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5 Tips to Avoiding Expensive Windshield Replacement
One of the most shocking things, when you’re driving on the interstate highway, is to be surprise bombed by a pebble that was flung from the tire of a heavy construction truck. The screaming, cracking sound that comes from that tiny projectile is enough to get your heart racing and your blood pressure elevated. Even worse, the tiny crack it left– that in two months will span the entire windshield–is enough to make your head spin when you start thinking about the hassle and cost of windshield replacement.
Here are 5 tips to help ease the pain, now and later:
1. Look into the option of repairing instead of replacing.
In many cases, a windshield replacement isn’t necessary. If the crack is 6 inches or smaller, or you have a star or bullseye crack, chances are it can be repaired rather than replaced. If you make a claim with your insurance company, they will likely investigate the repair option regardless. The good news is that many insurance companies will not enforce your deductible if you choose repair over replacement as long as you have comprehensive coverage.
2. Use a reputable repair service.
If your neighbor Jim-Bob says that his cousin Billy-Joe can fix your windshield for twenty-five bucks and a pack of Pall Malls, kindly decline, then slam the door and lock the deadbolt.
There’s a good chance your insurance company has a service provider that it uses but you still have the right to ensure that the provider has a good track record for quality repairs. Do your homework and read reviews from other customers. Find out if the service provider is certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and whether they certify their technicians individually or if they all operate under one license. If a company spends the time and money to train and certify each technician on an individual basis, then it is going above and beyond the call of duty in providing a quality service. They probably provide a service warranty as well.
3. Use a service that will come to you.
In this age of the internet, a service provider’s ability (and willingness) to offer convenience is huge. Many top-notch providers offer the ability to obtain a quote and schedule an appointment online. What’s more, the best of them will come to you to do the repair or replacement at your home or place of business. Don’t miss a day of work and waste your gas to sit in an auto shop, drinking stale coffee and waiting who-knows-how-long to have your windshield fixed.
4. Ensure that the service provider uses quality materials.
Your windshield adds an unbelievable degree of structural integrity to your car and in some vehicles, working as a deflector, is key in proper air bag operation. That said, you want to be sure your windshield is present when the air bag releases.
Most auto manufacturers use Dow Automotive Systems urethane adhesives to install windshields at the factory. Car makers, and the Dow company itself, employ a number of highly destructive crash tests to ensure the integrity of the adhesives that hold the windshield in place. Because it’s an extensively tested and proven product, most reputable windshield replacement shops use the same system to ensure your safety and to avoid liability.
Not to mention, while alternative adhesives might make your windshield replacement less expensive they can also lead to broken seals and leaky windshields, which will cost you much more in dashboard electronic repairs and carpet replacement, down the road.
5. Ensure that the provider uses OEM (or equivalent) and certified glass.
Many quality providers keep an inventory of their replacement glass for your review. Ask if the replacement glass they intend to use is original equipment material (OEM) or equivalent. You want the windshield that was made for your car and not just one that’s the closest fit. Again, the cost of settling for the next best thing is your safety and further potential damage to your car.
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