Mobile vs. Shop Visit for Windshield Replacement


Your windshield is broken. Maybe you’ve read the glass.com info center article When to Replace Your Auto Glass and know you need to replace it, rather than repair it.

You’re also familiar with what to look for in a windshield replacement company (see also Find the Right Company to Replace Your Auto Glass) and know what questions to ask to help find the right windshield replacement company to do the job. So you book your job.

Then the glass shop contacts you to ask if you want the replacement done at your home or office, or if you had planned to bring it to their shop.

Pros and Cons

Many auto glass repair and/or replacement shops offer mobile work; they can come to you at your home or office to complete the tasks needed to get you back on the road. Where windshield replacement is concerned, that can be a great option, particularly since safe drive-away times must be met before the vehicle can be moved.

Having a windshield replaced at your place of work early in your shift gives the adhesive time to fully cure, or dry, before you need to drive again. For some people, taking a vehicle to a shop and leaving it for several hours is not convenient. For others it’s not even an option.

Your auto glass provider can determine how long your car must remain stationary after installation to achieve a safe drive-away time. This is determined taking a number of factors into account including temperature, humidity, weather and road conditions. Your provider should inform you of this time before they begin work.

Mobile Windshield Installations

In that way, mobile repairs and replacements are great. However, there are many steps in a windshield replacement and at each step there are variables that affect how well the job is done and if the results will keep the driver as safe as possible afterward.

First and foremost is the outside temperature. Weather that is too hot or too cold will affect the adhesives, or glue, that hold the windshield in place and that could affect the drive-away times, which in turn could compromise the effectiveness of the adhesive itself.

Can My Windshield be Repaired in Extreme Temps?

Heavy snow, and or low temperatures, can also lead to higher amounts of broken glass—and that may include a chip or crack in your windshield. So how do you make sure a technician does the job right in extreme winter weather conditions?

Take it Inside

If an auto glass company has a shop location, they will likely have you come to the shop for the repair or replacement. Some companies may even pick up the vehicle and deliver back to the customer at no charge if it’s not too far from their shop.

Repairs Done Outside

If your technician tells you it’s safe to repair or replace your glass in extreme cold, don’t worry. The Auto Glass Safety Council says replacements can be done in extreme temperatures, as long as the tech uses a urethane rated for the appropriate minimum drive away time. “Mobile work can be conducted safely in temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit,” says one safety expert. Just make sure your technician follows the written procedures for cold weather installations, paying special attention to the curing time. Be sure to ask your technician when it is safe to drive your vehicle.

Get it Repaired Quick

With snow and ice comes salt and sand added to the roads and this can contribute to windshield damage. If you have a small chip get it repaired by a professional as soon as you can to avoid it turning into a crack. One windshield repair supplier says all that is needed is a little extra patience when repairing in the cold. “It’s a fact that resin takes longer to cure in cold weather,” he says. You may see your technician using a heater when repairing your windshield in cold temperatures. Defrosters are another good way for the technician to warm up your vehicle prior to the repair. Again, be sure to ask your tech when it is safe to drive your vehicle. If winter weather affects your windshield this winter, check out glass.com for a reputable company to perform the work.

Other Replacement Considerations

Other weather attributes that could create problems for a mobile windshield replacement are wind and precipitation. Aside from creating more challenges to the physical aspect of a windshield installation, wind can also blow debris into the work area, contaminating the seal if anything gets into the adhesive before the windshield is put in place. Rain or snow would also compromise the installation, as a new windshield needs to be installed onto a dry frame.

The Ideal Windshield Installation

It might be less convenient, but taking your car to a windshield replacement shop to have the work done reduces your chances of having mother nature disrupt the job. In a climate-controlled shop run by knowledgeable staff, there will be less chance of contamination to the work surface and the technicians are likely to have all the necessary tools and then some, in case there is more to the job than first expected. It’s never fun to need a windshield replacement, but knowing your options and the pros and cons of each can make the task a little easier.

How a Windshield is Replaced

We’ve all been there: you take your vehicle to the shop, hand over the keys and a technician takes it from there. And you wonder, “What exactly are they doing with my car? How is a windshield replaced?”

Whether it’s an oil change, tire change, brake replacement or windshield replacement, there’s a certain level of comfort in having at least a basic understanding of what it is they’re doing to your car. As far as the windshield is concerned, we’ve got you covered.

Assuming you have found a quality auto glass replacement company to perform the work, here are the general steps a technician will take to replace your windshield:

  • The plastic molding around the windshield is removed, and the adhesive that keeps the glass attached to the car is cut out.
  • The glass is then removed using heavy duty suction cups with handles on them.
  • Dirt and contaminates are cleaned off of the pinchweld (the frame area in which the glass sits), and excess adhesive is scraped off using a razor.
  • Once the surface is prepared, the area all around it is taped off, and a primer is applied. Another primer is also applied to the outer edge of the new windshield.
  • New adhesive is applied to the pinchweld.
  • The suctions cups are then used to lift the new windshield and place it into position on the car.
  • The glass must now sit for the allotted minimum safe drive-away time, so the adhesive can cure. This time varies depending on the type of adhesive used, temperature, humidity and environmental factors. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a day. Your technician should inform you of a specific time for your vehicle after taking these factors into consideration. Do not move your car until it has reached the minimum safe drive-away time.

And voila, you have new windshield!

Now that you know how it’s done, you may be ready to finally get that windshield replaced. Check out Glass.com to find a replacement company near you.

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Questions? Contact info@glass.com.

3 responses to “Mobile vs. Shop Visit for Windshield Replacement”

  1. It was quite amazing how you said that in extreme temperatures, auto glass company will likely suggest taking the car to their shop for installation or sometimes even pick up the vehicle from the owner’s garage and return it after installation. That’s good to know because I am in great need of an auto glass installation since my windshield was broken by a flying debris last night.The problem is I don’t know what I’ll do because a storm can come at any moment. At least, now I know that I have other options in case of an extreme weather. Thanks a lot for the info. Now I can breathe easily again.

  2. I am thinking about getting an auto glass replacement for the first time. I want to make sure that I am prepared for this before I go in and get it done. It is comforting to know that they are using heavy-duty equipment like suction cups to do this job.

  3. I appreciate that you mentioned wind causing debris to get in the seal if you aren’t careful when getting your windshield replaced. I’ve been meaning to contact someone to help me replace my windshield, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think that I’ll just take it in so that I can avoid this possibility.

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