Cars are simply not as easy to work on like they used to before. Generally, car parts are becoming more complex and difficult to work on. And windshields are not an exception.
With no doubt, windshield repair and replacement is no easy task, especially for auto mechanic beginners. However, once you’ve learned the ropes as a beginner, you’ll notice how fulfilling and profitable windshield replacement can be.
To help you bend your learning curve, here is a list of five most common questions most beginner auto mechanics struggle with.
Should I repair or replace the windshield if it’s cracked or chipped?
Well, windshield damage occurs in two forms- cracks and chips.
Cracks form a distinct line on the windshield which can range in sizes. The crack can be a horizontal line, vertical or in a somewhat wavy line. For chips, damage mainly occurs in the form of a star, a bull’s eye or a pit which creates a dent in the windshield.
When to repair or replace.
Smaller chips or cracks are generally easy and safe to repair. You can measure the size of the damage by a dollar bill. If the damage is not larger than a dollar bill, then you can do a repair. The repair is done by injecting a special resin in the damaged area.
However, if there are more than three cracks on the glass or if the chip is in the driver’s line of sight, the windshield should be replaced.
Windshields are an important structural part and contribute a lot to the overall structural strength of the car. Therefore it is important to repair or replace the windshield as soon as possible before the cracks grow larger.
How soon should the car owner drive after the windshield is replaced?
Some technicians will say, 30 minutes 40 and even up to 75 minutes. But these numbers vary in different areas due to temperature and humidity.
During the summer season, the warmer temperatures cause faster curing times for the adhesives used in the windshield replacement. The windshield replacement process also tends to be a bit quicker.
During winter, adhesives and primers work at a slower pace. In some cases, especially when degrees are below 40, you will require to warm the adhesives, primers, and cleaners. You might also be required to use different replacement processes or products during lower temperatures. Therefore, in general, the minimum drive-away time during winter is longer than in the summer months.
Pro tip: During winter always ensure you remove any moisture in the damaged area. When temperatures drop, as the moisture freezes it expands and this creates pressure on the damaged area which might cause more cracks in the area of damage. Therefore when doing your repair always make sure that your glass is completely moisture-free.
Windshield tinting; How dark should we go?
Most car owners also request their windows to be tinted on the upper and lower parts of their windshield after a windshield replacement.
But how much tint should you apply? How much tint is legal?
Well, every state has its own laws of allowable tint levels. Most tint laws also specify on the number inches from the top part of the windshield are acceptable.
Therefore before embarking on the tint job, do some little research on what tint levels are acceptable in your state. This will save your clients from being pulled over every time or even getting charged.
Aftermarket Windshield glass vs OEM- which is better?
OEM auto glass is glass fabricated by the manufacturer that provided your automaker the windshield they placed in your car. In other words, you are replacing the windshield with another windshield almost identical to the one present when the vehicle first rolled off the car dealership.
Aftermarket auto glass is made by a different company other than the one who made the original windshield on the car.
In most cases the aftermarket windshields tend to be cheaper than OEM, however, the debate in the glass industry is which of the two is better?
If you are looking to save costs you should think of using aftermarket windshields. These windshields are cheaper than the OEM’s and can help you cut costs in your repair shop. However, most aftermarket windshields have varying quality levels. The quality also might not match the original OEM windshield.
OEM windshields are of higher quality and safer than the aftermarket windshields. They also tend to fit better on the car and adhere to the same quality standards on the car when it was first built.
Therefore when making a decision on which to choose, always check with the car owner, and advise them based on their budget, the type of windshield to choose.
Which price is a fair price?
As a mechanic, you will want to offer your clients affordable and fair prices. However, it is important to note that your pricing decisions can lead to the failure or success of your business. Therefore, you need to consider a few factors before you set your prices. Here are a few pointers to help you set the best prices for your windscreen replacement services.
Know the difference between the cost of acquiring the windshields and your sales price.
You can check if your sales prices cover the cost of acquiring the windshields and your general operating costs on average. If they do, set your profit margin based on the amount of profit you need to maintain your business.
Check on your competitor’s prices
How have other auto repair centers priced their services?
You need to compete favorably with other auto repair centers. Therefore, don’t set your prices higher than the other repair centers. Ensure that your prices are equal or even lower to your competitor’s prices.
Windshield replacement services are, with no doubt, easy and profitable once you become competent in it. Use the challenges you face as a beginner to learn and once you’ve got the hang of things it will not only be a task you’ll profit from but part of your favorite tasks in your job.