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Windshield Repair Journal

Think You Can't Repair A Crack Longer Than 6 Inches? Think Again!

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One major necessity of owning a windshield repair business -- or any business, for that matter -- is efficiency and ethics. If your business can't operate with efficiency and ethics, you'll potentially lose out on significant profits. In the windshield repair and auto glass industry, owners often lose out on opportunities because of a misconception propagated by windshield manufacturers and large autoglass companies such as Safelite: the notion that windshields with cracks longer than six inches cannot be repaired and require a full replacement is not true. Even among seasoned auto glass replacement experts, this myth is stubbornly persistent only because of greed? And it's easy to see why: many windshield manufacturers and glass companies have a lot to lose if costly windshield replacements become less common. Of course, their loss is your customers' gain and your gain when you are truthful to your customer.

The reality is, windshield repair technology has come a long way in preventing the need for unnecessary replacements. Here's a quick guide to help you determine whether a vehicle is suitable for a long windshield crack repair.

Consider The Two Main Factors...
There are two major considerations to determine whether a windshield needs a full replacement or can be repaired using a long windshield crack repair kit. These two factors in order of dominance are age and length and there is correlation between the age and the length.

When a stone hits a windshield it will make one of two types of damage - an edge crack or a stone-break/chip. There are two types of cracks, an edge crack and a floater crack. Over 90% of cracks will be an edge crack. This is due to manufacturing defects around the entire perimeter edge area which causes this area to fracture easier than the rest of the windshield and cracks immediately to about 8-10 inches. The other crack is a floater crack. This is a stone-break or chip that cracked-out, most often due to severe temperature change. The floater crack is not nearly as common as the edge crack, usually 10% or less. This is because over 90% of stone-breaks or chips will never crack-out in the most populous areas of the United States due to the fact that most people choose not to the live in severe temperature states.

Smaller, shorter cracks 3-6 inches can be repaired by some auto glass repair shops, however many specializing in auto glass replacements such as Safelite say they can but usually bait and switch the customer into a replacement when their technician shows up. If an auto glass repairer can correctly repair a short edge crack then they can repair a long edge crack. It is just a matter of sliding the proper windshield crack repair tool with the proper crack repair resin a few more inches. Repairing a long crack correctly on your windshield requires specific tools and experience with specific long crack resins. Typically, though it is by far much easier than a replacement and it can be easily done on cracks up to 18 inches long with the right tools and resins. The standard in the United States is 14 inches long.

The type of stone-break is also a main factor in determining whether a repair or replacement is necessary. There are five basic types of windshield stone breaks: combination break, half moon, bullseye, radiating crack, and star breaks. Some say that star breaks, bullseyes, half moon, cracks, and other chips and cracks that can be covered with a quarter can be repaired, however the standard in the United States states the specific sizes with each type chip- see the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard. Keep in mind that multiple cracks or chips off the same impact in a vehicle's windshield may also call for more advanced treatment.

The location of the windshield's damage is also a factor when determining if a repair is possible. If it's in the driver's line of sight, it could cause complications. For safety reasons, auto glass technicians must make a careful judgement as to whether the damage could potentially impede the driver's vision. If the crack or chip could feasibly interfere with the driver's line of sight, then a replacement may be the safer option. See the United States Windshield Repair Guidelines and the Repair of Laminated Auto Glass Standard for when the damage is in the acute or driver's primary viewing area.

Ultimately, long crack repairs offer huge potential savings for vehicle owners with damaged windshields. While there is a misconception that long cracks require replacements, this is simply not true and a current federal court ruling as recognized it to be false advertising. Understanding when a vehicle's windshield can be repaired or needs a full replacement can help your windshield repair business maximize efficiency and increase profits. For more information about repairing a long crack on your windshield, or to order the original long windshield crack repair kits, contact Ultrabond.

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References

   FAQ
   Before/After Photos
   Incorrect Resin Photos
   Correct Resin Photos
   Fundamentals of Windshield Repair Adhesives
   Repairable Windshield Damage
   Windshields are Made to Crack
   Windshields Repair Standard (ROLAGS)

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