10 Questions You Should Ask Before You Have Your Windshield Repaired...
1.) Is your technician really qualified?
Working in the auto glass industry for many many years does not automatically qualify you as being a good repair technician. In fact, sometimes it does just the opposite when technicians are using the same old techniques they learned when they started. Technologies in glass repair change and to make sure your technician is up to date. A good technician will always remain certified, meaning you are always receiving the most advanced repairs.
2.) How do I know if the chip needs to be fixed?
Let's start with what doesn't need to be repaired. Sometimes when a rock hits, it just takes a small "nick" or "pit" out of the surface of the windshield. They are usually about the size of a pin head and they don't go very deep. This type of damage is usually not something to repair. The repairs tend to fall out easily because they do not bond the the inner plastic layer that is sandwiched between the pieces of glass that make up a windshield.
Most of the time however, we are left with what is referred to in the industry as a break. Breaks are easy to identify because they usually look one of four ways. If your break has legs or looks like a "star", looks like a "bullseye", a "half moon" or a "combination" of those looks, it needs to be evaluated by a technician to determine if it should be repaired.
3.) How long should I wait to have the repair done?
You should call your technician right away when you first notice the break. Waiting can lead to a costly replacement instead of a repair. Most windshields that are cracked started out by needing only a small repair. Living in the Colorado high country puts us at even greater risk due to the extreme temperatures and increased snowfall usually means increased gravel usage.
4.) Can all cracks be repaired?
NO, but some can. A certified technician works under a certain set of standards issued by The Repair of Laminated Automotive Glass Standard (ROLAGS®). As defined by ROLAGS American National Standard:
"-ROLAGS represents the windshield repair industry's statement of best practices as
compiled under ANSI guidelines by a "balanced" committee of windshield repair system manufacturers, glass manufacturers, windshield repair and replacement retail practitioners, trade associations and other "interested parties"."
According to these standards:
a.) A crack must not be over 14"- but not all <14" cracks can be repaired.
b.) There are limitations about proximity to edges and the amount of edges.
c.) There are limitations about cracks that interfere with the Drivers Primary View Area
d.) As well as other limitations such as how long the crack has been there, distortions and shapes of glass, etc.
All cracks must be evaluated by a qualified technician to determine if it should be repaired.
5.) Do I have a choice in who does my work, even if my insurance company tries to steer me toward the company of their choice?
YES! You are always welcome to choose your shop even if the insurance suggests their favorite corporate brands. It is important to note that there is a link between one of those big corporate brands, and the company that processes insurance claims through many insurance companies.
If the company you chose for your repair is a small business that doesn't process hundreds of claims per quarter through the same insurance companies, at the end of the phone call, they will often attempt to suggest the company you chose is not a part of your "Insurance Company's National Warranty". According to http://www.nwrassn.org/consumers.php, this is referred to in the industry as a "Phantom Warranty" and the refund goes to the insurance company because it is credited toward a replacement minus your deductible. It doesn't apply to repairs and if you have a replacement, the math doesn't add up. If this has happened to you, you can report it to the Attorney General.
6.) Are there any warranties available?
This should be asked of any shop you choose to go through. If you choose Altitude Windshield Repair to repair your glass, there are great warranties toward the purchase of your repair. If you ever experience any type of failure in your repair done by our shop, just give us a call and an experienced technician will come onsite to assess the damage.
7.) What happens to windshields when they are replaced?
The majority of retired windshields end up in a landfills. If you feel like bettering the earth and have ideas for recycling this type of glass, get busy. Glass takes 1-2 million years to decompose and could use a new place to be quickly. There are some companies that have begun the process, but the industry could use some additional ideas as well.
8.) Can you repair the side or back glass in a vehicle?
The only type of glass that can be repaired is laminated auto glass. Laminated auto glass is usually only fund in the front of vehicles (there are of course a few that break the rule). Most side and back glass is tempered and is made to shatter for safety reasons.
9.) If I pay out of pocket, how much does it cost?
Depending on where you go, some shops charge as little as $30.00 often lacking certification, while some other large corporate brands- while having certifications, can charge anywhere up to $99.00 for a chip repair at some locations.
The price for a repair from a NWRA® certified technician from Altitude Windshield Repair will only cost you $45.00. There are no additional fees associated.
10.) Is there anything I can do when my windshield first gets a chip?
The best thing you can do is call a shop right away. Never use nail polishes or attempt to do the repair by yourself. This will probably ruin the windshield. It is also important to protect the windshield from the elements. If it is snowing or raining, you will want to park under shelter until the repair can take place. Don't run defrost in the vehicle since temperature changes can often result in the chip spreading to a crack.