Safe Drive-Away Time: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Safe Drive-Away Time is a term that describes how long after your windshield is replaced that your car must sit before you will be able to drive the vehicle safely. When you have your windshield replaced, your technician might (and should) mention this.

Safe Drive-Away Time Varies By Vehicle

The safe drive-away time for your vehicle will vary depending on what type of adhesive or glue 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 amount of time specified is the amount of time that it takes for the adhesive to cure and harden fully, holding your windshield in place. The adhesive safe drive-away time is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of adhesive, temperature, humidity and other conditions at the time of replacement.

Your technician should take all of these factors into consideration before informing you of the proper and safe drive-away time.

The Dangers of Ignoring Safe Drive-Away Time

If your vehicle were to be involved in a collision or accident before the safe drive-away time has been achieved, it might not remain in place in the event of a crash. The windshield is an important safety feature of your vehicle; it provides structural support to the vehicle’s roof.

Without the windshield in place, the roof could potentially cave in on you and/or your passengers. Likewise, you could be ejected from the vehicle through the opening.

These dangers are why it is crucial that safe drive-away times are followed precisely. Driving the vehicle before it is ready could prove dangerous to you and/or your passengers. Be sure to ask your windshield replacement technician for specific details on when the vehicle is safe to be driven after your windshield is replaced. It could save your life.

Some Windshield Replacements Take Longer

Do you drive a Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac or perhaps a Land Rover? If so, prepare yourself because you may need to drop your vehicle off for a day to get a piece of glass replaced. Some replacements are more complex.

If your windshield, back windshield (known as the backlite) or roof glass needs to be replaced, your local auto glass company can give you the estimated time for the job. Some replacements may take an hour, while others may take a full day.

If you own one of these vehicles below, prepare yourself to be without a vehicle for the day:

2010 Mercedes-Benz SL500, SL600, SL63 AMG, SL65 AMG

Replacing the windshield one of these Mercedes-Benz vehicles takes a technician an average of 7.3. (Note that none of these time estimates includes prep or cleanup).

The SL Series by Mercedes has been one of the most labor intensive vehicles for windshield installations for more than 20 years, including the 1998 and 2002 models.

The technician must remove a variety of parts to replace this windshield and then re-install them all.

1992 Cadillac Fleetwood Back Glass

The 1992 Cadillac Fleetwood back glass takes an average of 7.5 hours to replace. This back windshield requires the interior removal and re-installation of the vinyl top.

A technician must also take the time to vacuum any glass from the small areas around the rear deck and seat.

1993 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, 500SL, 600SL Windshield

You could also be in for a bit of a wait if you own one of these older model Mercedes-Benz vehicles and need a windshield replacement.

The side mouldings and wiper removal take time. Expect your technician to take an average of 7.6 hours for this job.

1993 Mercedes SL500

1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500, SL600 Windshield

If you’re the driver of a 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 or SL600 vehicle, your windshield will likely take about 7.6 hours to replace.

The side moulding on this car takes some patience from the technician to remove.
If this SL Series is equipped with the hardtop convertible, it will require two technicians to safely remove the hardtop and reinstall it without damaging the vehicle or top.

2002 Mercedes Benz SL500, SL600 Windshield 

The newer 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 and SL600 also ranks up there for the time it takes to replace the windshield.

Expect your technician to take extra care around the rearview mirror area and with the sun visors. A wait of about 7.6 hours can be expected to get your vehicle back with a new windshield.

2010 Land Rover LR3, LR4 Roof

This vehicle will likely require two technicians to replace the roof glass. The glass shop will also likely require you to bring the vehicle to the shop to do the work due to its size.

To replace this part properly, the headliner needs to be removed and this will take a lot of time and require the removal and re-installation of quite a few parts.

This replacement could take a full eight-hour day.

2010 Land Rover

Ask Your Glass Company

When in doubt, always ask your glass shop’s customer service representative for an estimate as to how long a replacement will take prior to the work being done. Many glass shops will readily give you this information, but if they don’t, ask. This way you can prepare if your vehicle will take an extended amount of time, if necessary.

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