If you need RV glass replacement, you may be wondering if this process is the same as replacing glass in a car, and whether or not any auto glass shop can handle this job. In some ways, RV glass replacement is similar to auto glass, but with crucial differences—primarily the size of the glass. Not all auto glass shops can handle RV glass replacements due to this factor. It typically requires special equipment, such as scaffolding, and typically a crew of two technicians.
RV Windshield Repair
Whenever possible, it’s always ideal to repair your RV’s windshield instead of replacing it. This can save time, money, and waste in the landfill. If your windshield has a small rock chip or crack, it may be possible to have it repaired. Do this as soon as possible to keep the damage from spreading. Once the damage has spread and grown too large, it will not be possible to repair it, and the windshield will need to be replaced.
What is the RV Glass Replacement Process?
Installing RV glass is not a DIY project. RVs use large pieces of glass, which are difficult and dangerous to handle. If these windows are not installed properly, they pose a danger to passengers and others on the road if they were not to stay mounted. Additionally, your RV could suffer water damage from improperly installed windows, which can lead to rot, mold, electrical problems, and other issues.
Your RV windshield will sometimes be installed by one technician, but will typically require a two-person team. They will likely use ladders, or even scaffolding to reach the windshield more easily. Below is a general outline of the process the technicians will take to remove your damaged windshield and replace it with a new one. There are numerous styles used to secure RV windshields in place. The process for your particular RV make and model may differ from the one below, and the technician should know the best way to go about the job.
How to Replace an RV Windshield
1. Measure the glass and record all manufacturer information.
RV glass is very specific, so it’s essential to order the exact glass that needs replacement. The lead time to receive glass can be up to a few weeks, so it’s critical to get it right the first time. Take exact measurements of the glass, record any information you find on the “bug”, as well as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), year, make, and model. The glass replacement specialist you work with will need this information to locate the proper glass for your replacement.
2. Work with a reputable RV glass replacement company.
Glass.com has service locations nationwide that specialize in RV glass replacement, so begin your replacement process by using our search tool to find the shop nearest to your zip code and receive a quick and easy price quote.
3. Schedule the replacement.
Once the part arrives, set up a day and time for the replacement. Some replacement companies will come to you to complete the replacement, while others will require you to bring your RV in to their shop for the replacement. Keep in mind, these are large pieces of glass that must be handled with extreme care. RVs also take up a lot of space and won’t fit inside of every shop. For these reasons, the glass shop will specify the best option based upon their facilities.
Your RV Glass Replacement Technician Will:
4. Remove the windshield molding.
This is the first step to removing the old windshield. Most RV windshields use a molding or bead to help lock the windshield in place.
5. Cut the windshield out.
The windshield is often sealed in place with urethane. The urethane seal will need to be released to remove the windshield.
6. Clean and prep the frame.
The frame that holds the windshield will be cleaned and prepped thoroughly by your replacement specialist.
7. Clean the glass.
It’s important to remove oils, residues, and other contaminants from the glass that may have attached to the surface during the packing and shipping process.
8. Mount the glass.
The installer(s) will use suction cups to carry the glass and lift it into place.
9. Seal the glass.
A urethane sealant will be caulked around the edge of the windshield, underneath the gasket to seal out wind and water and help hold the windshield in place.
10. Secure the glass.
The bead will be reinstalled into the frame to help secure the windshield in place.
11. Final touches.
The technician will likely clean the glass again to remove any contaminants from the installation procedure and then inspect the installation to ensure the job was completed correctly.
How to Replace an RV Side Window
Depending on the size of the window, this job may also require two technicians.
1. Follow the same steps, one through three, above to measure your glass, order the part, and schedule the replacement.
Your RV Glass Replacement Technician Will:
2. Remove the inside frame.
There is typically a frame around the window on the inside of the RV that provides a finished look and may help hold the window in place.
3. Break the window seal.
The technician(s) will use a putty knife or similar tool to release the window from the RV’s body panel.
4. Test fit the new window.
It’s always a good idea to test fit the new window to ensure proper fit before mounting it with adhesive.
5. Apply adhesive to the window’s frame.
Many manufacturers use foam tape to seal and secure the window to the body of the RV. Some manufacturers may use butyl tape or urethane instead. Your technician should know what’s appropriate for your particular RV.
6. Install the window.
The technician(s) will lift the window into place, position it, and press it against the RV body to ensure that a seal and strong bond are formed.
7. Reinstall the frame.
The interior frame will be reinstalled.
8. Final touches.
The technician will clean the glass and inspect the installation to ensure that everything was done correctly.
What are the Differences Between Auto Glass Replacement and RV Glass Replacement?
The most apparent difference between RV glass and your average car glass is size. RV windshields are much, much larger than a standard sedan, coupe, or even pickup truck. Sometimes the windshield is also split into two pieces, which can help make replacement easier.
You’ll notice in the steps listed below that most RVs use a molding to secure the windshield in place. This is different from a car windshield, which primarily relies on a urethane seal to hold the windshield in place.
RV side windows are larger too, and typically operate similarly to residential home “slider” style windows, rather than the motorized windows found on passenger cars.
RVs might also be equipped with a “sunroof.” However, these typically function more like a skylight in a home that is fixed in place, rather than a motorized, movable window.
As you can see, an RV has elements from both the automotive and the residential construction world. Together, they create a home on wheels, ready for your next adventure.
Need a New RV Windshield or Window?
Trust Glass.com to find an RV glass replacement specialist near you. With our nationwide network, we’ll help you get back on the road quickly and on to your next destination. Get a free quote now.