Depending on where you live and how often you use your windshield wipers determines on how often they should be changed.  Under normal wear and tear, you should change your windshield wipers at least once a year.  Extreme heat can warp and melt your windshield wipers, so they are not as effective.  Excessive use for rain and ice can also wear down the rubber.  Whether you live in the East Bay where temperatures are normally hotter than the Peninsula or in Daly City or Pacifica where you have more dense fog and precipitation, you should check the wear and tear regularly (at least every month and wipe them free of debris).

How do you know if your windshield wipers need to be replaced?

Windshield wiper replacement is often overlooked.  Windshield wipers should not only be changed when it’s raining because if you wait until you really need them, your visibility may already be affected.  In addition, using old wipers can damage your new windshield.  If you would like to have them replaced with your windshield replacement, just let us know when you schedule your appointment and we will do our best to accommodate you.  Call us to schedule (877)235-6763.

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could mean a huge difference between having your auto glass (more importantly your windshield and back glass) properly or improperly installed.  With the slump of the economy, we had several Auto Glass Installers calling inquiring about potential employment opportunities.   Some may think that we had the cream of the crop to choose from, but it was quite the contrary as I found out through our vigorous interviewing process.  I didn’t hire these Auto Glass Installers, but the scary thing is I know that a lot of them are working out of the back of their trucks posing a safety hazard to our community.  These Auto Glass Installers are changing the local environment by offering cheap sloppy installations and inferior safety parts.  Don’t be fooled into getting an unsafe Installation of your windshield, back glass or any other safety glass in your vehicle.

Unlike several other automotive industries, the Auto Glass Industry is highly unregulated.  So here are a few things that you might not think of when you hire someone to work on your vehicle.

EXPERIENCE:

An Auto Glass Installer may tell you that he has several years of experience.  They may not be telling you that they don’t have any current or relevant experience.  Why is this so important?  Experience is a must at A+ Auto Glass, but relevant experience is essential.  Remember when dual pane windows were HOT? Several Auto Glass Installers left autos to do residential glass.  When the real estate market took a huge hit, several came back to a changed industry or a new industry thinking that there wasn’t much of a difference between residential and auto glass other than licensing.  Over the years, automobiles have continued to evolve and so did the pieces of glass and the technology around it.  We have had to make adjustments to make sure we meet the current safety standards which makes relevant experience a must.  Sometimes an Auto Glass Installer with a lot of experience will be too set in his ways and refuse to adapt to the new safety standards.  This can definitely be dangerous!  The other large culprits are some of the large auto glass chains that hire and train Technicians.  The problem is that these new Auto Glass Technicians lack several years of experience that they need to work on different makes and models.  A+ Auto Glass has experienced Auto Glass Technicians, so we don’t train Technicians on your vehicle.  Our seasoned Technicians must adhere to the current safety standards and are constantly checked, retrained and re-certified.

AUTO GLASS:

Products used for Auto Glass Installations are not always the same.  There are three types of Auto Glass products available on the market.  Dealer glass, OEM and aftermarket.  Which one is the safest?  How are they different?

