Winter Auto Care Mistakes

Of all the things that can go wrong with our cars and trucks, on which we are so heavily dependent, the worst of them are the problems that could have been avoided with a little forethought and a little knowledge about how your automobile works.  Unfortunately, the average driver doesn’t consider the finer points of auto care until they have made a costly mistake.  So today we will address some of the common avoidable errors of wintertime that we see here at the shop.

The first tip we have to offer is never leave your windshield wipers on when you turn your car off.  This time of year we see a lot of drivers who have burned out their windshield wiper motor when the motor tried to turn wipers that were thoroughly frozen to the windshield.  In other cases the wipers remained stuck, but the wiper arms moved accordingly,  resulting in some pretty severe damage to the windshield, which required replacement.  No matter the conditions, we recommend making it a habit to turn them off when you get out.

And for the same reason you should always remove ice and snow from the windshield and the wipers before turning them on.  When there is six inches of snow on your car, please don’t turn your wipers on for a moment and then drive off.   The same goes for the side windows, where trying to move a frozen window can strip the cheap plastic parts that operate    Not only is it unsafe for you and other drivers, it could end up costing you a lot more in repairs than you ever thought a windshield wiper problem could.

And of course, have windshield chips and cracks addressed immediately to avoid further damage.  This is exceptionally important in the winter, since thermal expansion can cause the heated inner layer and the cold outer layer to push and pull against one another.  This type of pressure can turn a small repairable chip into a full windshield crack in the blink of an eye (or a bump of the road).

And remember, when the sever weather comes we are all just trying to stay on the road and get where we need to go.  Show some kindness for your fellow man and drive as safely as possible – You may just spare a life!

Safety First in Winter Windshield Replacement

Windshield replacement, and the need for it, is a fact of life – some damage just can’t be repaired.  Glass replacement in the winter can be trickier, but no matter the time of year that the damage occurs, putting off service is not a good idea.  But there are serious risks to driver and passengers when a windshield is installed outdoors in the winter, exposed to the cold and precipitation.

As anyone who lives in the Great Lakes area knows, our weather can be quite unpredictable.  With weather patterns that turn on a dime and squalls blowing in from potentially any direction, being the weatherman must be one of the most stressful jobs in Rochester.  And Ray Sands Glass has no desire to try it out.  We find it easier to keep to your scheduled appointment and our safety standards when we arrange for indoor service during the cold winter months.

The reason outdoor replacement can be such a safety risk is that weather and moisture can affect the ability of the adhesive to cure.  While the very top quality adhesives will still cure safely in cold weather, that just isn’t what everybody is using.  Some cheaper adhesives, known as standard cure, require temperatures of at least 50 degrees and 50% humidity to cure in the given safe drive away time.  Due to these factors, some “standard cure” products have been known to take up to four months to cure completely in the cold North East winter weather.  This is one of the prime examples of why we feel the cost of good products is absolutely worth the added safety value.

If any part of the car or glass isn’t properly prepared for installation or is exposed to moisture during the replacement due to unexpected weather, the new glass simply won’t adhere.  We have replaced several windshield in our shop that were removed from the car in one piece without the aid of tools.  When a technician can push the windshield out with his bare hands, it’s scary to think of what might have happened if that customer were in an accident before they made it to our shop.

Windshield replacement is a process where safety depends on the materials not getting wet during the installation – so ask yourself this question: Would you approve if you hired a repairman and he wanted to spend an hour working on your computer outside during the winter in Rochester?

Residential Film Protection in Winter Weather

Winter is often thought of as a break from the damaging summer sun, but in reality that isn’t at all the case.  While we certainly don’t feel the rays as much, the lower angle of the sun in the sky allows easier access through your windows and glass doors.  Winter sun actually causes greater damage to walls, artwork, rugs and furniture – especially since folks are more inclined to open up their shades and let the light in.  Fortunately, residential window film can protect your valuables from UV rays while still allowing natural light to illuminate your home.

With the beautiful snow this time of year (much more appealing than March snow) no one would admonish the desire to let that glow light up your home.  But that “snow glow” can have the same type of damaging effect as that of water reflection at a lake house – walls, moldings, and even ceilings are vulnerable to reflected UV corruption.  Since our Panorama films offer top of the line UV protection with high visible light transmission, UV protection doesn’t have to mean closing your blinds and turning on the lamp, or feeling like you live in a pair of sunglasses.

It may seem that you have already missed out on “residential tint season”, but that isn’t the case – most residential film products can be applied in winter weather.  But while it could theoretically work out just fine on those freezing days, we prefer to install when the temperature is above 30 degrees.  This isn’t just for the comfort of our installers (they are rather resilient) but because the film takes longer to cure in colder weather.

Window film also does it’s part in helping to keep out the cold on those blustery days.  One of the Panorama films in the Solar Gard line offers serious insulation value to your window glass as well as highly effective UV protection, helping you save in more ways than one.  This can be a extra benefit to areas like western New York where we tend to run our heat all winter and our air conditioner all summer, with only a  brief hiatus from the energy bills.

