It’s a sad truth that about 70 – 80 percent of the windshields replaced are not replaced correctly, according to national statistics in the US. Driving a car with an incorrectly replaced windshield is utterly unwise. The windshield can easily pop out in an accident leaving the roof without any support and the roof can crumble flat in a fraction of a second. Also, an incorrectly installed windshield cannot contain the tremendous force exerted by deployed airbags. It blows out without a second thought. It is absolutely dangerous to drive a car with a windshield that is installed the wrong way. But as a driver, you should know your role in ensuring that your car’s windshield is installed properly and that your car won’t make another sad statistic. Here are a few things you must know:
1. A Properly installed windshield = a reliable Safety Restraint System
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the windshield is among the most critical components of a vehicle’s safety restraint system. Other important parts are the airbags and seat belts. These components must work instantly and perfectly in the case of an accident to help the driver and passengers avoid unfortunate occurrences. The windshield provides significant structural support to the roof and the car’s entire cabin. In a rollover, the only thing that would prevent the car roof from caving in is the windshield.
2. Your windshield needs time to heal after replacement
While the amount of time that should be allowed for the windshield to heal may be debatable, the bottom line is that there’s no way you can get convinced that your car is safe to drive immediately after the windshield is installed. The adhesives used in the operation rely on humidity and temperature to cure but time is of great concern too. Some adhesives will take as less as 1 hour and others need even more that 24 hours. Whenever possible, take your car for windshield replacement when you are sure there is enough time to let the adhesive cure.
3. Washing the car after windshield replacement
When washing the car after a windshield replacement (click here for more), make sure the water pressure is low when you near the windshield and moldings. High water pressure can destroy the windshield seal and outer moldings. It would be better to avoid washing the car in a high-pressure car or truck wash until after 24 hours are over after a new windshield is installed.
Another important thing to remember is to leave at least one of the windows slightly open. This prevents the buildup of pressure inside the car due to air conditioning or on a hot day. When there is pressure buildup, the air inside the vehicle may push a hole through the uncured urethane seal. Such a hole however small it is can adversely affect the functioning of the windshield.
Windshield replacement indicators
When you notice a crack or chip in your windshield, you should immediately contact an auto glass specialist to determine whether or not the windshield needs replacement. Generally, three factors come into play when making the decision: time, size of damage, and location of damage.
- Time: If you allow chips or cracks to stay for a long time without being repaired, then there’s no doubt your windshield has to be replaced. One reason for this is that the damage has become bigger and repairing will not offer a lasting solution.
- Size of the damage: As a general rule of thumb, the occurrence of chips larger than 3/8 inches and cracks bigger than 3 inches imply that replacement is the only option.
- Location of the damage: A damage occurring close to the edge of the windshield normally continues to spread with time. A crack, ding or chip in the driver’s line of sight is also indicative of the need for replacement. One of the most critical functions of the windshield is visibility. A repair to damage in the driver’s line of sight may not heal clearly and this would compromise the windshield’s visibility function.
There are several regulations that govern auto glass repairs and replacement operations such as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Safe Drive Away Time (SDAT) calculations. A reliable auto glass replacement service should observe such regulations. The only way to ensure that you get such a service provider is to ask for certification. Play your part, be familiar with these laws and always be vigilant about your safety on the road.