Five Important Things To Consider When Having Your Windshield Fixed Or Replaced

Chipped or cracked windshields are pretty much a fact of life. Damage to your windshield can happen when road debris gets kicks back onto your windshield, when you are following a gravel or dump truck, or when your vehicle is exposed to extreme temperature changes. To get the best work possible when you need to repair or replace your windshield, it's important to be aware of a few key points:

1. Repair vs. replacement. While a repair to your windshield can save you money, a repair isn't suitable for windshields with a large chip, with spidering around the chip, and/or with damage around the edges of the glass. Repairs are also not recommended for chips or cracks that are located along the driver's sight line. Repairs are made with a glass polymer filler that is inserted in the damaged area and then buffed so that it is smooth. Although the filler is clear, it can cause some light refraction and/or distortion.

2. OE and OEE. Original equipment (OE) and original equipment equivalent (OEE) are the best quality of replacement auto glass on the market. OE glass is made by glass companies under contract with auto manufacturers and is identical to the glass that you'd see in a brand new vehicle. OEE glass is similar to OE glass, but is made by independent companies that don't have an affiliation with a car manufacturer.

3. AGRSS certification. The National Glass Association (NGA) operates a certification program for replacement glass technicians. Technicians that are AGRSS (automotive glass replacement safety standards) certified have met or exceeded the NGA's training and experience requirements and has met all of the federal safety standards. Look for this acronym when you are shopping for replacement auto glass.

4. On site vs. repair shop. Many auto glass replacement and repair companies will come to your home or office to do their work. This can save you time driving to the shop and waiting for the repair or replacement to be completed. (A new windshield needs at least an hour for the bonding agent to set completely before the car can be driven.)

5. Dealer vs. repair shop. Most dealers don't deal in windshield replacements and repairs. If you take your vehicle to the dealer, they will likely subcontract the work to a repair shop and add a mark-up for their efforts. Better to take your vehicle directly to the auto glass repair shop yourself.

Repairing or replacing your windshield doesn't have to be complicated. However, to get the best auto glass repair or replacement possible, be sure to know when a repair is indicated and when replacement is the safer option, know the difference between OE and OEE glass and other types of glass, and know to ask about AGRSS certification.