Do you know how to find the best auto glass repair for your car and wallet when you have a damaged window? Auto glass has evolved both in its chemical makeup and its repair.
Auto glass repair hasnt always been possible for windshields; in the 1960s, for example, they were mere coated glass, virtually unable to be repaired. By the 70s, windshields consisted of an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral, at which point repairs became possibleup until then, all that could be done for a glass repair was to force oil-based fluids into the cracked area to disguise the damage, which yielded poor results.
A windshield, after all, is a structurally necessary barrier and protection of the passenger compartment, and an unsafe windshield, especially one that ruptures or even explodes on the highway, can cause needless injury or possibly even death. A compromised windshield, in the event of an accident or collision, also raises the risk of damage and injury for those inside the vehicle.
Windshield glass has sandwich-like layers, and the outer layer receives all the movement from the surrounding environment of the road. The poly layer in the center of the windshield flexes and holds the layers together, to reduce breakage. When an object hits the windshield causing a hole or split, the area is compromised by the air entering the crack. This is the point at which cracks or splits will widen and need repair.
What does it cost to repair auto glass? Typically, small cracks or chips in the windshield are covered by auto insurers, who ask no deductible; however, only some of these (usually those in the direct line of the vision of the driver) will be repaired. The cost for auto glass repair is typically around $20 for in-house repair to $60 and up for mobile service, with the cost rising by about $20 per chip for additional small damages.
Cracks get a little more expensive than chips, especially if they are up to 12 inches; these repairs run about $50-60 per crack, and larger cracks (more than 12 inches) can run up to $70. A good and reputable repair store will always recommend replacement if the crack is more than 24 inches, since anything that size probably cannot be safely repaired.
Auto glass replacement can be much more costly. Replacing a windshield for a passenger car, on a typical national average, runs around $150 to $350, depending on the size and curvature of the windshield and the type of windshield glass required (some models will need a special bend or curve to the glass, which requires extra coating to maintain flexibility). Larger models, such as SUVs, typically cost between $160 and $300 to replace windshields, and minivans on average will run from $150 to $300.
Auto glass replacement has a few inclusions that are necessary as well: the replacement cost should include the glass, labor to install, adhesives and cleaning, and most glass shops include some kind of warranty with their work. The National Glass Association advises test driving the vehicle (typically one day after replacement, to insure the seal) and demanding a replacement, even if no warranty is offered, if there should be any water or air leaks around the sealed windshield.
Its also recommended that the consumer demand OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass; there are after-market glasses available, but the cost difference is small to have the OEM replacement.
Most comprehensive insurance policies cover reimbursement for replacing windshields, and some insurers offer coverage on windshields with or without the deductible. A deductible for glass replacement coverage, however, can often be as expensive as the replacement cost, ranging typically from $100-$300.
Finally, one should always beware offers of free windshield replacement or repair; some businesses claim that insurance will cover costs, but they then inflate charges, billing the policy for several replacements. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has a website giving more information about the auto glass scams that are out there, so you can be assure to know how to find the best auto glass repair for you.