The windshield is one of the most essential safety components of your vehicle. However, you may be surprised to learn that it is also one of the components that is most vulnerable to damage during your vehicle’s lifespan.
On average, over 35% of all auto insurance claims in the US are for a windshield replacement or repair and that number continues to go up. Plus, according to State Farm, Arizona leads the country in auto glass replacement and repair.
The chances are high that at some point, you may encounter a need for an auto glass professional. When the time comes, you should have at least some basic knowledge of windshield replacement. In the event that something does happen, you can be confident in knowing what to look for, what steps to take, and who to contact.
In this guide, we’ve put together a series of important information you may need to know.
The Important Role Your Windshield Plays
When you think of what your windshield does, of course, the first thing that probably comes to mind is that it protects you from the elements. It also plays several other important roles in your safety and the safety of your passengers:
- It’s a critical component of your vehicle’s safety systems – Often referred to as the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), the sensors and cameras for several of these systems are located directly behind your windshield.
- It helps maintain vehicle integrity – In the event of a rollover accident, your auto glass, including the windshield, helps prevent the roof from caving in.
- It deflects passenger side airbags – When the passenger side airbags deploy, the windshield prevents them from deploying through the glass, rendering them useless.
Determining If Windshield Repair or Replacement is Needed
Knowing how important your windshield being in optimal condition is to your safety, you can see how critical it is to have any issues addressed as soon as possible. However, you may be wondering if the windshield can be repaired, or if it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, not all damaged windshields can be repaired.
Have an auto glass expert determine if your windshield needs to be replaced and if it can be. There are some things to be aware of that can help determine if a repair is possible. These include:
Size of the Crack or Chip
The size of the damage is one of the biggest determining factors of if your vehicle requires a windshield replacement or not. In general, the windshield must be replaced if:
- There are three or more hairline cracks on the windshield
- The crack is longer than a dollar bill
- The chip is deep enough to go halfway through or more
- The chip is larger than an inch in diameter
Keep in mind that with the Arizona heat, a small crack can quickly grow in size as the windshield heats up. This could result in needing windshield replacement immediately to maintain your safety.
Location of the Damage
The location of the glass damage is also a significant factor in determining whether a windshield repair or replacement is needed. The most important thing to remember is that if the damage is located anywhere on the outer edge, even if it is small or there’s only one crack, a windshield replacement is recommended.
Cracks located along the windshield’s edge can quickly grow in size under the constant wind force while driving. This compromises the structural integrity of the windshield and poses a safety risk to the vehicle’s passengers.
Replacement is also highly recommended if the crack or chip is in the driver’s line of sight. If it is, this can affect your visibility while driving and put you and your passengers at an increased risk.
If you are unsure if you’ll need a windshield repair or replacement, our auto glass experts here at Max Auto Glass can help you make the best decision.
The Windshield Replacement Process
When you need a windshield replacement, it’s good to have a general idea of what the process entails. Bellow are all the steps that will happen during the replacement process:
- A powerful adhesive holds the auto glass in place, so the existing adhesive will need to be broken first before the old auto glass can be removed. In some cases, any clips, trim, retainers, and fasteners that also help hold the glass in place will need to be removed, as well.
- A specialized device is used to safely and carefully remove the existing windshield, while also avoiding any damage to the pinch weld that will be used to secure the new windshield in place.
- The old urethane is removed to make room for the new urethane glue and windshield.
- In some cases, even experts can’t avoid causing some damage to the pinch weld when removing the old windshield. This damage, which is usually very minimal, is then resolved by applying a small amount of urethane primer to the exterior of the windshield, inside the edge, and along the window channel.
This primer allows the glue to hold the windshield in place, while also preventing rust from forming along the window channel. This is especially effective when scratches are present.
- If there is any rust present on the window channel, it will need to be sanded and primed before any new urethane glue is applied.
- The new urethane glue is applied around the entire perimeter of the new windshield.
- The new windshield is carefully set into place using strong suction cups to lower the glass into the proper position.
- Once the windshield is in the proper placement, it will be secured in place with clips. These clips prevent the glass from shifting and allow the urethane to properly cure. The urethane glue fully cures in about three hours.
No matter if it is the windshield, back glass, side windows, or quarter panel glass, the replacement process will generally follow the same process.
How Long Does the Replacement Process Take?
Overall, a windshield replacement is a fairly quick job. Usually, it will take no more than about an hour to replace a windshield that has minor cracks and/or chips. Sometimes, the process can even be as quick as 30 minutes. However, if the windshield is completely shattered, it may take more time because the remaining pieces of loose glass and other debris must be removed before the new windshield can be installed.
The complete time for the actual windshield replacement process may take less than an hour, but for proper installation, you should also factor in the time it will take for the adhesive to cure.
Once the new windshield is installed, it is recommended not to drive the vehicle for at least one hour. This will allow enough time for the new windshield to settle and the urethane glue to harden enough to properly secure the windshield and hold it in place. Also, keep in mind that you should not remove the tape, slam the doors, or wash the car for the next 48 hours after your windshield replacement.
Pros and Cons of Professional Windshield Replacement
If you are a DIY’er you could technically replace your vehicle’s windshield yourself. But, opting for professional windshield replacement will always be the best option. The last thing you want to do is to improperly set your own windshield and increase the risk of harm to yourself and your passengers. Windshield replacement is a job that is best left to the experts.
Professional auto glass specialists have the experience and proper training to deliver the best results. Experts are also aware of simple, but important factors like the correct pressure to apply to the glass after the new windshield is put in place. Like with many different things, when you are considering your options, it is helpful to look at the pros and cons. Here is what you should be looking at when it comes to professional windshield replacement:
- Professional auto glass technicians have advanced tools and equipment.
- You will receive a stress-free replacement done the right way.
- You will end up with a clean and professional finish.
- You have to schedule an appointment for the replacement and sometimes it may require waiting a few days for an open appointment time. However, Max Auto Glass provides an auto glass mobile service!
- If the replacement is not covered by insurance it could be more costly than trying to replace it yourself. But Max Auto Glass also offers great auto glass financing options.
Overall, it will be more beneficial to let the experts handle your windshield replacement or repair. Schedule your appointment at Max Auto Glass today!
Trust the Local Experts in Windshield Replacement in Tucson, AZ
With the information above, you can stay calm and confident in the event you may need a windshield replaced. Remember, don’t ignore small or damaged cracks because they will grow. When left up to expert auto glass specialists, windshield replacement can be quick and easy.
No matter if it is your windshield or back glass, the experts at Max Auto Glass can help. We offer fast and convenient windshield replacement service and can even come to your home, office, or any BRAKEmax location.
Contact us today for a free quote and we’ll take care of your windshield replacement quickly and professionally.