||Now you might or might not heard of Snake Oil properties. It heals
all wounds, creates increased respiration, and will help out your sex life. Carpet Baggers
sold snake oil's to unwary customers from coast to coast promising cures to many ailments
to lure money from common folk in search for a cure.
The snake oil of in the Auto Glass industry is probably the Windshield Repair. Manufactures and companies promise to deliver the almost impossible. From the repair of small stone bruises to 24 inch cracks. However not totally a Snake Oil, because in some cases it does actually work, and gives the customer an alternative to replacement of a whole Windshield.
So you may now ask what is the difference between a Windshield Repair verses Replacement. In our Auto Glass Segment, we discussed how the majority of Windshields get broken. You drive down the highway doing 60mph, and a stone kicks up from the vehicle in front of you hitting your Windshield. Depending on the size, speed, velocity, and angle of the the hit by the stone will determine what type of stone bruise you will acquire. Take a look at the 4 major types of stone bruises.
I'm sure many of you have seen this on your Windshield at some point in your driving experience. They are as annoying as bug splatter, only harder to remove. However they are removable and do have certain limitations. Here, we will discuss the methods of Windshield Repair, from Snake Oil promises to real science.
The most common method in repairing stone bruises is by the injection of a solvent or resin into the break thus giving back the structural integrity of the glass, and lessening the visual deformity. However leave this to the expert. Many auto part stores will sell Windshield Repair kits that promise what they can't deliver. These are the snake oil's of the Windshield Repair industry. Similar to the do it yourself tire repair kits, if you ever tried to this yourself, you will notice the failure rate is rather high for the non-professional. Please leave this to an expert.
Most repair methods use a
machine that either injects or inhales the resin into the stone bruise. As in the the Auto Glass segment I discussed what a windshield is. Two pieces of
float that has a plastic sheet of Lamination sandwiched between the glass. Now most stone
bruises say the size of a dime have an unsightly shade, and a small pit mark on the outer
surface of the glass. If you run your finger over it you will feel the pit mark.
Many times with in the dark shadow you will notice tiny lines or cracks. These tiny little
cracks are the start of a larger crack if a windshield repair is not performed quickly
after the stone hit the windshield.
First the machine is attached to the Windshield where the bruise is . Now depending on the method use they will either inject the resin into the glass or breath it into the bruise. Those who use the injection type method run the risk of starting a run from a crack due to injection pressure. Although this method has a good success rate, I prefer the vacuum method. You see the dark patch of bruise is nothing more than an air pocket between the two pieces glass. To properly fill the air with resin you must first remove the air from the pocket. This method is similar to a soda can. Did you know that when you open a soda can, the noise you hear is air going into the can first. This is what happens with a vacuum. Air pressure will fill a vacuum. Thus this method of repair or breathing method will put less stress into the air pocket of the repair area, and get better results. As the machine draws the air out of the bruise, the vacuum then is disengaged, and the resin then breaths to the crack. Just like the air did in the soda can.
Most if not all of the true Windshield Resins are ultra-violet sensitive materials. What this means is that they will harden instantly when exposed to the ultra-violet spectrum of the sun's ray. Creating an instant hard seal. After that the excess resin is scraped off using a new industrial razor. An additional application of resin is then applied to the pit or the chunk of glass that was taken off by the rock, and if need be buffed using a serum oxide abrasive.
Now after all this was done, did
it come out as you expected?
Probably not. I
have seen some take out at best 95% of the distortion, and some as little as 50% or some
not at all. Even though the industry considers this a true science, I would call it hit or
miss. However it is not to say it shouldn't be given its best college try. The main reason
for some failures is that the resin is not the replacing the glass. The pit mark will
deliver most of the distortion of the repair. Also the longer you leave the bruise
untreated, dirt and road salts can enter the repairable area, making the repair more
difficult and unsightly. The main focus however is that the windshield has been fused by
the resin giving back its structural integrity, and will in most cases prohibit the
windshield from cracking. Thus extending the life of the Windshield, only for the next
stone that hits it on any give day
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