary to force the resin to reach tighter areas of the break, leaving much of it untouched. What may appear to be a decent repair job may in fact just be a band-aid that will fail to prevent a crack from spreading.

Finally, cheap windshield repair kits are just that: cheap. It follows that the resin used to fill the break is also cheap. Acrylic resin used by professional windshield repair technicians can range from $50 to $100 an ounce, depending on the manufacturer. So it makes sense that the resin from a DIY kit repair can dislodge over time or become discolored, which has been reported by many users. Also, once the repair is complete, it is impossible to re-repair.