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Roseville, Calif.- A cracked windshield is not a cosmetic problem. It is a safety problem that should be corrected as soon as possible. National Car Care Month (April) is a good time to take a new look at windshield damage and consider a replacement. 

‘Most car and truck owners do not realize how important the windshield is to safety. They would have the air bags fixed if they knew the air bags wouldn”t work 100 percent in a wreck. They know air bags are essential to their safety. If the windshield is cracked, then consider the air bags broken,’ said Chad Heaps of Glass Doctor of Placer County. 

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If a vehicle with a cracked windshield is in a wreck, the air bag may fail to deploy properly because the windshield is not strong enough to withstand the air bag’s force. Even worse, the windshield could completely break or pop out during a wreck, which would weaken the roof support. The roof could crush the vehicle’s occupants. 

‘The real travesty is that even if the owner gets the windshield replaced, the replacement windshield may be just as unsafe as the cracked windshield if the installation is flawed,’ Heaps said. ‘The glass, adhesive and molding should be appropriate for industry standards.’ 

Often the primary safety issue is not the quality of the windshield glass, but the quality of the windshield installation. When considering a windshield replacement, ask the glass service technician some basic questions before the installation:

Will the old adhesive sealant be removed from the vehicle frame? If the sealant is not removed the fit will not be tight and the new sealant will not bond correctly.

Will the technician wear gloves to keep from contaminating the glass? If oil and dirt get on the edges the adhesive may not bond correctly.

Will the urethane adhesive sealant stand up to the pressure of airbags? The best urethane should be used, not butyl tape.
How long does the adhesive need to set until the vehicle can be driven? Every urethane type has a ‘safe drive-away time.’ Most adhesives should be allowed to cure for at least two hours.  

After the new windshield is installed be sure to inspect it before you drive the vehicle. Every windshield adhesive has a ‘safe drive-away time,’ which is the time the vehicle must sit without movement while the adhesive cures. Do not drive the vehicle before the curing time is completed. Here are the signs of a proper installation:

See if the windshield is perfectly centered on the vehicle. The glass should have a smooth curve, not waves or bows.
Look at the molding around the edge of the windshield. It should be flat and unbroken. If it is wavy or has gaps, it should be re-done.

Make sure the glass is flush with the vehicle’s frame. If the glass is not flush with the frame, a salvage windshield or a defective windshield may have been installed. A salvage windshield is taken from another similar vehicle, but the adhesive may not bond properly. A defective windshield may not be the exact dimensions to fit in the vehicle’s frame.  

Glass Doctor® uses OE (original equipment manufactured by a company that supplies the auto makers) quality glass windshields and guarantees its windshields for 12 full months against breakage and for a lifetime against leaks. Ask the local Glass Doctor® of Placer County location for details. 

The glass replacement procedures used at Glass Doctor® of Placer County are approved by AGRSS, the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council. AGRSS is the only national auto glass replacement safety standard. Consumers can find AGRSS-approved shops.

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