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Windshield repair vs. replacement

July 01, 2011
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We have all experienced it. You’re driving down the road and all of a sudden a rock hits the windshield, creating a chip in the glass. What most people don’t know is that the majority of these fractures can be repaired — if caught in time — keeping repair costs to a minimum and keeping glass out of our landfills.

In addition, many insurance companies waive comprehensive deductible charges when the customer decides to repair the windshield instead of replacing it. Both parties win by spending less money on a repair. Windshield repair is a permanent solution to an age-old problem. Chips happen, and they can be easily repaired at a minimal cost and with a decent profit margin that can add to your bottom line. And in today’s tough economic environment, windshield repair is being recognized by many different industries, such as detailers, carwashes, lube shops and auto dealerships, as a way to positively impact their businesses with an additional service offering.

Savings multiplied

Windshield repair is a great first choice over replacement for a variety of reasons as it:

Saves money: Repair is a fraction of the cost of replacement.

Saves time: Repair is fast, usually 15-20 minutes, whereas replacement can take hours.

Saves glass: Repair keeps the damage from spreading and provides a great looking result.

• Saves the environment: Most people don’t know that laminated windshield glass is not recycled. When they choose repair first, it keeps their glass out of the landfill (see photo).

Retains the original factory bond: Repair brings the windshield back to factory specifications and retains the original factory bond (if it has not been previously replaced), which means safety will not be compromised for drivers and their passengers. An improperly replaced windshield may create a safety risk whereby air bags could blow out a windshield and therefore not provide the intended safety.

A successful windshield repair will arrest the cracking of the glass. With the average replacement cost hovering around $350, your customer is usually happy to live with a barely noticeable repair, while paying a small fraction of the replacement cost. And they may not pay anything out of pocket when utilizing their insurance coverage.

Did you know?

Here are some facts and figures showcasing the benefits of repairing windshields:

• In the United States alone, more than 11 million windshields go into our landfills annually.

• Glass takes more than 1 million years to decompose in our landfills.

• Windshield glass is difficult and expensive to recycle because the glass is two-ply laminated and contains a PVB layer that must be separated. Much of this glass also has integrated heating elements and antenna and cannot be returned to the glass furnace for reuse.

• The transportation of glass, which is a relatively heavy product, throughout the supply chain results in high levels of transport-related CO2 emissions.

• Glass manufacturing is a high-temperature, energy-intensive activity, resulting in the emission of combustion by-products and the high-temperature oxidation of atmospheric nitrogen.

• It takes 15.2 million BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy to produce one ton of glass. The manufacturing of one ton of glass can generate as much as 385 pounds of mining waste and 28 pounds of air pollutants.

• The amount of energy needed to produce one windshield is equal to 10,000 repairs.

The more that we all participate in reducing the use of raw materials and the energy needed to produce glass, the better off our environment will be, making glass repair the best option. It is not only a cost-effective option for your customers, but also the environmentally-sound option. Also, by decreasing the amount of glass that goes into landfills and reducing the need for new glass manufacturing and transportation, it contributes to a positive environmental impact.

Windshield repair has been around for more than three decades and continues to grow and develop into a viable and profitable service. If you do your research, choose the right equipment and participate in comprehensive training, windshield repair can become a lasting addition to your revenue stream and your profits.


Lori Patch is marketing director for GlasWeld, a world-wide provider of windshield repair, headlight restoration and glass scratch removal products since 1982. She wrote the article entitled, Windshield repair vs. replacement. For more information and sources on the environmental benefits of glass repair, visit www.glasweld.com/environment.

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