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Long crack repair is often seen as something to avoid. What makes a crack different to a star break? What is the best technique? What resin should be used? All good questions which I will address in this article.
First of all a typical star break is mostly underneath the surface of the top glass layer. A very easy repair to make with your bridge and injector. A long crack actually is open at the surface for the entire length of the crack. So the repair requires a different technique than a star repair. Because the crack is open at the surface, a device called a crack expander is put on the inside of the windshield under the crack. The expander is used to open the crack up so resin can be easily injected or applied with a syringe on the outside of the windshield.
A thicker, higher viscosity crack resin is required to repair and permanently fix the crack. The repair starts at the tip of the crack and you work your way back towards the crack’s origin…which is usually near the edge of the glass. It is very important to maintain even pressure from your crack expander when sliding along the crack. Not doing so may cause trapped air in the crack. Keep sliding the crack expander along the inside of the windshield, following your progress. You can see the crack filling from the side of the crack at glass level. Along the way, you will place 3″ curing strips on top of the crack. When the crack is filled, remove the crack expander from the inside of the windshield.
When working indoors, you will need to cure the resin with your ultra violet light. Place over curing strips for approx. 5 minutes. Move light as needed to cure entire crack.
When working outdoors, it is imperative that you keep your work completely covered with a fender mat, securing it with your aluminum bridges. When working outdoors with the fender mat on windshield, use a “peek-a-boo” style not to expose the resin to ultra violet light. You may need to move the vehicle so that sun light will not come from around the edges of the mat.
Allow the resin to completely cure in direct sunlight for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the curing strips. Holding a razor blade at a 45 degree angle, scrape off the excess hardened resin. Wipe clean with a clean paper towel. Your finished repair will look like a fine scratch on the windshield.
- Make sure that the crack is free of moisture before the repair. If there is any water present, it will prevent the resin from filling the crack and will cure with air pockets once the water evaporates.
- Keep sunlight off of the crack while it is being repaired.
- Never drill the end of the crack to try and stop it. This is not necessary and will make for an obvious mark on the windshield.
With a little practice you will be repairing long cracks just as easily as any other windshield repair.
There will always be rainy days. Unfortunately in the windshield repair business, water and resin do not mix. Simply wiping the water from the surface is not sufficient. When it rains, water seeps into a break on a windshield and if you try to repair it, the resin will not completely setup and cure. When the water eventually evaporates from the repair, you will be left with ugly air pockets inside of your repair and an unhappy customer.
If you have an indoor facility, then you can dry off the windshield with a towel and use a hairdryer to evaporate the water from the break before the repair. This will take some time. You want to make sure that the glass does not get too hot as this can cause the break to crack. Or you can simply let the water evaporate naturally. Whichever method you choose, take your time and make sure that the break is free from moisture before proceeding with your repair.
If you don’t have a facility to do an indoor repair, then simply postpone it until the next dry day. If you explain to your customer that rain can ruin the repair, they will gladly wait.
Star and bullseye repairs are generally very easy windshield repairs to perform. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure they are the best they can be:
1. If you want to see how a leg of a star is filling you have to get your eye down near glass level and look at the leg from its side. From that angle you can see the depth of the line and actually see whether or not the resin is filling in. Because the leg is so thin, looking at it from above will reveal nothing.
2. Be sure and look at the leg of a star from both sides when filling it. The general rule is if you can see it from one side and not the other, then it is filled. If you can see the leg from both sides, then it is not filled.
3. With your injector under pressure (piston screwed down), use your probe to apply slight pressure at the base of each leg. This technique forces the resin to fill the leg all the way to the tip. Be sure not to press too hard as this can make the leg grow.
4. If you are doing a star repair and all the legs are filling great except for one, then you will want to drill directly into that leg and fill it from the new drill hole.
Use these tips to insure you are performing the absolute best windshield repairs possible.
