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A Cracked or Improperly Installed Windshield is Dangerous
AAA wants to inform members that that General Motors Corporation has issued a recall on the glass used in certain 2007 Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac Torrent models. Reportedly, an incorrect primer may have been used when the windshields were installed at the factory. That same primer also may have been applied to the liftgate glass and the stationary sidelites.

Don’t put your safety at risk
Unless you own one of these vehicles, you might ask, “why is this important to me?” Well, did you know the windshield of your automobile is a safety device, like air bags and safety belts? It’s true. Besides the obvious role of protecting occupants from wind, water and debris, your car’s windshield can help save your life, and the lives of your passengers, by ensuring you are not thrown from the vehicle in a collision. Windshields also play a critical role in front passenger airbag deployment on many cars. And, the windshield (and rear window) helps support the roof of the vehicle in a rollover so you and your passengers will not be crushed.

Regular check-ups keep you safe
Some windshield damage may not be noticed immediately. That’s why AAA thinks it’s important to regularly check your windshield, and all of the vehicle’s glass, for any problems. You can use the following simple steps to inspect your car, or seek the assistance of a certified technician:

  • Check the entire windshield, inside and out, for chips and cracks. Minor chips and very small cracks may be repairable, provided they are outside the driver’s primary line of sight. Any significant cracks or damage will require windshield replacement.
  • Check around the edge of the glass for damage to the surrounding body work. Any problems that affect the seal of the glass to the body can weaken structural integrity and should be repaired.
  • Check the windshield wipers to make sure the rubber blades are soft and pliable. Hard, brittle or damaged blades can break and allow the metal wiper arm to scratch the glass.

Avoid Cut-Rate Auto Glass Replacement
If you determine that your windshield needs to be replaced, AAA wants you to remember that you get what you pay for. The lowest possible price should not be a primary consideration when having a windshield replaced. Instead, look for a top-quality professional installation that will maintain the structural integrity and other safety features built into your vehicle at the factory.

Many auto glass companies perform quality windshield repair and replacement. Unfortunately, there are also some that do not. AAA operates and approves auto glass businesses in some areas, but regardless of who does the work, asking the right questions can greatly increase your odds of obtaining a professional installation.

Ask the service providers if they:

  • Have National Glass Association (NGA) certified technicians
  • Endorse and adhere to the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS)
  • Use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) quality glass for replacement
  • Use the manufacturers recommended urethane adhesives

During the installation, watch to see if the technician:

  • Checks for a front passenger side air bag and, if present, uses a urethane rated for that type of installation
  • Removes the old windshield sealant, leaving approximately 1/16" of bonding surface
  • Wears latex or nitrile gloves to avoid contaminating the bonding surfaces
  • Cleans and primes both the glass and vehicle body in those areas where the urethane adhesive makes contact.

After the installation is complete, inspect the work carefully. You don’t need to be an auto glass expert to identify some signs of improper installation. From outside the vehicle:

  • Check to see if the windshield is perfectly centered on the car. The distance between the left side and the right side of the windshield and the auto body should be the same.
  • Check to make sure the glass is flush with the vehicle body.
  • Inspect the molding around the circumference of the windshield. There should be no visible gaps, and the molding should lie flat and even -- not look like a roller coaster.

Remember, the windshield does more than just keep out wind, water, and bugs; it helps keep you and your passengers safe in a collision. If you are seeking a qualified facility to repair or replace your windshield, one with NGA certified technicians, OEM quality replacement glass and adhesives, and convenient mobile service at home or work, visit, the Web site of the Coalition for Auto Glass Safety and Public Awareness (CASPA).