You get what you pay for. And when it comes to safety, you really should consider WHAT you're paying for.
We were recently called to a customers home to inspect a water leak issue they'd been having for some time. When we got there, a tarp was covering the entire SUV and several towels were covering the seats and dash. RED FLAG #1. After removing the covering and towels, we did a preliminary inspection of the glass. No visual rust, missing parts, and the glass looked properly seated. So we gave it a push from the inside just to see... RED FLAG #2. The entire top of the glass pushed out with no problem!
We proceeded to take the windshield out to properly investigate, and this is what we found:
You'll notice in the photos that the old adhesive remains on the vehicle when you remove the old glass. Along the top, the glue has completely separated from the body. Had the driver of this vehicle been involved in an accident, they could have been ejected through the windshield.
The images above are the glass we took from the vehicle. You can see the glue with the body paint and primer still attached to it. The center image shows what it should look like. There were also several gaps in the glue at various spots. You can see one of them in the image on the right.
We talked in a previous blog about the proper preparation of a windshield, but we will talk here about the proper preparation of the body. When you remove a windshield, you need to take proper steps to ready the vehicle for reinstallation. These include removing the old urethane adhesive to the appropriate height, cleaning all dust and debris from the installation area, removing any and all rust, and properly priming and activating (a chemical agent that bonds the glue to the glass/body) the pinch weld area.
In this case, we trimmed down the remaining glue to its appropriate height and cleaned the installation area with approved cleaners. We then coated it with body primer and activator according to the specifications of our products. This is MOST IMPORTANT! Not all products are the same, and you should be assured the technician performing the work understands the proper applications of their products. Some companies do not even take these NECESSARY steps. In the images below you can see the products drying.
Notice the area is all black. This is the primer. It provides a surface between the clear coat of paint and the glue. Along with the proper activators for the glue, this provides the appropriate surface for reinstallation and a safe, secure bond. Had we not prepared the area, the glue would not stick to the glass. It would cure, but would not have a chemical bond. Not good.
So why did this happen in the first place? Well, there are several possibilities.
Some vehicles that come from the factory have this issue right off the line. It occurs when they install the glass too soon after painting the vehicle. The paint isn't dry enough and pulls away from the body when you remove the glass. However, it will not just separate on its own. The glass will remain bonded until it is removed, at which point the glue pulls away the paint just like it did here.
But thats not what happened here. How do we know?
We know the glass has been replaced before. We know this by visual inspection, the brand of glass, and the customer flat out told us. When they pulled the glass before, the technician would have noticed the weakened bond, and should have taken proper steps to fix the issue. They did not. They took the shorter route and did the minimum work to get the glass back in. Did the job look fine? Absolutely... from the outside. But looking good doesn't keep you safe.
"But how do I know if the company I chose is doing the right thing?"
Choose J. Royce Auto Glass, and you won't have to worry :) Look for things like certifications from adhesive companies like DOW and SIKA. This will show that the technicians have proper training in the use of their materials. All look for information about certifications and industry specific training. You can find our certifications and awards here.
Most importantly, remember the adage: you get what you pay for. And with auto glass, you're paying for safety. Remember, the windshield is a vital part of the structural integrity of your vehicle. Just because it's in there, doesn't mean it's in there properly. Companies that are far cheaper than the rest are generally using lower quality parts, lower quality adhesives and materials, and generally do not have the highest quality of technicians. They save money in those areas so they can keep the cost lower for you. But when you're on the highway in the rain with your family, isn't the extra money worth your extra peace of mind?
Get what you pay for.
J Royce Auto Glass