Ask the Doctor
by Walt Gorman
Q: In a recent column, you recommended buying a “dry-out device” to get moisture out of breaks. These devices sell for $100 or more. I can buy a lot of dry-out solution for that much money! What are the advantages of each?
The first time you spill a few drops of dry-out solution on a hood or fender and see how fast it ruins a paint job on a customer’s car you will understand one of the advantages of the tool. Another drawback to the dry-out solution is that it is so thin that a little too much pressure will force it under the PVB and cause a daisy effect.
Q: I have successfully repaired a number of long cracks up to 10 and 12 inches, but recently had to give refunds on several short cracks of 5 and 7 inches. In both cases, they were only a few days old and ran up from the bottom moulding. One was on a newly installed windshield. They both looked like perfect repairs, but opened up and spread within a few days. Can you offer any suggestions as to where I went wrong?
These were, no doubt, stress cracks. They usually are caused by an improper windshield installation or the vehicle’s body being wracked in an accident. No repair will hold until the underlying problem is corrected. The absence of an impact point is a clue that this is a stress crack. Accepting a job to repair one of these results in lost time twice (you must go back to check) and a loss of the customer’s faith in your ability.
Q: Some of my dealer accounts will occasionally ask me to “fix” a bad-looking repair that was on the windshield when they bought it, usually at the auction. I rarely can do anything to improve the looks of them and sometimes they look even worse. What is your policy on these situations?
Bad-looking, previously repaired breaks are most often the result of an attempted repair by an inept, untrained or poorly trained tech. Occasionally, it is evident that he did not get enough resin in the break to prevent it from being re-entered and re-repaired. In this case, we will attempt to fix it; otherwise, we do not. Always warn the customer that there is the risk that the break will look even worse after the repair. Remember once you work on it it will be considered your repair and affect your reputation.
Q: How can I get a copy of the CD-ROM that explains the advantages of windshield repair versus replacement? Have you seen it, and do you know what affect it has had on the agents?
Let me tell you my experience with it. I took it to the home office of a national insurance company, along with reprints of the ABC News “20/20” expose, the Fox News undercover investigation and the Detroit News story—all of them about unsafe windshield installations.
The insurer subsequently devoted a full page of its quarterly report to the benefits of windshield repair. The report was mailed to every policyholder, and, as a result, for weeks afterward we worked overtime to keep up with the calls from their policyholders. I assume other areas experienced the same spurt in business.
Their policyholders repeatedly told us that they did not know about repairs, or that in the past they had replaced a windshield because rock chips had spread across their whole windshields. These same people will now be on the lookout for dings in their own and other people’s windshields.
Dave Casey, president of Superglass Windshield Repair in Orlando, Fla., produced this CD for his own company and has generously allowed the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) to sell one to each member. (For Casey’s debut AGRR column, click here.) He has also given permission for association members to copy the CDs, or purchase additional disks.
To join the NWRA or find out more about the CD, contact Peg Stroka at 717/985-1501, or by fax at 717/985-1502.
Walt Gorman is the owner and founder of A-1 Windshield Doctor in Seekonk, Mass. He has 15 years experience in windshield repair and runs a training school for technicians. E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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