As winter is upon us, many of you have asked the question…Is it safe to do windshield repair in cold weather? While repairing windshields outside in the bitter cold is not ideal, it can definitely be done. For best results, take the following tips for cold weather repairs.
- In frigid temperatures, don’t store your resin and equipment in your vehicle overnight. Bring your windshield repair kit inside with you so the next day it is warm and ready for your first repair. Keep your resin warm during the work day. If need be carry your resin bottles in your pocket.
- Warm the windshield with the defroster. To keep the windshield from cracking, make sure not to over heat the glass. Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal. If the defroster is not available then use a lighter to warm up the area to be repaired. Again not too hot.
- Allow for extra time during the curing process. Usually an extra 2 minutes is adequate as long as the you have ample sunshine. For partly cloudy conditions, add another minute or two.
- If you are using a UV lamp, try to keep that warm as well for optimal curing power.
- As always never attempt to repair a windshield that is wet. The break needs to be completely free of moisture for the repair to work.
I hope these tips will help you this winter perform the very best repairs possible. Of course the very best cold weather solution is to perform your repairs indoors if that is at all an option.
In order to accommodate our customers using mobile devices, we’ve changed our site to make it easier to place orders on smart phones and tablets. No more resizing windows just to see what you’re doing. We’ve also added individual customer accounts so you can sign in, save personal preferences and review past orders. PayPal is back as a payment option and USPS is now available for our international customers to make shipping more affordable. We’re working hard to make it easier and more convenient for our customers now and in the future.
On a typical work day a potential customer will call you for a quote to fix a break on his/her windshield. You can quote them and hope they agree to use your shop. Or you can inquire about their auto insurance coverage first. If they have comprehensive coverage most insurance companies will waive their deductible and pay 100% for the repair. The repair is FREE to them. Free is a pretty easy sell. Everyone likes free. With a simple phone call the insured can get the claim setup and assigned to your shop. You do the work and bill the insurance network handling the claim and your customer will appreciate the fact that you took the extra effort to save them money.
I mentioned before that most insurance companies offer to waive the deductible for a windshield repair. State Farm is one exception. They will only pay for a windshield repair if the deductible is $0. They will not waive a deductible as the other insurance companies will. So you should first find out if you’re talking to a State Farm customer before telling them they can get a free repair.
So there you have it, another great incentive for your customer to take care of their windshield problem sooner rather than later.
Ask windshield repair professionals about repairing long cracks and you’ll get a multitude of answers. Some will say emphatically “that long crack repair doesn’t work. Anything longer than 6 inches has to be replaced.” While others will tell you “I can repair a single running crack all the way across the windshield without a problem.” Well the truth is a single running crack can be repaired successfully all the way across the windshield if you like. Most will limit it to 2 to 3 feet. The reason is that a crack all the way across the windshield has usually been there for quite a while. And because a crack is open at the surface for 99% of its length, it has accumulated a fair amount of dirt that gets embedded into the crack. So why is that bad? Well after any windshield repair is performed, embedded dirt in the break is visible. More so on a long crack.
So how about long crack repair? Well with the proper equipment, resin and training, long crack repair can be a very profitable addition to your windshield repair service. The fact that not everyone performs this type of repair means it can be a specialty niche for your company making you stand out from all the rest. If you have any questions about adding long crack repair to your company, please contact us at 888-267-4800 and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Every windshield repair company relies on a number of different resins and supplies to make their operation successful. Here we will share some money saving tips to make your supplies last longer and go farther.
Resin – Surely the most expensive of your supplies and one you want to go as far as possible. Most windshield repair resins have a 1 to 2 year shelf life at room temperature. The resin in your vehicle is usually subject to temperatures much higher than that, especially during the hot summer months. Take approximately 1/4 ounce of resin with you in your vehicle and store the bulk of your resin in your temperature controlled shop. When working outdoors, keep your resin bottles closed until you are ready to dispense the resin into your injector or syringe. Try to shade the open bottle from direct sunlight so as not to expose the resin to the sun’s ultraviolet light. Continue reading