Behind The Wrench, Auto Industry Interview with Scott SafeLite AutoGlass
Happy Friday Everyone. I have something a little different for you guys today. A few weeks ago I send some of your questions about windshields to the folks at Safelite AutoGlass. Scott Gardner is the Director of Technical and Operational Training. He took some time to answer all our questions on this weeks “Behind the Wrench”.
If my windshield has a small crack or chip, how do I know if it can be repaired?
A windshield chip is made of thousands of micro cracks and a strong jolt or extreme temperature change can turn it into a much larger crack. These types of chips can easily and quickly be repaired before they crack out and require replacement.
Not all blemishes are really chips. Sometimes there will be a scratch or pit in the surface that do not threaten the structural integrity of the windshield and do not need repaired.
Our standard for knowing if a crack in the windshield can be repaired is if it is smaller than a dollar bill, which is less than 6 inches long.
Is chip repair something promoted more due to cost from the insurance company?
While a repair is cheaper than a replacement, it’s more about safety. Most automotive safety experts rank the windshield as a vehicle’s third most important safety component behind seatbelts and airbags. The windshield ensures the passenger-side airbag deploys properly and helps maintain a vehicle’s structural integrity in the event of a rollover.
Damaged glass is approximately 60 to 70 percent weaker than undamaged glass, making driving over pot holes and speed bumps more hazardous. A repair is an effective solution to restore the original strength of the windshield.
How does aftermarket glass compare to OEM glass?
All vehicle glass sold in the U.S. – both OEM and aftermarket – must meet the same Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Is there an aftermarket company that makes better glass than others?
Safelite manufactured aftermarket windshields are put through a rigorous, five-point in-plant inspection and are further validated through random plant and supply chain audits, so we stand behind the quality of our windshields.
What do you think about people tinting their windshields? Is this safe?
This is a dangerous practice and should absolutely be avoided. Modern day windshields are manufactured to strict OE standards that take into consideration light transmission as well as optical clarity for options such as lane departure, cameras, and heads-up displays. Altering the color and tint of a windshield will negatively affect the performance of the option as well as cause safety issues because night visibility is reduced. Besides being dangerous, tinting a vehicle’s windshield is illegal in many states.
What is the best way to clean a windshield?
Look for non-drip glass cleaners that are streak-free with no unpleasant odors for the best clean. These professional-grade glass cleaner can be difficult to find, but Safelite AutoGlass, the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair and replacement services, has it for sale $3.98 per can in its 400+ retail locations across the country. To find one near you, visit Safelite.com and check the service locator.
Use soft, clean materials. Never use harsh chemicals, or things like steel wool or scrapers, which could damage the windshield.
You can clean the wiper blades with the same towels and cleaner and replace them at least once a year.
Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight because the heat dries the surface very quickly.
There are a few DIY auto glass repair kits on the market. Do you recommend them?
There are many different types of resin on the market – some better than others. Some will shrink, making the risk for further cracking higher. Some will discolor, affecting the visibility of the driver. For this reason, do-it-yourself kits or companies who do not use top quality resins are not recommended. We’ve seen plenty of do-it-yourself jobs where the resin starts to disintegrate and yellow significantly. And, once a chip has been filled, you cannot re-fill it. So it’s best to get it right the first time.
Safelite AutoGlass uses an exclusive resin, GlassHealer™ in the repair process that’s been tested by an independent lab and shown to be the strongest and longest lasting on the market. Safelite’s exclusive resin offers:
- Higher adhesion for a more durable repair
- Better aging for a visually superior repair
- Less risk of shrinkage causing re-appearance of chips
- Better color stability, meaning less risk of yellowing
And, all Safelite repairs are backed by a national warranty and are guaranteed to pass lease turn-back and state vehicle inspections.
Can you tell us about some of the safety features of modern auto glass?
Some of the advances in windshields include:
- Heads-up displays improve safety by showing information about road hazards ahead or cars in your blind spot through an “overlay” on the windshield.
- A part of the lane departure alert systems, video sensors are being embedded behind the windshield, typically beside the rear mirror.
- Automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers allow the driver to activate the windshield wipers once, and then forget about them, reducing driver distraction during inconsistent rain or snow
- A collision avoidance system reduces the severity of an accident, thanks in part to a camera located on the windshield and a more sensitive radar to detect for the first time smaller “soft” objects such as animals and pedestrians.
Other interesting advancements include:
Adaptive Cruise Control or Smart Cruise Control is a sensor mounted on the windshield to sense traffic ahead and turn the cruise control off or reduce speed.
A Condensation Sensor is mounted on the windshield to detect the presence of condensation and turn the on defroster.
A Light Sensor on the windshield senses the absence of light and turns on the headlights.
Night Vision is an infrared camera mounted on the windshield that detects objects further ahead than the headlights.
Hydrophobic Coating is a water-resistant coating applied to glass causing rain to run off allowing better visibility.
Automatic High Beam Control Sensor or Smart Beam Headlamp System turns on high beams when no other vehicle is present and reverts back to low beams when detecting oncoming headlamps or tail lights.
What is the car that you replace the most windshields in?
We track by the windshield part rather than the vehicle. The most common is DW01658, which is used in multiple models, including 2007-2013 models of the Chevrolet Avalanche, Cheyenne, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe; GMC Sierra and Yukon; and the Cadillac Escalade.
Which car has the most unique windshield to replace?
There is not one model that stands out as being the most unique. Several exotic vehicles are very unique because of the shape and way they set in place. Vehicles with options like lane departure cameras, sensors, and heads-up displays are unique. And large commercial vehicles like buses are unique because of the overall size. Because of the complexity of the modern windshield and complexity of today’s vehicles, drivers should always select a quality replacement company with well-trained technicians.
That is pretty much what my community wants to know. If Scott has any info he wants folks to know, please share it.
Always being there
Glass damage can happen at any hour. Safelite is always here with 24/7 live representatives in our renowned contact centers, as well as web and mobile app scheduling.
Knowing who to expect
When you schedule Safelite mobile service, customers receive peace of mind with the Technician Profile Email, including the technician’s name, photo and credentials before he or she arrives.
The best replacement technology
Our proprietary TrueSeal™ system guides the new windshield into precise position to ensure the most reliable seal. Plus, Safelite recycles the old windshield, making replacement a more earth-friendly option.
The strongest repairs
Safelite’s exclusive GlassHealer™ resin is why our windshield repairs stay stronger and last longer. It penetrates cracks better to make the windshield strong again.
The industry’s only nationwide lifetime guarantee
Safelite is proud to feature the industry’s only nationwide lifetime guarantee. We back it up with more than 5,000 state-of-the-art MobileGlassShops™ and company stores in all 50 states.
Well, I really want to thank Scott for taking the time to answer our questions. I learned a lot about windshields today.