With many industries feeling the hurt of a rough economy, we are seeing consequences from cutbacks in the form of excessive layoffs, diminishing customer service, and cheaper products produced. Due to excessive layoffs, there has become an increase in overall competition in getting the job awarded. The Auto Glass Repair & Replacement industry is no different. There are many reasons why this is not a good thing for the customer.
Quality is a Chosen BehaviorThere are many ways to do a job wrong…but only one series of steps to do the job safe and properly.
Windshield replacement is an easy business to get into. There are no regulations, no certifications, no formal training that anyone has to obtain before going into business. Those of us that have shops that do, are extremely in the minority, especially, in Southern California. In the Inland Empire alone, there are over 400 shops doing business, with about 10 providing a legitimate service. There are a few reasons this is so easy for shops to get away with. The customer is uninformed and has no idea what the proper steps are for a proper installation. They have no idea how to identify glass or what kind of urethane system the shop is using. Basically, the customer is assuming that the shop is acting as a professional representative of their industry. Sadly, most shops in business have no idea there is a proper way of installing a windshield. They assume, that since they were taught a certain way, that way is right. We have made many conversations with shop installers that have no idea what a safe drive away time is, or that there are different statistics for different urethane systems. When we asked them, what the SDAT of their urethane systems are, most replied with a couple hours. They say they tape up the windshield and tell their customers not to drive for two hours. The truth surprised them all, the urethane they had was Dow 428, with, at the time, the SDAT was 16 hours. Even though the installers now know the truth, the owners of the shops have little to no interest on using higher quality urethane. The cost difference is about $100 per case, not worth spending more when the customer can’t tell one way or another. There are some shop owners that have told us, they only use one tube of urethane per job, which usually calls for two tubes of adhesive. The installer doesn’t cut down the old urethane so that he can get away with using half of the urethane necessary. The less money a shop owner can spend on the job, the less he can quote the job for. This mentality is not doing the customer any favors. Without pinchweld primer, your vehicle will rust after the E coat is scratched during the windshield removal process. Without proper prepping of the bonding surface of the glass, the urethane will not be able to make a proper bond, in time coming free from the urethane. Usually the leaking that ensues is the reason the customer calls for help, in this case, as long as they are getting help from a qualified shop, the shop will realize the reason for the leaks and take the proper steps to completely fix the problem. Otherwise, if an accident were to occur, this improperly installed windshield comes loose leaving the vehicle 40-60% weaker.
Over the last couple decades the windshield has become a part of the safety and strength of the vehicle. It is as much a part of the passenger restraint system as the safety belts and airbags. The windshield is designed to remain over 75% attached to both sides of the vehicle to provide the 40-60% of the strength to the A pillar posts that hold the roof up in the event of a roll-over accident. In the event the windshield is improperly installed, the airbag deployment alone, has the power to blow the windshield out, leaving the airbag ineffective as well as now leaving the vehicle weaker and the passengers in jeopardy of roof crush.Auto Glass shops that are quoting the cheapest prices are not following the ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS standards. Shops that care, are in the minority within the auto glass repair & replacement industry, even though, unqualified shops are not actually a part of our industry. Industry organizations. Don’t be part of statistics related to improper installations. www.SafeWindshields.org only the uneducated are able to be taken advantage of…if you know better than the scammers, you can’t be scammed!
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There are huge differences between shops, there should not be one. There are a series of steps necessary for proper windshield installation, if all shops followed these steps…the differences would be minimal, instead of being so drastic.