Given the importance a windshield plays in the structural integrity of your vehicle, it is vital to ask these five questions when selecting a top windshield replacement company.
1. How have your technicians been trained and certified to install windshields?
When shopping around for an auto glass replacement company, this is one of the first questions you should ask: How long have your technicians been on the job? How have they been trained? And are they certified by an independent certification organization? Some companies say their technicians are certified, but in reality, they are “certified” by the company itself. Look for an independent certified tech. Have the company owners sent their technicians to classes, such as to become certified by the adhesive (or glue) manufacturer? Do they have plenty of on the job training and continuing education?
Some technicians apprentice with a company for a certain period of time before they are sent out to do installations alone.
2. Do all the materials you use meet or exceed ANSI Z 26.1 and all pertinent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards?
The purpose of the ANSI Z 26.1 standard is to reduce driver and passenger injuries resulting from impact to glass surfaces, to ensure a necessary degree of transparency in motor vehicle windows for driver visibility, and to minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown through the vehicle windows in collisions.
It lays out government guidelines for glazing materials. Glazing materials include your laminated windshield, as well as the glass used in your side windows. The standards ensure all glass manufacturers meet federal requirements, including passing specific glazing tests.
By ensuring the company you select adheres to these standards, you are helping to ensure your safety.
3. Were the technicians also trained on the adhesive they use?
Adhesive is the material used to ensure your replacement windshield stays in place after an installation is performed. It is basically the glue that bonds the windshield to the body of the vehicle.
Most adhesive manufacturers encourage technicians to become certified on their products, meaning technicians are using them accurately and safely. For example, some adhesives can only be used in certain temperatures. By becoming accredited, a technician knows this and can ensure the environment is optimal to ensure a safe auto glass replacement.
Adhesive manufacturers offer special classes throughout the country for technicians to attend to become certified. Some may even bring the class to the replacement company so all technicians can participate at one time.
Summer tends to bring warmer temperatures and higher humidity, which means faster curing times for adhesives. Quicker cure times means faster safe drive-away times. However, this also means the technician must work more quickly to replacement your windshield before the adhesive cures.
The opposite can be true in the winter. Adhesives, may not cure as quickly below 40 degrees, so technicians must follow certain written procedures for cold weather installations.
Technicians and automotive glass company owners working in bitter temperatures, may use different products and procedures than in warmer temperatures.
Ensuring your technician is certified by the adhesive manufacturer can help you maintain your peace of mind.
4. What type of warranty can I expect?
Many glass companies offer some form of guarantee or warranty of coverage on their work. Be sure you ask what a company’s warranty or workmanship guarantee is before selecting them to do the replacement.
A warranty provides you with assurance that the workmanship of the automotive glass replacement is done well, and, and if it’s not, it will be corrected.
This means that if a water or air leak occurs, the customer can return to the replacement company and have the issue corrected.
5. How soon after my glass is replaced will I be able to use my vehicle?
Ask the company what minimum safe drive-away time is for your vehicle. This is the time period necessary for the adhesive used to install the windshield to cure. If the adhesive is not properly cured before you drive the vehicle and you get into a crash, the windshield may not stay in place, causing bodily harm.
The minimum drive-away time for your vehicle is based on the type of adhesive the technician uses to install your windshield. While a number of adhesives offer a drive-away time as low as 30 minutes, others require that the vehicle be parked for several hours after the windshield is replaced.
The time needed is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of adhesive, temperature, humidity and other factors.
If the technician is accredited by the adhesive manufacturer, he will most definitely know how long before it is safe for you to drive your vehicle.
Recently, the term “minimum drive-away time,” has made its way into the auto glass industry vocabulary. Some adhesives companies have switched from using safe drive-away time to minimum drive-away time.
This is just a terminology change. If your auto glass company refers to it as minimum drive-away time, they are referring to the same thing as safe drive-away time.
Some technicians may go further and add more time on top of that minimum safe drive-away time to ensure your safety, but you should always know how long you have to wait to drive the vehicle. Be wary of windshield replacement representatives who say you can drive your car immediately after an installation.
All these questions can provide you a good way to gauge how experienced and knowledgeable an automotive glass replacement company is.
A great source to find a reputable installer is Glass.com.