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My Auto Glass Replacement Horror Story..

Updated on November 24, 2010
My Audi's Windshield
My Audi's Windshield

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
Meet Fred

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
Meet Bob

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?


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    • profile image

      jake 19 months ago

      I'm a autoglass installer and I'm just gonna let you know you have no clue what you're talking about. Anytime someone is gonna work on your car there is always a chance they will mess something up whether it be auto glass installer, body shop, mechanics, etc. Shit happens. Also, almost all of the dealer glasses are made by the same companies that make the aftermarket glasses. The only difference is the logo on the glass. Half the time it will still even say the aftermarket companies name and the maker's logo. Its the same glass except for the couple 100 dollar diff. I also would like to know how the body shop knew it was installed incorrectly since body shops usually don't install their own glass. They pay auto glass shops to do it.

    • profile image 5 years ago

      I hate to hear stories like that. It makes us good windshield and auto glass replacement shops look bad. Using the insurance company "recommended" or "preferred" shop is never the way to go. Get a word of mouth recommendation or search the reviews before you make a choice. But the point is to CHOOSE A glass shop and DON'T let someone else choose one for you! -

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Thanks for this great hub but you must have gone through so much on this day.

      Take care


    • profile image

      Matt Bailey 6 years ago


      You made some very valid points. Unfortunately, most insurance companies are not willing to pay for OEM glass these days unless you have a very new vehicle or the OEE glass is not available.

      There are many quality companies out there like Pilkington and PPG that sell quality OE glass. You should not have problems with the quality issues you mentioned if you request specifically one of those brands (although there can always be lemons.)

      At least your company paid for the damages. You are almost always protected by your insurance company if you use a glass shop that is on their preferred list. To be on an insurance companies preferred list, it is almost always the case that the glass shop will have at least $1,000,000 of garage liability insurance to cover anything that could go wrong.


    • profile image

      tglass 7 years ago

      I would like to hear the same story from the glass installer, I bet it would sound a little different. In my opinion the glass installer did the right thing by telling you he scratched your car and paying for it. That's the exact person I want working on my car. Most installers would touch up the paint or say they didn't do it and refuse to pay. You should be thanking the installer not bashing him.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Dang - that is a horror story. Kudos on being a survivor.

    • profile image

      livelife686 7 years ago

      Horrible as it its..I'm glad you got through it.

    • profile image

      glass guy 7 years ago

      okay, i usually don't even comment on posts like this but this one I have to for some reason. First of all, with all due respect, what you learned from your so called ordeal was wrong. Fixing a glass doesn't make the blemish vanish God has not granted the power of making a glass crack disappear yet. Man, however has developed ways to gluing together. The whole point of repairing is to restore 100% of structural integrity while making it look better cosmetically. Also, repairing is environmentally friendly.

      Second, aftermarket is new too it's just generic so next time if you ask for "new" windshield, you might still get aftermarket.

      It's good that you made this poor guy pay for the paint damage he caused- but, if you are so particular about getting everything original, you should have gone to the dealership for glass in the first place and have them put in an OEM windshield part. Ofcourse, that costs extra and even the insurance companies don't allow that so you decided to go with the aftermarket where your own money was at stake but you made this glass company pay for high end OEM paint job.

      The should be some kind of protection against such customers too.

    • profile image

      Doug@ags 7 years ago

      I own a glass company in Connecticut. I'll give you a little insight to what goes on in the glass business. First of all your insurance company has a contract with the largest hack companies out there. They contract to pay the lowest price possible so your going to get aftermarket glass. Unfortunately this company makes their own glass.

      You may not now it but when you signed your auto policy you agreed to have the cheapest glass installed. If you want OEM glass you will have to pay the difference to what they will pay. Remember YOU signed it. And another thing, if the company knew what they were doing they would have told you that you cannot repair a chip in any Audi,Mercedes,Porsche,BMW. The windows are part of the structure of the car. That chip repaired or left alone is a void in the glass. Repair is just a ploy to get you in the door to replace.

    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 7 years ago

      I don't think I could remain so upbeat about such a situation!

    • profile image

      blackjack 7 years ago

      now i know what they mean when people talk about being "between a rock and a hard plce."

      loved the story !!! made me laugh on a very "dull" morning !

    • profile image

      cindy 7 years ago

      What an experience ! To think it was just from a "little" rock. It seems to reflect a similar situation that we all have had - - one little thing snowballing into a huge ordeal.

      You have an incredibly humerous and entertaining way of expressing yourself which is terrific !

    • profile image

      Minga 7 years ago

      What a frustrating experience! Thank you for the information and suggestion we all use caution with window glass.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      A great hub but I am sure you didn't enjoy it while it last. Workmen these days brings tears to your eyes. Thank you for enjoyable read.