Windscreen replacement blog

Windscreen replacement and the frustration of the call centre- a Christmas rant!

17/12/2016

So, you require a windscreen replacement or other auto-glass service. You dial the 1-300 number of a major windscreen replacement company, then spend the next 20 minutes on hold listening to a recorded message telling you how fantastic the company is. Kind of ironic isn’t it?

But when you finally do get to speak to a human being, how much do they really know about their business? In the windscreen replacement industry the answer is usually, not much. Here at Windscreens West we have the greatest respect for anybody trying to earn an honest living, but the fact is that most call centre operators in the major windscreen company’s know very little about cars generally, and even less about automotive glass and it’s installation.

Then there are smaller company’s like Windscreens West. Just us; Geoff & Kerry, a husband and wife business, no employees. We have nearly 40 years combined industry experience and by April 2017, we will have been running Windscreens West for 15 years. When you call Windscreens West and speak to us, we will of course need to ask some very basic questions to identify your location, vehicle details and the particular glass that you require but unlike a call centre, we don’t need a script and we wont ask you a seemingly endless series of stupid questions.

Unlike some, our website doesn’t show glossy photos of imaginary call centre operators just to make us look bigger than we are, and that’s because we don’t want to be bigger; we are a small family business, and proud of it! We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with great personalised service at a realistic price and wish you all an enjoyable festive season.

Windscreens West- what you see is what you get.

Best wishes to all…

Geoff & Kerry.

 

 

Windscreen Replacement or Windscreen Repair?  The ten commandments.

19/10/2016

So, your windscreen has a stone chip or crack, and you are wondering if perhaps it can be repaired rather than replaced? The short answer is yes, most definitely some chips and cracks can be repaired. Here at Windscreens West however, despite being experts in all aspects of windscreen repair and replacement, we choose not to offer a chip repair service but are happy instead to offer our expert advice. So, before you reach for the phone and book that chip or crack repair, there are ten things you need to know that they probably wont tell you.

1. There is no magic wand involved in windscreen chip and crack repair; an ‘ultra violet cure’ resin is used to fill the chip or crack, then is hardened by UV light or sunlight

2. A repaired chip or crack will NEVER be totally invisible. Just how visible the repaired damage will be depends upon how much dirt or contamination has entered the damaged area, and the type of chip or crack involved

3. Damage within the Critical Vision Area (CVA) of the windscreen can not legally be repaired. (The CVA is the legally defined area of vision on the drivers side of the windscreen)

4. Not all chips and cracks can be repaired, and in many cases there is a degree of risk that a repaired chip or crack can continue to run or spread

5. The gimmicky ‘repair patches’ often handed out by the larger companies do not stop a chip spreading, they merely keep dirt out of the damaged area, and a bit of sellotape works just as well

6. Regarding point 5 above, remember that using a ‘repair patch’ does not guarantee an ‘invisible’ repair, because there is no such thing.

7. Buyer beware; many larger companies use highly trained sales staff to ‘up-sell’ customers into a new windscreen

8. Any repairer that offers ‘invisible’ chip repairs should be viewed with suspicion. If a chip could be totally invisible, why would the authorities need to ban repairs in the critical  vision area of the screen?

9. Beware of repairers that guarantee to take the cost of a repair off a new screen if the repair doesn’t work. They will usually jack up the price of the new screen to cover it, so you end up paying more anyway!

10. Finally, if you do get your chip repaired, avoid companies that repair and replace. You are much more likely to get a fair assessment and a good job from a specialist repair only company, and they wont tell you that you need a new screen unless you really need one!

So there you have it, to replace or not replace, that is the question! We hope this helps you arrive at an answer.

Geoff & Kerry

Windscreens West

Windscreen Installation Methods

01/10/2016

In Australia as in the rest of the world, car design and technology has changed immensely in the last 35 years, and whilst the car windscreen itself has changed little, the way it is installed has changed a lot. There have been three main methods of windscreen installation used on Australian built cars between the 1970’s and today, as follows:

1.  Butyl seal kit type installations

2. Rubber gasket seal type installations,

3. Urethane (polyurethane) adhesive bonded type installations

To illustrate just how far windscreen installation methods have advanced here in Australia, we will take a look at the iconic Australian Holden, and discuss how windscreen installation methods evolved with Holden models of the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

1. Butyl seal kit type installations

One of the most successful Holden models, the HQ to HZ was the biggest selling Holden series ever, and successfully carried the brand until the introduction of the first Commodore in 1978. Whilst a totally redesigned car from the HG, the HQ/Z still incorporated American design features but unlike its predecessor that used the rubber gasket seal method, the front and rear windscreens on the HQ-Z series cars were installed using the American butyl (synthetic rubber) seal kit installation method.

