My name is John Steiner and I have been doing windshield repair since early 1978. These are my opinions of what to do and not to do. There are many out there that will disagree with me. Most of them will be talking about industry standards. Keep in mind, when I started doing windshield repair the only standards were what we set ourselves. And how to think outside the box.
Others say no…. I say it depends on the damage, if you don’t think you can get at least 98% cosmetic improvement, leave it alone. You do not want to be the cause of obstructing someones vision.
Damage penetrating both layers of glass:
Chances are pretty good that we should leave this one alone.
Usually anything over 4 to 6 inches long I will leave alone. Lets face it, you can fill a crack 2 or 3 feet long if your willing to spend the time, buts what’s the point. I consider anything that long, broken, and out of the realm of repair. Replace the glass.
Damage with contamination in it:
Well first of all its takes someone with alot of experience to notice contamination such as wax, rainex, or dirt. These are not easily seen. However, once you start a repair it wont take you long to figure out something is not quite right. The best thing you can do is finish the job to the best of your ability. If you do notice contamination, advise your client of what you believe the outcome of the repair will be.
Damage on the inner layer of Glass:
Most will not attempt this. But then again I have been fixing rock chips for 30 years and never was any good at taking orders. I am going to give you the basics on two different procedures. I have fixed many of these throughout the years with pretty good success. What I am going to share with you are very advanced procedures and will require a great deal of patience. The first of these procedures is from the inside of the car. We will start by covering the dash board with a fairly thick towel, because your going to make a mess. Drill the impact point to gain easier access. Next, remove the injector from the Glazex GL2000. Put the piston in the injector about ½ way. Next turn the injector upside down and add 2-3 drops of resin. That’s right, your hand and fingers are going to act as your bridge. Hold the injector tight to the glass and very slowly apply pressure on the piston. Note: You will not be able to create a vacuum, without loosing your resin. You will probably have to repeat this 2-3 times. If your lucky the damage will fill quick and clean. If not, your hands and fingers will be plenty tired by the time your done. I didn’t say it was easy. Here’s the best part, you can only do this procedure if you have enough room. Most damages to the inside of the glass are caused by someone tossing something on the dash board and it hitting the glass. Which means most are very low on the glass thus limiting your work space. Which brings us to the Second procedure. From the outside we are going to drill a hole through the 1st layer of glass, through the laminate and into the inner layer of glass. Most of the damages I have come across on the inner portion of the glass have either been stars or small wing cracks. As you enter the inner layer you must be very careful not to penetrate all the way through but deep enough to gain access into the damage. Grab your repair tool and setup on the outside, make sure you have the dash board covered, the repair will probably drip a little. Now, from here out will require patience and more patients. You will probably need to flex the glass with your probe. (Flexing the glass is a art, and will take lots of practice) be very careful, the inner layer of glass will run or spread as easily as the outer. Again, these procedures are very advanced and require a lot of practice.
A Damage in the heated wiper area:
The general consensus is to leave it alone. And of course I disagree. My opinion is to look at the circumstances and assess the situation. I have never had a problem repairing a heated windshield. The secret is very simple, do not disrupt the heating element. As long as you don’t drill, probe, or penetrate the heating element you should not have a problem doing a repair in this area. Land Rovers can be very tricky because their heat strips run vertical throughout the entire windshield and are very hard to see. Again, you do not want to disrupt or damage any of these strips.
Damages with a pit larger than 3/8 of and inch in diameter:
This depends on your equipment your using and the location of the damage. Glazex sells a large pit adapter designed just for this purpose. I have done literally hundreds of such repairs with great success. However, if you lack the proper training and tools it is probably best to leave it alone.
Damages with pit depth down to the laminate.
Very touchy. If your going to attempt this be very careful on the amount of pressure you use or you will more than likely have a bad flowering affect. Do not use heat.
Damages with water or moisture:
Here is where I disagree with almost everyone in the business. The only thing that mixes with water is Kool-Aid. You only get 1 chance to do a repair, once you’ve screwed it up its done, finished, end of story. Leave it alone and let it dry. If you must do the repair now, there are methods to dry out the damage.
The first of these would be using a dry-out solution. I do not believe in this method because I don’t believe in the introduction of foreign material into the damage. And anything “hot” enough to evaporate that quickly will also damage the laminate. If you must do the repair now then heat is your best bet. The problem with using heat is patience. And not to get the damage too hot. If the damage gets too hot you will break down the lamination and cause flowering of the damage during repair. This is when the resin leaves the perimeter of the damage and starts to run between the 2 layers of glass. The best thing you can do is let it dry naturally.
Got a wet damage?