Windshield Repair: What People need To Know
WINDSHIELD REPAIR: What exactly is it?
Your vehicle's windshield is composed of three layers: two bits of glass separated by a thin layer of "PVB" (polyvinyl butyrate). PVB will be the plastic film that essentially holds it all together. Depending on the density with the outer-layer and the force of a rock impact, the glass can flex and break. Unless the windshield is totally shattered, most often the harm is in the form of a rock chip. These include in the shape of a star, bullseye, or tiny crack. Although it may appear innocuous, as time passes, a rock chip will in all likelihood spread to form a crack. Research has shown that over 90% of rock chips keep growing. Fatigue stress due to temperature changes and road conditions make an effort to accelerate this process.
The very first company to introduce a rudimentary system for windshield repair was 3m, which has a product called "Scotch Weld." This system produced an ultrasound vibration to clean the break while injecting an adhesive. It was relatively effective; nevertheless it failed to repair many types of damage.
In 1972, Dr. Frank Werner invented a computer that could substitute mid-air within a rock chip with a resin that could prevent a crack from developing. As time passes, the science behind windshield repair evolved. Today, windshield repair is regarded as a favored alternative to windshield replacement often times. And although the science has evolved, the objective remains the same: to completely substitute the air from the break with an acrylic resin that will improve optical clarity, prevent further damage, and restore the structural integrity from the windshield.
THE WINDSHIELD CONUNDRUM: REPAIR OR REPLACE?
Windshield repair is essentially preventative maintenance. However, most motorists whose windshields suffer rock damage pay little if any mind to it. This is especially true where the damage is not in the acute area of the windshield - not directly in front of the driver's view. Therefore, the saying: "out of sight, out of mind."
When the rock chip spreads to become large crack, windshield repair is no longer a viable option. Unfortunately, the expense of a new windshield may range anywhere between $300 to above $1000, depending on the vehicle as well as the type of replacement windshield. OEM windshields, those manufactured by the original manufacturer, are now more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts. Additionally, many modern windshields offer features for example heating elements, sun coatings, and antennae, which significantly inflate the fee. Even with insurance, the deductible can be so high that it can be pointless to file protection claim. Thus, you can actually understand why a $50 windshield repair is often a favored alternative.
But price is not the only issue. After a factory windshield is replaced, other issues can surface. Windshield replacement compromises the factory seal, which can be nearly impossible to replicate. Not only will an improperly replaced windshield cause leakage and possible damage from water, it can fail in the case of an accident.
Together with the air bags and seatbelts, the windshield plays a crucial part of the vehicle's safety restraint system (SRS). In a accident, the windshield works to maintain the structural integrity in the passenger compartment. As you know, this is especially important in case of a roll-over accident. What's more, it cushions the occupant's impact and prevents the possibly for being ejected from the vehicle. An improperly installed windshield could fail on these fronts.
An investigative report conducted by ABC's 20/20 shed light in the dangers surrounding improperly installed windshields. It learned that millions of windshields have not been installed properly and have contributed to serious injuries and even death.
So there are lots of 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: Environmentally friendly IMPACT
Every year about 15 million windshields - about 600 million pounds of waste - are replaced in the us. Until recently, much of it's ended up in landfills on account of logistical obstacles, problems with separating the glass in the PVB, and lack of facilities.
Only recently have companies started to take up the environmental cause. This year, JN Phillips Auto Glass launched its "Green Shield" program and started recycling windshields. Up to now, over a million pounds of used windshields are already successfully recycled. Still, the procedure is slow, cumbersome, and costly. It also involves the transportation of massive quantities of windshields, adding to the carbon footprint.
What is more, windshield recycling isn't needed by law, so most replaced windshields still end up in landfills. The reason is simple economics: insufficient incentive to recycle. As of yet, windshield recycling is not subsidized by the government, nor is it given considerable preferential tax treatment. Considering that the cost of recycling eventually shifts on the consumer, the cost of a brand new windshield would increase significantly. To compete in the competitive free market whole world of windshield replacement, recycling seriously isn't cost effective.
Windshield repair, alternatively, leaves almost no impact on the environment. Whereas about 250,000 BTU's are required to manufacture a typical 30 pound windshield, windshield repair requires practically no energy. Furthermore, the amount of waste produced by windshield repair is negligible. Thus, windshield repair is usually a greener alternative to replacement.
Insurance firms: THEY GET IT
Insurance is a form of risk management primarily accustomed to hedge against likelihood of contingent, uncertain loss. The insurer agrees to indemnify the insured in the event of a loss. Overall, it's actually a pretty simple process. However, a significant portion the claim might not be covered by the insurer. This is what's called the deductible - the quantity that must be paid out of pocket before an insurance provider will cover any expenses. The average deductible for both comprehensive and collision claims is roughly around $500. This is often difficult to digest when it's time to file a claim. In many cases, the insured will just forgo filing the claim to avoid having to pay the deductible and perchance risk an increase in premiums. Let alone, if a new windshield costs $400, filing an incident would be pointless using a $500 deductible.
Today, most insurance providers understand the importance of getting the windshield repaired before time runs out. To incentivize motorists to correct rock chips and small cracks, most comprehensive policies carry from it a 100% indemnity on windshield repair. No deductible is necessary. Insurance companies realize that most rock chips inevitably will require a new windshield if left untreated. In most cases the rock chip would have been a certain loss.
So from a risk management perspective, insurance providers benefit by paying the full cost of a windshield repair. First, it eliminates the risk that the insurer will probably be required to pay a lot more for a new windshield. And secondly, it eliminates the danger that a damaged or replaced windshield could are not able to provide the structural integrity necessary in the case of an accident.
DO IT YOURSELF KITS: Drop the idea of
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 also have a one time use.
Reviews on DIY kits vary greatly. Some report achievement, while others regret making their own attempt at repair. The sole certainty is that a prosperous repair is not certain.
According to Edmunds.com, these kits are essentially "inexpensive band-aids" which do not provide a complete repair. The reason being simple science. The essential idea of windshield repair is to remove the air contained from the rock chip and completely substitute it with resin, that may be up to 2000 times as dense as air. Taking out the air is essential to lower the pressure inside the rock chip, allowing the resin circulation and reach the entire break. Unfortunately, cheap DIY kits are simply ineffective at removing each of the air. What is more, they don't provide the amount of pressure essential to force the resin to reach tighter areas of the break, leaving much of it untouched. What may seem to be a decent repair job may actually just be a band-aid that can fail to prevent a crack from spreading.