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The Dangers of Windshield Replacement: What Your Glass Replacement Shop Won't Tell You.

The Critical Role of Windshield Safety

According to Richard Campfield, a renowned windshield safety expert, windshields play an indispensable role in vehicle safety. Campfield's study, produced for the Center for Auto Safety, highlights the importance of maintaining the original windshield and the significant risks associated with windshield replacements. The study emphasizes the following key points:

Windshield as a Crucial Safety Feature

  1. Structural Integrity/Roof Support: The windshield provides 50%-60% of the roof's support during rollovers and other severe accidents. It also contributes significantly to the vehicle's overall structural integrity, redirecting crash energy away from the passenger area.

  2. Airbag Timing & Retention: The windshield ensures proper airbag deployment timing and acts as a support for the passenger-side airbag during collisions.

  3. Occupant Retention: The windshield prevents occupants from being ejected during rollovers or catastrophic accidents and blocks external objects from entering the cabin.

Risks of Aftermarket Windshield Installations

  1. Factory Seal and Integrity: Original factory windshields cannot be replicated, and replacing them voids all factory safety ratings associated with the windshield, posing significant risks.

  2. Quality of Aftermarket Glass: Aftermarket auto glass lacks the quality, strength, and integrity of original factory glass. Even "factory" replacement glass often does not match original standards.

  3. Prevalence of Faulty Installations: Reports indicate that 70% to 80% of all aftermarket windshield installations are faulty to some degree. Factors contributing to this include improper adhesives, incorrect curing times, and contamination during installation.

  4. Impact of Rock Chips: Unrepaired or improperly repaired rock chips weaken the windshield's structural integrity by 20% to 30%.

Importance of Proper Windshield Maintenance

Campfield's study reveals that replacing an original factory windshield can be likened to playing Russian roulette. A compromised windshield can lead to severe injuries or fatalities in various scenarios, such as:

  • The roof collapsing during a rollover.

  • The windshield failing during a catastrophic wreck.

  • The passenger airbag punching the windshield out of the frame.

  • Airbags deploying too soon or too late.

On average, faulty aftermarket windshield installations cause 7,500 to 8,000 fatalities and approximately 7,000 to 7,500 severe injuries per year.

Guardian Windshield Repair & Protection: Preserving Windshield Safety

Guardian Windshield Repair & Protection emphasizes the importance of preventing windshield replacements. They specialize in:

  1. Rock Chip and Long Crack Repair: Their repairs are guaranteed to be stronger than new factory glass, making them a safer and preferred alternative to replacements.

  2. Protective Glass Treatment: They offer a permanent, protective glass treatment that prevents rock chips and cracks. This treatment includes glass refinishing and the application of three protective layers. They guarantee free repairs for rock chip damage for as long as you own your car and reimburse up to $500 towards deductible or replacement if the damage is unrepairable.

Recommendations for Windshield Replacement

If windshield replacement is unavoidable, follow these five recommendations:

  1. Buy Factory Glass with Logo: Although it may not duplicate the strength of original factory glass, it is likely to be of higher quality.

  2. NGA Certified Technicians: Ensure the company provides documentation that their technicians are certified by the National Glass Association.

  3. Adherence to AGRSS: Verify that the company endorses and adheres to the Auto Glass Repair Safety Standard.

  4. Manufacturer-Recommended Adhesives: Confirm that the company uses manufacturer-recommended urethane adhesives and follows recommended drive-off times.

  5. Choose Your Replacement Company: By law, you can choose who replaces your glass. Avoid using companies recommended by your insurance company without thorough vetting.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure the safety and integrity of your vehicle's windshield, protecting yourself and your passengers from potential harm.

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