MHV_Holden_HJ_Premier_1974-1976_01

HJ Holden Premier with butyl seal kit front and rear windscreens

The butyl seal kit method involved applying around the inside edge of the primed glass a long ribbon of butyl mastic then, using a butyl primer on the body, the windscreen with the butyl seal kit applied to its inner edge would be installed into the body of the car and bedded gently into place sealing the glass. Many butyl mastic seals had a thin copper wire running through them and could be heated to help them seal using a special transformer that applied an electrical current to the copper wire to heat and soften the butyl and seal the glass into place.

Advantages of the butyl seal kit method were:

*Generally easier and faster to seal effectively than the rubber gasket method

*Saved time on the production line

Disadvantages of the method were:

*Could be prone to “sinking back” over time, particularly in hot climates possibly causing leaks and even glass breakage

*Did not structurally bond the glass to the car, just sealed it

 

2. Rubber gasket seal type installations

When the first VB Holden Commodore rolled off the assembly line in 1978 it represented a huge leap forward for Australian built cars, and also signalled a shift away from the American design influence because the Holden Commodore was based upon the European Opel Rekord, adapted to accommodate the larger Holden 6 cylinder and V8 engines.

800px-1979_Holden_VB_Commodore_Sedan_(22623854399)

VB Commodore sedan with rubber gasket sealed front and rear windscreens

The front and rear windscreen on the first Commodore VB model, and also the subsequent VC and VK models (which were just facelift variants of the VB rather than complete re-designs) were installed with a rubber gasket/seal that was fitted around the glass. The glass and gasket assembly was installed into the car using a nylon cord that, pulled from inside the car, installed the inner lip of the seal around the inside edge of the body. Weather sealing was achieved by the use of a sealant that skinned, but remained flexible.

Advantages of the rubber gasket method were:

*Simple installation

Disadvantages of the method were:

*Could be messy and time consuming to replace and seal against leaks

*Rubber gasket deteriorates in weather over time causing leaks

*Did not structurally bond the glass to the car, just sealed it

*Note on the VL Commodore: The successor to the VK models, the VL, was the last model in the series and from a glass viewpoint was unusual in that it retained the rubber gasket installation method on the sedan rear windscreen, but used the new urethane bonding method on the front windscreen of all models in the VL range, as well as the rear windscreen on the VL wagon. This urethane bonding method was to become the norm on all Commodore models from the VN onwards.

 

3. Urethane bonded type installations- today’s standard

As discussed elsewhere in this blog, manufacturers were under pressure in the late 1980’s to make car bodies both lighter and stronger to improve fuel economy and increase crash safety. Making a car body stronger could be achieved by simply using more steel, but this of course would add weight, which would increase fuel consumption. But what if a way could be found to reduce weight and improve both safety and fuel economy all at the same time?

An answer lay in finding a way to make front and rear windscreens contribute to the upper body strength of the car, to in effect, make them stressed components that actually contributed to body strength. It was found that if the glass was bonded or glued directly to the body of the car using structural grade adhesives instead of old fashioned sealants that gave way under pressure, the upper strength of the body was increased sufficiently that manufacturers could actually use less metal in the body but still add structural strength. Enter the urethane-bonded front and rear windscreen.

800px-1989_Holden_Commodore_(VN)_Executive_sedan_(2015-07-03)_01

VN Commodore sedan with urethane bonded front and rear windscreens

Although the previous model VL Commodore sedan only had a bonded front windscreen, the first Commodore with fully bonded front and rear glass was the VN model introduced in 1988. Installing urethane-bonded windscreens was much faster and less labor intensive than the old-fashioned rubber gaskets and butyl ribbon sealers, and the urethane adhesive as well as sealing the windscreen against leakage, also structurally bonded the glass to the car body greatly increasing strength and safety.

Advantages of the urethane-bonded method are:

*Much faster installation both during manufacture and service replacement

*Simplified moldings and trims, generally using easily fitted plastic moldings instead of separate metal moldings and clips etc, which can add time and cost

*Bonded glass contributes significantly to car upper body strength & safety, as the glass can help to support the roof of the car because it is held in place by the urethane adhesive.

