The auto glass replacement and repair industry in Golden Valley has grown rapidly over the last few years and there seems to be a new auto glass shop on every corner. But how do you choose one, and how do you know they are reputable? Here are some of the basic things you need to know about your car in order to get the correct windshield replacement, and some questions to ask to know if you are dealing with a stable, reputable company who will give great service and be around for years to come.
The Golden Valley Windshield Replacement Survival Guide – Consumer Auto Glass Education
People have died because their windshield was improperly replaced. Others have been crippled for life. Maybe someone you know, or knew, was a victim.
It's tragic, senseless, and utterly stupid that people have died and been seriously injured due to the negligence, ignorance, and laziness of untrained or uncaring glass technicians. And there's no shortage of those. This article will attempt to teach you how to protect yourself from unqualified repairmen.
Windshields and the other glass in your vehicle are required by federal law to help protect you in several ways. For example, if you should be involved in a roll-over accident, your roof must be partially supported by the glass, to keep it from crushing in on you and your passengers.
If you're involved in a head-on crash, the windshield must stay in place to keep you inside the car and to keep flying debris out. If the windshield flies out, so too may you or your kids. Improperly installed windshields can easily be dislodged during a crash.
Did you know that your passenger airbag is designed to explode out of its container and bounce off the glass at 300 miles per hour? If the windshield is not properly sealed, it can be blown right out of your car, resulting in catastrophic injury.
Most of us don't spend much time thinking about these kinds of things in our life, things that are not readily obvious to us but might completely change our family's future. We depend on experts to guide us to quality and value.
Here are 5 TIPS that could help you survive a disastrous auto accident. Next time you get a new windshield installed in your car, look for these things:
* Be sure the technician is trained and certified. Anybody can get into this business and it often attracts the kind of people who are looking for a quick buck at your expense. If a tech takes the time to get quality education and training, he's probably also interested in building and maintaining a good reputation through high quality work.
* Observe the process and be sure the tech doesn't scratch the metal framework of your car when he cuts out the old glass. If he does, then he must prime that area to prevent rust. Rust can break an otherwise good seal. When the tech prepares your glass for installation, he must clean it and prime it, while wearing rubber gloves to prevent oil from his hands getting on the glass.
* After installation is complete, in almost all cases you must not move your car for a specified period of time. Each urethane manufacturer provides guidelines that depend on time, temperature, and humidity factors. If you drive off in your car before the "safe drive-away time" is up, it's likely that you will compromise the seal and experience air or water leaks in the future. Of course, a faulty seal also risks your safety.
* The quality of your windshield is important. Even though regulated by federal standards, some glass is better than other glass. OEM, or Original Equipment Manufacturer windshields are the same ones that are installed at the factory into new cars. These are also available in the aftermarket through distributors. OEM glass is made to exacting standards and can be trusted. Some glass is imported and can be excellent or marginal, depending on the manufacturer. If OEM glass is available for your vehicle, that should be your choice.
* By law, you have the right to choose your own shop when it comes to insurance claims. There is a nefarious practice in the insurance billing industry called "steering". When you call the number on your insurance card, you are usually connected to a middle-man billing and network company that works for the insurance company, not the insurance company itself. Some of these networks have their own glass shops and they will illegally try to steer you to their own shop. One of these networks was investigated by the 20/20 TV news show a few years ago and was found to be in violation of many of the safety principles described above. On the same show, they cited statistics for how many people were killed or gravely injured because of careless windshield installation. Demand your rights when it comes to picking your own shop. Do your homework and you and your family will be safer for it.
As a final note concerning insurance companies, read some startling information about how you are being tracked by them at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/06/earlyshow/contributors/raymartin/main1779882.shtml.
We don't spend much time in our lives thinking about one of the most ubiquitous products surrounding us every day: Glass. Glass is everywhere! Look around and you will see it in your home, office, eyeglasses (unless they're plastic), ceramics like toilets and dishes, bottles, light bulbs, tv screens, and of course in your car.
What is Glass? It's a combination of materials, most commonly silicon dioxide (sand), lime, and potash. There are specialty glasses made of other materials but the kind we see all the time, soda-lime glass, is mostly composed of the three materials mentioned above. For an easy-to-understand detailed explanation of glass, visit Wikipedia and type in the search term glass.
The two common types of glass we interact with daily, annealed and tempered, are basically the same products that have undergone different manufacturing treatments to give them individual characteristics. These characteristics are designed to serve certain functions.
Tempered glass is known as safety glass because it shatters into hundreds of tiny blocks, instead of into long sharp-edged, knife-like shards that can inflict terrible wounds. The small blocks of broken tempered glass are much less likely to cut human flesh. Tempered glass is used in the side windows and back glass on cars, as well as in commercial glass, sliding doors, and windows that reach to the floor.
Annealed glass, like in your kitchen window, is used to make windshields. You might wonder how in the world a kitchen window can be used in front of a driver. That's crazy! Yes, that would be crazy, unless the annealed glass was laminated together with a strong piece of plastic and another piece of glass to make a sandwich called laminated safety glass.
When you look through your windshield, you are looking through all three pieces, two of glass and one of plastic. The glass sticks to the plastic when it breaks. No doubt you've seen a shattered windshield and noticed that it hangs together in one big cracked piece. This is what makes the windshield different from your kitchen window.
Tempered glass is very tough and is difficult to break unless it gets punched with a sharp object. You may have seen a tool advertised on TV that's used to escape from a car by breaking the tempered side window. The tool is like a small hammer with a sharp point. Sadly, criminals have also discovered a use for it and keep it in their criminal toolbox. If you've ever suffered a broken window during a car break-in, it was probably done with one of these tools.
When it's manufactured, tempered glass is just like annealed glass. Then it goes through a heating process to "temper" it, making it tough and resilient. The glass is cooled quickly so the outside contracts and forms a compressed outer layer. It puts the whole piece of glass under tremendous stress and that's why it seems to explode when broken. The stress is released so powerfully that the glass breaks into harmless little chunks.
Why isn't tempered glass used in windshields? Many years ago it was used for windshields in some cars. Laminated safety glass just makes a better, safer product for the front of your car because it stays in place, even when broken, and keeps flying debris out of your face. It also helps to keep occupants inside the car.
The glass that we know is an unusual and interesting substance. Other materials can also be classed as glass. You might say that glass is not a substance but a quality or characteristic. A scientist might refer to glass as a state, much like a gas, liquid, or solid. Water makes a good example. Water can be gaseous (steam), liquid, or solid (ice), however it is not seen in a glassy state like liquid rock (lava) or molten metal.
Nature produces glass constantly. People who live in volcanic areas are familiar with obsidian, a glass used by early Americans to shape arrowheads, spear tips, and knives.
Just remember that when you are replacing your auto glass, the material you are looking through has an interesting history and unique characteristics that few other materials can match. Glass has been around for centuries and will endure into the foreseeable future.