Volume 5, Issue 6        November/December 2003


Expert  Advice         pros who know___________
The Bottom Line 
by Kerry Wanstrath

Editor’s Note: AGRR welcomes Kerry Wanstrath, vice president of Glass Technology in Durango, Colo., as its newest columnist. Following is his first article, which will focus on items of interest to repair technicians.

As most of you may know there has been some question raised about the ultimate safety of the windshield repairs being completed on stone-damaged windshields (see September/October AGRR, page 14). 

For the Record

Rather than entering into the debate on the results and validity of this small sampling test—seven windshields in total—the focus should be on the performance and track record of the glass repair industry as a whole.

Fact #1: The windshield repair industry has been in existence for more than 30 years and is a mature industry. This service is tried and true, used by millions and approved by billion-dollar insurance companies. There has not been any recorded injury as a result of a stone chip repair. 

Fact #2: Based on the amount of product sold in the last 20 years, Glass Technology Inc. estimates that an estimate of total repairs performed in the last 30 years exceeds 100 million. What auto service business has established a track record equal to that of the windshield repair business?

Fact #3: Is a stone-damaged windshield that is left un-repaired (where the glass is not sealed to the elements—sun, rain, snow) more or less likely to have spalling occur in the event of a severe accident? It has been concluded that un-repaired windshields do not pose a significant risk of increased spalling. When a repair is made utilizing the advanced chemical composition of today’s resins, some which have a tensile strength of 3600 psi after curing, does that not lead us to believe that a repaired windshield is safer than an un-repaired windshield? When a windshield is repaired, moisture is removed prior to resin injection and the technician weatherproofs the repair with a high-quality pit filler.

Fact #4: The Independent Glass Association’s own studies have shown that 70 percent of windshield replacements have been installed improperly. This is not to say that windshield replacement is creating a potential hazard inherently, but, as with any process, additional risk of failure may occur—hence the need for testing the competency of the technician. 

Two Industries United

It is estimated that 85 percent of all auto glass replacement businesses perform windshield repair as part of their services. I conclude that the merger of these two services occurred many years ago and that they function as ONE industry, not two. 

Based on the above facts, it is reasonable to conclude that the windshield repair industry has established a flawless track record on the safety of the service it provides. It would seem that if the glass industry as a whole were to ignore the benefits created by doing repairs, we would be inviting potential safety problems, as well as an enormous increase in cost to the consumer. As an industry, we should focus on what is right for the consumer—repairing a damaged windshield when practical.

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