Andinia´s staff

Spotting Unsafe Windshield Replacements (II).


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'So long as the original factory-installed windshield remains undamaged,' says Cyr, 'people can be excused for taking the windshield for granted. New car manufacturers do a fantastic job of installing windshields. Unfortunately, the same care is not always present in the aftermarket.'

"The real problem is the average person does not know what is, and is not, a proper, safe windshield replacement," continues Cyr. "Once the replacement windshield is in place, it is difficult to tell if it was properly installed. If not, you may never know until a water or air leak develops, or worse, until the glass dislodges in a crash."

According to Jerry Fields of NOVUS in Tucson, Ariz., consumers can ask questions and make observations that help ensure a replacement windshield is installed correctly.

"First of all," says Fields, "check with a reputable windshield repair specialist, like NOVUS, before you even decide to replace your windshield. There are several good reasons. Factory or OEM windshields are expensive. If your windshield can be repaired, that option should be considered. Secondly, repairing a windshield is accomplished without destroying the factory safety seal between the glass and the car's chassis. Finally, repair is like recycling. It extends the life of the windshield so it doesn't end up in our overcrowded landfills before its time."

If the windshield cannot be repaired, Fields offers the following tips before, during and after installation:

Before Replacement does your insurance company or auto glass shop offer to inspect the damage to see if it is repairable? NOVUS, for example, is able to repair most stone chips or dings that can be covered by a 50 cent piece or cracks that fit under a dollar bill.

During Installation be sure the technician:

* Removes the old sealant completely.

* Cleans and primes the glass and the vehicle pinchweld.

* Wears gloves so as not to contaminate the clean glass.

* Uses urethane adhesive (not butyl tape or silicone.)

* Checks for a passenger side airbag and, if present, use urethane rated for that type of installation.

* Discusses how long before the vehicle can be driven.

* Reviews the "do's and don'ts of operation during the curing.

Afterwards inspect the work carefully. You do not need to be an auto glass expert to identify the "tell-tale" signs of improper installation.

From outside the vehicle, see if the windshield is perfectly centered on the car. Is the distance the same between the left side and the right side of the windshield and the car body?

Finally, inspect the reveal molding that fits around the entire circumference of the windshield. Is the molding broken or are there visible gaps? Is the molding flat or does it look like a roller-coaster? Finally, and most importantly, is the glass flush with the vehicle's body. If any of these conditions are present, the installation should be considered suspect.

"If you have additional questions or are simply unsure," says Cyr, "you may call 1-800-77-NOVUS. Your call will automatically be connected to the nearest Novus location, or, if there is no NOVUS in your area, to NOVUS' headquarters in Minneapolis."

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