to Make Sure Your Windshield is Properly Installed
(ARA) - Experts rank the windshield as the third most important
safety component in today’s car. Along with seatbelts
and airbags, ranked first and second, all three components
are part of what automobile engineers refer to as a vehicle’s
safety restraint system (SRS).
The SRS is intended to keep vehicle occupants
inside the relative safety of the passenger compartment during
a collision or roll over. “SRS components work together,”
says Leo Cyr, vice president of NOVUS Auto Glass. “For
example, the windshield provides virtually all the support
a passenger side airbag needs to deploy properly. If the windshield
falls out, the air bag is all but useless. Similarly, the
windshield provides a minimum of 60 percent of the roof support
for most cars. If the windshield is displaced, that support
is gone, along with most of the crush resistance designed
into the vehicle.”
Everybody loves a bargain. But “cheap”
is not a criterion that should enter into an informed consumer’s
selection of an auto glass repair or replacement company.
“After many years and millions of
dollars in advertising,” says Cyr, “most people
now understand seatbelts save lives. Whether they ‘buckle
up’ or not, people do understand seatbelts equal safety.
If you mention the windshield, you get blank stares.
“Laws exist that require seatbelt
use. Laws exist to prohibit tampering with or disabling airbags.
However, there are no laws that govern how a windshield is
replaced once the vehicle leaves the factory. An improperly
replaced windshield could -- and sometimes does -- become
detached from the vehicle during airbag deployment, from the
force of a collision, or when the car rolls or flips over.
With the windshield disabled, the effectiveness of the SRS
is seriously compromised.
“The tragedy of the situation,”
explains Cyr, “is the average person will not realize
their windshield was improperly replaced until it is too late.
There are literally thousands of responsible auto glass companies
in the United States that perform high-quality, safe windshield
replacement. However, the way to locate and select such a
company comes from knowing what questions to ask before making
According to Jay Bickford, NOVUS director
of training, it is always wise to check with a reputable windshield
repair specialist, like NOVUS, before replacing your windshield.
If your windshield can be repaired, that option should be
seriously considered since repair is accomplished without
destroying the factory safety seal between the glass and the
If the windshield cannot be repaired, Bickford
offers the following before, during, and after installation
Before Replacement. Does your insurance
company or auto glass shop offer to inspect the damage to
see if it is repairable? NOVUS, for example, is able to repair
most stone chips or dings that are small enough to be covered
by a credit card or cracks that will fit under a dollar bill.
During installation does the technician:
Remove the old sealant leaving approximately
1/16 inch bonding surface.
Clean and prime the glass and the vehicle pinchweld.
Wear gloves so as not to contaminate the clean glass.
Use urethane adhesive (not butyl tape or silicone).
Check for a passenger side airbag and, if present, use urethane
rated for that type of installation.
Discuss how long before the vehicle can be driven.
Tell you the “do’s and don’ts” of
operation during adhesive curing.
Afterwards, inspect the work carefully. You do not need to
be an auto glass expert to identify the “tell tale”
signs of improper installation. From outside the vehicle,
see if the windshield is perfectly centered on the car. Is
the distance the same between the left side and the right
side of the windshield and the auto body?
Finally, inspect the molding that fits around
the entire circumference of the windshield. Is the molding
broken or are there visible gaps? Is the molding flat or does
it look like a roller coaster? Most importantly, is the glass
flush with the vehicle’s body? If any of these conditions
are present, the installation should be considered suspect.
Cyr concludes by saying, “When shopping
for auto glass repair and/or replacement services, people
need to be quality conscious to a fault. Discounts, coupons
and sales incentives are fine when shopping for ‘brand’
name products at competing retailers. Auto glass repair/replacement
is not a product. It is a service -- a safety service -- requiring
the use of the best materials technology can provide and the
skills of highly trained, experienced and, above all, detail-
conscious technicians. At Novus, for example, our windshield
installation methodology is known as ‘Family Safe’.
That means we would feel safe letting our children ride in
your car. If not, the job’s not good enough for you
and your family.”