My Auto Glass Replacement Horror Story..
That Darn Rock....
It all started with a small rock hitting my windshield. I was driving along a major highway in the Boston area, likely singing along with my car radio, when I heard a loud noise in front of me. I soon found a nickel sized, star shaped crack in my windshield. No big deal, right?
I called a well-known glass repair chain and scheduled the repair for the next day. The repair guy met me in my driveway and began to work on my baby.. I mean my Audi TT, which is like my baby. It is a 2008, all wheel drive, sports coupe, in perfect shape with very low mileage.
I stayed inside while he worked, he signaled me when he was done and I was surprised with what I found next.. the star shaped, nickel sized crack was still there. I then learned that they can’t fix the cracks, they can only fill them with resin. For some reason I thought they’d use a super cool, heating mechanism to smooth out the crack and make it disappear, but I was incorrect. To make the windshield look like new, I would have to have it replaced. And, this made me nervous.
I spent the next week staring at this crack in my windshield and eventually decided to get the glass replaced. I called my car insurance company, put in the claim and asked them to recommend a glass replacement company. They did, and a few days later, I had another appointment.
Meet Fred, The Glass Guy
Fred (name changed to protect the innocent) met me in my driveway, to let me know that he was not ready to make the repair. Fred explained that he went to the local glass facility to pick up the replacement windshield, but it was in poor condition. The glass was warped and the edges were coming apart.
He said, “I could of used this glass, but I figured you would put in a complaint later on. That would hurt my record.” Fred assured me that the glass company would get a better piece, which he could install later that day. I agreed to wait.
Since I did not have a warm and fuzzy feeling about the situation, I decided to call Fred’s manager and explain my concerns. This manager assured me that the next piece of glass would be very high quality.
Fred arrived later that day with a piece of glass, but with more bad news…the new piece was also poor quality. Fred showed me how the edges were coming apart and said, “I would not even put this in my car, but you can if you want. Most other glass installers would still use this piece, but I know you want your car to be perfect. But, I can still do it if you want.” Let me think for a minute… um, NO! Fred said that I needed to insist on new, Audi certified glass, instead of the after market shields he had been given.
Meet Bob, Another Glass Guy
I sent Fred on his way and called my insurance company again. I explained the situation and after two days, I was given the approval to get the new, Audi shield if I used the same glass company again. I reluctantly agreed and about one week later, Bob (name changed to protect the guilty) arrived in my driveway. He showed me the piece of glass and assured me that it was high quality and would be installed correctly. It even had the Audi stamp, so I felt a little better.
Before Bob started the job, I took “before” photos of the car. I wanted them just in case anything happened, and to make Bob a little nervous so he did a better job.
One hour later Bob informed me that he was done, BUT there was a problem. Bob had scratched my car paint in two places in the process. He apologized and added “I know this is your baby, but these things happen sometimes. We will pay for whatever you need to get these scratches fixed.”
Insert several swear words.
The BIG Estimate
A few days later I brought my car into a very reputable body shop (endorsed by Audi) to get an estimate. As they inspected the scratches, they showed me several places where my buddy Bob had messed up. Not only did he scratch my car, he did a lousy job installing the windshield.
The outcome? Because the car is aluminum and based on where the scratches were located, the body shop had to replace two, side panels in the car. This was a large job, took five days to complete and cost (drum roll) $3,500. (Paid for by the glass company.)
What Have We Learned?
Three visits from glass repair men, two glass companies, one week in auto-body repair, numerous phone calls... What did I learn from all this?
- Before you get your
glass replaced, insist on new, not after market, parts.
- Get a recommendation from your car dealer, NOT your insurance company on a glass replacement company.
- Very carefully inspect your car after the job is done.
- Sounds like there are a lot of poorly installed windshields driving about...
Ok, where is the rock that started it all?