One of the things you have been dreading while driving on the highway has happened. A rock hit your windshield and now you have a chip. How long can you expect the repair to take?
Chips are like Snowflakes
A windshield chip repair can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. It just depends on how complex the repair.
“I liken rock chips to snowflakes,” said Jeff Reddell, president of the National Windshield Repair Association. Our average time for a repair is 15 minutes; however, I have a few that have taken up to an hour.”
The NWRA is a not-for-profit organization that has established The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS™), which details when glass can be repaired rather than replaced. While it isn’t written in laymen’s terms, this Standard is something to consider reviewing. It outlines the repair process and what damage is repairable and what damage is not.
The Impact of Temperature
Temperature can also be a factor in how long a repair takes. In the warmer months, the resin used to fill in the crack may flow faster and it is easier for the technician to fill out all the edges of the chip. The opposite occurs in the winter months. It may take longer for the resin to fill in the chip.
If it’s a simple break, small and not a lot of jagged edges, it could take about 10 minutes for a technician to repair.
However a quarter-sized break that looks more like a star with jagged edges may take 20 minutes or longer.
The technician will also clean the glass, both inside and out, so that takes a bit of time as well.
The Technician’s Job
The job of an auto glass repair technician is to assess your damage. He will discuss his findings with you and give you an idea of how long the repair will take to complete.
You can expect the technician to use a repair bridge, resin and a drill. The drill allows him to access the chip or crack to ensure he can fill all the damage with the specially designed resin. Once he has drilled the area, he will insert the resin into the chip or crack, ensuring that it fills all of the damage.
The technician will also often apply an ultraviolet light. While the sun may also work, the UV lamp is designed specially to encourage the resin to cure, or harden, as quickly as possible.
No matter how stellar your driving record, at some point you’re more than likely going to find yourself face to face with a cracked or chipped windshield. These damages can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone—no matter how well or poorly you drive. If thoughts of spending hours waiting for a new windshield have you putting off taking care of the damage, relax. And don’t wait. Windshield replacement from a qualified technician doesn’t have to slow down or affect your already busy day.
This is what it takes to replace a windshield. DON’T try this one at home!
Windshield Replacement Steps
2. Cut out the old windshield
3. Remove the old windshield
4. Clean, inspect and repair the pinchweld area
5. Prep the new windshield
6. Apply fresh urethane to pinchweld
7. Install the new windshield
8. Reinstall trim pieces and clean
Your Vehicle While the question of “how long will it take?” is a common one, the answer depends on a number of considerations. These include, for example, the condition of your vehicle. Depending on the technician’s assessment, the vehicle may require extra preparation time. Another consideration is the make, model and year of the vehicle. A newer vehicle, for example, likely has additional sensors that may need to be replaced, reconnected and possibly even recalibrated. The more information you can provide your technician when scheduling your appointment, the better estimate they will be able to give you as far as how long it will take.
Other Details The length of time your service will take also depends on environmental factors like temperature and humidity, which will affect urethane cure time. Urethane is the adhesive that bonds the windshield to the body of the car. Your technician should recommend you wait to drive the vehicle for at least a certain amount of time based on the urethane used and atmospheric conditions. This minimum drive-away time ensures the urethane has cured and the windshield is safe and secure before driving.
Do I Have to Wait? And in case you’re wondering, it’s usually not necessary to wait for your vehicle, though you’ll likely need to leave the vehicle keys for the technician. Some shops may offer courtesy cars for your use or drop off/pick up service for your convenience, as well. In addition, many shops also offer mobile replacement and will come directly to you to service your vehicle. Remember, you want to make sure the technician spends as much time as necessary to ensure a safe installation. A rushed job can be a risk for both the safety of the vehicle and the passengers inside. The quality shops on glass.com, for example, detail whether they offer in-shop, mobile service or both. Look to Glass.com to find qualified auto glass technicians in your area.