  • Dealer Glass is bought from your Manufacturer’s Automotive Dealership.  It is from the OEM distributor that is currently manufacturing the glass for the manufacturer and may or may not have the Manufacturer’s logo on it. For example, if you own a Toyota it will most likely have the Toyota logo on it.
  • OEM glass is produced to meet the exact specifications of the dealer glass in regards to color (although there may be more options in regards to color), size, shape, thickness, curve and will have the same safety features as the original Dealer Glass.  OEM does not mean that they are necessarily made by the same distributor.  For example, if you have a 2010 Mercedes C350 and the Dealer used Sekurit as their OEM manufacturer for that year make and model,  they might use Pilkington for the 2011 Mercedes C350.   If you replace it with a Pilkington or PPG who also makes the windshield to the same specifications, it is just as good.  This could be very important for your safety and financially if you have a lease.  If you try to return your leased vehicle with an OEM distributed windshield, it should still be accepted by the dealer (I have not heard otherwise, but please feel free to correct me if I am wrong).  Just keep in mind, because the OEM distributor cannot distribute glass on behalf of the manufacturer it will not have the manufacturer’s logo on it.  If you must have the manufacturer’s logo etched in the corner and you do not mind paying for it, get the Dealer glass.
  • Aftermarket also known as OEE (Original Equivalent Equipment)  glass is made by companies that do not have any contracts with any Automotive Manufacturers.  Some large Auto Glass companies use and manufacture their own glass that has no legal right to manufacturer auto glass to the exact same specifications as OEM distributors.  Aftermarket glass  may not hold up as well in the event of a collision as an essential part of your SRS (safety restrain system) since the original specifications of the glass may have been designed to help maintain the structural integrity of your vehicle and work as or in conjunction with your vehicle’s  SRS.  Some sources say properly installed, it holds up 80% in a frontal collision as compared to 100% for OEM properly installed.  (I did not conduct this study myself)  This is usually the least expensive option, but it can cost you the safety of yourself and your passengers as well as the risk of some annoying leaks and drips that can lead to thousands of dollars of damage to your vehicle.
ADHESIVE:
All Automotive Glass Adhesives have a drive away time. Since our Auto Glass Technicians have to be certified in the adhesive that we use and our entire Client Services staff is aware about safe drive away times, I anticipated that all Auto Glass Technicians knew and were properly informing their clients.  When interviewing new potential Auto Glass Technicians, I was shocked to learn that most Auto Glass Installers do not know the proper steps to properly apply the adhesive that they purchase and the importance of informing their clients of the proper safe drive away times.
  • Certifications for all OEM adhesives are available from the Manufacturer to ensure that the Auto Glass Technician knows how to properly use the adhesive.  There are 22 essential steps in replacement of a piece of automotive glass that requires use of an adhesive according to the current safety standards.  A missed step can result in a faulty retention system which could result in a bad or unsafe seal.  I cannot even tell you the things I have seen!  Over 80% of the applicants failed to complete all steps yet continue to do business wherever they can find jobs (not at A+ Auto Glass).
  • All adhesives have safe drive away times.  So what does this all mean?  Basically, the safe drive away time is tested by the manufacturer of the adhesive to determine when it is safe for the driver to drive the vehicle after the glass has been set in the event of an accident.  The fastest cure time at this particular time is 45 minutes without dual air bags and 1 hour with dual air bags.  We always say 1 hour, just to be on the safe side.  During our interviews, I heard, “I just tell the customer not to drive on the freeway” and  “I think it’s a 2 or 3 hour, I just tell them not to drive too fast.”  When I looked up the adhesives that were being used, most were 3+ hours and up to 24 hour safe drive away time!  Most adhesives that have a drive away time of over an hour are dependent on the relative humidity and temperature.  You may wonder why Installers use adhesives with long drive away times.  To make it simple, the longer the safe driver away time the less it cost (in most cases).  A+ Auto Glass uses a one hour safe drive away time for all jobs requiring adhesive.
So how do you find the good honest Auto Glass Companies?… Ask these questions and look out for our next blog “How to find a quality auto glass shop?”

 

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Windshield Repair or Replacement?

December 28, 2011

Windshield Chip Repairs = Going Green and Saving Green $$$ Have a chip or crack in your windshield?  So how do you know whether it should be repaired or replaced?  Here are a few things you should know when considering a windshield repair or replacement and your safety: If the total size of the damage […]

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Great Deal vs. Value

December 28, 2011

Ever get a “Great Deal”? Many customers ask why we are not always the cheapest auto glass company in town. I’d ask them if they would put their and their passenger’s safety in the hands of anyone. If your safety doesn’t matter and you don’t mind paying more in the end, I’d say go for […]

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