Auto Glass Safety Concerns
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Chapman Auto Glass Windshield Replacement & Repair Safety
Most families are very concerned about automobile safety, and they typically protect themselves through the use of seat-belts, car seats, anti-lock brakes, and air bags. The advantages of these devices are widely publicized. But what about another safety feature that is of equal importance: a properly installed windshield as well as the auto glass in your vehicle? Unfortunately, recent research indicates that 80% of those consumers who were surveyed had no knowledge about proper windshield installation and had no idea that their lives are endangered if the job isn’t done correctly.
What Consumers Don’t Know About Auto Glass & Windshield Replacement Could Cost Them Their Lives!
An important fact to recognize is a properly installed windshield has three life-saving features in the event of an accident. It acts as a backboard for the deployment of air bags; it can keep passengers inside the vehicle in the event of an accident; and it prevents the roof from caving in during a rollover.
Fortunately, informed consumers can reduce the number of life threatening auto injuries. Chapman Mobile Auto Glass encourages drivers to make an educated choice in selecting an auto glass replacement company, to insist on the highest-quality products, and to expect highly trained technicians. The specific tips we share include the following:
Choose the right auto glass replacement company
It is the legal right of consumers in New Mexico to select the auto glass or windshield replacement shop of their choice. If customers call an insurance company to arrange for a new windshield, they should be allowed to use the shop of their choice or be referred to a reputable independent auto glass or windshield replacement company that is reasonably close to them. They should not be steered by the insurance company’s third party administrator (a large national auto glass company that represents itself as the insurance company when the customer calls the 800 claims number) to one of their own shops. If customers calls an auto glass or windshield replacement company directly, they should make sure it meets the safety criteria listed below.
Insist on the right people
Even with the right products, the human element is critical. After all, auto glass and windshield installation is serious business. Installers who don’t have to be licensed must perform complicated manual operations (at auto factories, these functions are automated). Furthermore, they must know the specifications and the required techniques for hundreds of models of cars. Accordingly, consumers should determine that the technician assigned to their vehicle is certified and highly professional. For example, they should never install auto glass or windshields on corroded metal, they should know when and how to use the proper primers and activators for each manufacturer’s urethane, and they should practice safe procedures such as wearing nitrile gloves.
Insist on the right products
Since most drivers are covered by comprehensive insurance, they don’t need to put a price tag on safety. Their insurance covers auto glass and windshield replacement with OEM materials, so demand it. We believe they should demand that the auto glass or windshield replacement company use products that meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS “ these are established for new car sales, but unfortunately, they are not enforced for aftermarket replacement).
In particular, consumers should specify that they want OEM auto glass or windshields and fast-cure OEM sealants and primers. These products cost auto glass and windshield replacement shops more than aftermarket brands, but they are worth it because they protect the structural integrity of the car.
Put another way, how damaging are lawsuits, more of which are being filed by injured motorists? Moreover, what is the value of a human life?
Ask about Safe Drive Away time
Due to ignorance or questionable ethics, too many technicians release cars with newly installed windshields before the urethane adhesive has properly cured. If this happens, the safety of the vehicle occupants will be jeopardized. When the highest quality adhesives are used under the right circumstances, the safe drive-away time may be as short as 1 hour. Chapman Auto Glass uses Essex Betaseal Advance Cure Auto Glass Adhesive even though it costs 2-3 times as much as standard urethane. Many of our competitors save this extra cost and you are none the wiser unless you are in an accident!. With standard cure urethane and under low temperature and humidity conditions, it could be several days before your vehicle is safe to drive again. Consumers should absolutely verify that a top-quality, fast-cure urethane is being used for their windshield installation. They should also ask to see the urethane manufacturer’s safe drive-away time data.
Ask about the warranty
At a minimum, customers should expect a warranty that covers the installers workmanship (leaks, air noises, molding retention, etc.) and against manufacture defects such as distortion or stress cracks. What about an assurance of OEM glass and adhesives, as well as certified technicians performing the installation?
In the final analysis, auto glass and windshield replacement is a very sophisticated business, and because the industry isn’t government regulated, it’s that much more important that consumers do their homework and select a company they can trust. At Chapman Auto Glass we try to inform anyone willing to listen about what is at stake. Armed with this information, consumers are better able to make informed and wise choices about the auto glass or windshield replacement shop they use.
Be skeptical of where your insurance company or their third party administrator is trying to steer you. They are looking for the absolute lowest cost which rarely results in the safest and highest quality job. Please give auto glass and windshield replacement the attention it deserves. Because there is no replacement for you or your family.
Legislation Related to Auto Glass Replacement and Repair
NTSMVS ACT OF 1966/89
No auto glass or windshield replacement facility shall render a safety device inoperative unless it reasonably believes that the vehicle will not be used while the safety device is inoperative.
This is why Safe Drive-Away Times are so important. SDATs inform installers of when the safety device “ in this case, the windshield “ can be reasonably believed to be operative. Thus, SDATs define when the applicable federal standards are met.
49 CFR 571.208
Occupant Crash Protection
Specifies performance requirements for the protection of vehicle occupants in crashes (i.e. proper deployment of passenger airbags).
49 CFR 571.212
Establishes standards for windshield retention requirements for motor vehicles during crashes. 50% of passive restraints (airbags), 75% for non-passive systems (seat belts).
49 CFR 571.216
Roof Crush Resistance
Establishes passenger compartment roof strength requirements to reduce death and injury due to roof crushing in roll over accidents. Up to 60% of roof strength is attributable to a properly bonded windshield.
49 CFR 571.219
Windshield Zone Intrusion
Specifies that the windshield will stay in place and that auto body parts and debris shall not protrude into the passenger compartment.
*Above excerpts were collected from the 1994 Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, Parts 400-999) and do NOT fully represent each standard. To obtain a copy of the CFR, please contact the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. Telephone: 202-512-1800