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March/April 2003

Expert Advice
    pros who know

Handling Moisture in the Breaks
by Dave Shores

With April showers approaching, windshield repair techs are about to be faced with moisture-filled rock chips. 

The first thing you may notice about a break that has moisture in it is that a portion of it may look clear and nearly invisibleójust as if it is filled with resin. However, note how the clear appearance will move around as you flex the break with your probe. 

Once you have determined that there is moisture in the break, you have some options for drying it out. You can apply heat to the inner surface of the windshield to force the moisture to vaporize and escape from the break out through the pit. Another method is to put denatured alcohol in the break to reduce the amount of heat that will be required to vaporize the moisture. You can further reduce the temperature required to vaporize the moisture by using your injector to create a vacuum on the break. Make sure you use an injector that has no resin in it. A final option is to use a moisture removal tool. The device is plugged into the cigarette lighter and creates heat, and then is applied to the outer surface of the windshield to cause the moisture to vaporize. 

Whatever method you choose, the use of heat is required to remove the moisture. 

However, once it is removed, you must allow the temperature of the glass around the break to cool down to be consistent with the rest of the windshield before you begin injecting resin. If you donít, the laminate will remain soft and flowering will be more likely to occur during the repair process. Also, during the heating process the glass expands and the passageways in the break get more narrow, so the resin will not flow properly while the glass is still hot. Many times a technician thinks that the repair is done, only to find out that the legs on a star or combination break were still closed up due to the heat and didnít accept any resin. In this case, the break was not completely filled with resin, the repair was not completed and the customer did not get what he paid for. 

So, letís all have a much more enjoyable spring season by learning how to recognize a break with moisture in it and how to dry it out properly. 

Dave Shores is the vice president of Glas-Weld Systems of Bend, Ore., and a member of the National Windshield Repair Association board of directors.


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