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September/October 2002

Expert Advice
        pros who know

Profiting from Scratches

by Dave Shores

As you look at windshields for damage, are you looking only for rock chips? Windshield damage consists of more than just rocks chips. Worn wiper blades can create scratches that can be repaired easily with a good scratch-removal system. In today’s competitive world we are all looking for ways to separate ourselves from our competition.  Scratch removal has certainly opened doors for many of our customers. 

Beginning the Removal
Here are a few suggestions that you may want to keep in mind as you go through the scratch-removal process. First of all, make sure that all rock chips are repaired before beginning the scratch removal. A windshield is weakened by unrepaired damage and may break further as you apply pressure during the scratch-removal process. Once the repair is completed, you are ready to begin. Always protect the vehicle’s surface just as you would while doing a windshield repair. No matter what scratch-removal system you use, there is a machine and some kind of paste or compound that can be splattered on the vehicle’s paint. Any precautions that you take prior to starting will reduce your clean-up time when the process is completed. 

Once you feel you have completed your scratch removal and you cannot see the scratch from the outside of the vehicle, make sure to sit down inside the vehicle and look through the windshield. If you see distortion in the scratch line the scratch is not removed completely and will take a little more work. Once the scratch is removed completely there will be no sign of distortion in the scratch line. Distortion always will be a concern when dealing with windshields, because no one wants to be driving around looking through glass that distorts his view. Make sure that you know the limitations of your scratch-removal system so that you don’t leave any distortion in the glass when the scratch is removed.

Special Cases
The rear windows of SUV’s are damaged more frequently than windshields because they are made of tempered glass. Dirt and road grime is thrown up on the rear window, then the wiper is turned on and the glass is scratched. This type of damage doesn’t create a safety issue, but rather a cosmetic issue. So, if you are doing work for car dealers, they may want to have these types of scratches removed to increase the sales value of the vehicle. This allows you to make money from two services simultaneously—removing the scratch while you are doing a rock chip.  Also, take a look at the dealership showroom windows, there is also another great opportunity to do scratch-removal work.

Keep in mind anywhere there is glass, there are scratches, and that can put money into your pocket.


Dave Shores is vice president of Glas-Weld Systems of Bend, Ore., and serves on the National Windshield Repair Association Board of Directors.




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