Disadvantages of the method are:

*Because it permanently bonds the glass to the car, specialised tools and training are required to work with glass on modern cars

*Removing an undamaged bonded windscreen in order to repair or service the body carries a high risk of glass breakage due to the bond strength of urethane adhesive

*Once fitted, a urethane bonded windscreen must be given time for the adhesive to cure before the car is driven, whereas with the older installation methods the car could be driven straight away after a windscreen replacement

Geoff & Kerry, Windscreens West

 

 

Windscreen Damage Extremes!

22/09/2016

Sometimes it can be difficult to decide weather or not to get your windscreen replaced or repaired, particularly if the damage is very slight, such as a small crack or stone chip. Then there are the situations where most of us would see that it is essential to get the glass replaced, such as the vehicle shown below. The young lady that owned this car was at a party and somebody decided to use her windscreen as a trampoline, and she drove the car home that night, and to university the following day!

Of course most of us wouldn’t even consider driving a car that had such a badly damaged windscreen because you wouldn’t be able to see where you were going. What many people don’t realize though, is that it is not just a visibility safety issue, its a crash safety issue as well because a cracked or broken windscreen actually reduces the roof and side pillar strength of the car body which can be dangerous in both side impact and rollover crash situations. Testing has found that dependent on the type of stress placed on the body structure, strength can be reduced by up to 50% in some side impact and rollover crashes where the windscreen is not intact and undamaged, click on this link for more interesting information about windscreens and body strength: http://www.tulane.edu/~sbc2003/pdfdocs/0143.PDF

Bottom line? Even a small crack or chip can be a real safety issue so Windscreens West recommend getting even the smaller chips or cracks assessed for possible repair or even replacement of the windscreen. Give us a call for a free no-obligation inspection, we come to you*

*subject to your location

All the best,

Geoff & Kerry, Windscreens West

FullSizeRender

Badly broken windscreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windscreen replacement- the hidden cost of bad workmanship

22/09/2016

Front and rear windscreens on modern vehicles are actually glued into the body of the car using high strength structural adhesive. This not only seals the windscreen against leakage, but also securely bonds the glass to the body of the car which adds structural strength; an important safety feature of the modern car body. When replacing a windscreen this old adhesive has to be trimmed back to provide a good solid base before the application of the new adhesive bead.

The old adhesive bead then, is trimmed away from the car body (see photo 1 below).

IMG_0206

1. Trimming the old adhesive bead from around the body on a Toyota Hilux rear glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This trimming process will sometimes unavoidably result in damage to the painted surface beneath the adhesive so to avoid rust later on it is vitally important any marks or scratches in the paint should be treated with an appropriate primer (see photo 2 below)

IMG_0187

2. Treating minor scratching on paint surface with approved primer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of treating any scratching of the paintwork is often overlooked by less particular windscreen replacement technicians, particularly those looking to cut corners and save time and because this area of the job is hidden under the newly installed glass, it will be invisibly rusting your car year by year without your knowledge and the first you will know is at some time in the future, your windscreen will start leaking, but the damage will have already been done!

The two examples below are of  car’s rusted from poorly carried out windscreen replacement, causing them to leak. In the first example (see photo 3 below), because this was a very old car and the rust hadn’t actually perforated the body, at the customers request we were able to treat the surface and prime it to enable us to fit the new windscreen.

IMG_1302

3. Early model Ford Telstar, rusted right around. Body wasn’t perforated so we were able to wire brush, treat and prime

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The owner of this 100 series Landcruiser wasn’t so lucky. (See photo 4 below) Professional and expensive paintwork rectification was required before we could replace the windscreen and the customers car was off the road for a week. Because all this rust was hidden under the glass and mouldings etc, the extent of the problem didn’t become clear until the old windscreen had been removed. Needless to say, the customer was shocked and surprised!

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4. Toyota Landcruiser 100 series- rust extended along roof under roof moulding, required professional paint and rust repair and the customer was without his car for a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if your windscreen is cracked or even leaking, get the benefit of our 40 years combined industry experience and call Windscreens West for an obligation free assessment and quote. And don’t forget, we come to you!

Geoff & Kerry,

Windscreens West

*To find out more about the perils of faulty windscreen replacement, check out this Youtube link below, courtesy of Specialized Auto Glass and KSL.com, USA :

 

 


 

 

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Windscreen Replacement Blog Archives

 

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