If  you have any questions about how residential window film can help protect your home, call our shop any time – we would be glad to help you figure out which film best suits your needs.

New York State’s Laws on Windshield Damage

Most people are aware that they can get a citation for driving with a damaged windshield, but most aren’t familiar with the parameters of the law and what makes a crack or break unacceptable.

Since the Commissioner’s Regulations focus on maintaining clear vision and not the structural integrity of the windshield, they are lenient on the size, but not so much on the location.  The regulation states that cracks longer than 11 inches or “star breaks” greater than 3 inches are not allowed IF any part of the crack is within the area cleared by the windshield wipers.  So technically, it is completely within the law to have your windshield cracked all the way from one side to the other across the bottom, as long as it is under the wipers.  Legal, but not necessarily safe.

But lenient size restrictions does not mean that you can have a ten inch crack directly in the driver’s line of vision.  A separate section of state law dictates that no vehicle may operate on the roadway with glass that is broken damaged or discolored so that the driver’s visibility is obstructed.  While this code is much more open to interpretation, it would certainly restrict damage that could be a distraction to the driver.

Even repairing damage that falls within the “acute area” ( the area directly in front of the driver) is frowned upon by state officials concerned with driver safety.   Since repair of even very small breaks can cause a perceptible imperfection in the glass which naturally draws the eye away from the road to focus on the blemish.

Think of the last road trip you took where an insect was smashed right in your line of vision.  How many moments were you focused on or aware of the blob of bug juice in front of you?  Each of those moments spent glancing at the bug carcass was a precious second in which you weren’t focused completely on navigating your surroundings – and sometimes a second is all it takes for an accident to happen.

Windshield damage can be just a distracting as a dead critter, if not more.  That’s why you should have a qualified professional help you decide on the best course of action in dealing with your windshield damage.

Keep Our Troops in Mind This Holiday Season

Veterans Day is the perfect time to remember and give thanks for the courageous men and women who are serving our country, those who have in the past, and those who lost their lives in doing so.  Fortunately, Canadaigua’s Blue Star Mothers offer an opportunity to make sure that your thankfulness conveys to the troops who are currently stationed overseas.   Throughout the year the Blue Star Mothers, with help from the community, send care packages containing some of the comforts of home for the servicemen who are so far from it.

Ray Sands Glass is proud to help support this organization, with your help we would like to make this holiday season a bit more comfortable for the men and women who followed the call of duty.  The BSM have composed a wish list of everyday items that have been requested by military personnel and we would be happy to accept donations of these items at any of our Western NY locations.

To show our thanks for those donating to a great cause we will be offering free windshield repair or Aquapel in exchange for donations to the Blue Star Mothers.  So if you have been postponing the repair of a small chip or crack, stop at the store and pick up a few of the non-crushable items from their wish list and bring them into the shop.  You will have done a good deed by making the holidays a little brighter for someone who misses their family and saved yourself from needing a replacement all at the same time.

Thank You Veterans!

You Used What as an Ice Scraper?!

We have seen some serious self inflicted windshield damage caused by customers who got got creative with improvised ice removal.  And we know that nobody likes paying to replace their windshield, but it’s all the more agonizing when it is damage that could have so easily been avoided.  Today we’ll give you some of the the good, the bad and the ugly that we have seen here at the shop.

The Good:  Honestly, the only thing we would recommend using to remove ice from your windshield is an ice scraper.   While this doesn’t help in a pinch, you should get one now and keep it in your vehicle, before you find yourself in a pickle.  Another preemptive strike you might make against the ice is an application of Aquapel, which would keep the ice from sticking so firmly in the first place.  But if you find yourself unprepared and facing in impossibly icy windshield, just be patient and run the defroster to melt the ice slowly – those few minutes aren’t likely to cost you more than a new windshield.

The Bad:  Upon searching the internet, we were surprised to find many sites that recommend using your credit card, which is actually a terrible idea.  We have replaced more than a few pieces of auto glass that were damaged by using a credit card as an improvised ice removal tool.  Not only could you cost yourself a replacement, but you might end up paying for it the old fashioned way, since the ice can destroy the magnetic strip on the card and render it unusable.

The Ugly: We have heard some pretty awful ideas for improvised ice scrapers from crushed soda cans and coffee cup lids to CDs and old license plates (ouch!).  We have even seen people who used a hammer to break the ice (and the windshield) or a screwdriver to chisel at it – all simply dreadful techniques for ice removal.

If you find yourself in and “iced over” situation without a scraper remember – just defrost to avoid the cost!

Can This Windshield Crack Be Repaired?

When it comes to cracks in a windshield the answer can be a bit trickier than when dealing with just a chip.   There are many widely differing opinions on the limits of windshield crack can be repair, but remember that safety should be the number one concern when considering the answers for yourself.  Anyone who has cut glass knows that the most common method for doing so is to etch the glass and then apply pressure – but how big of a crack would be safe in your windshield when under pressure?

While we generally would give the same size related answer – that if you can cover it with a quarter it can be repaired.   But even determining the size of a crack can be difficult, since we often find that the crack is much longer than it appears to the untrained eye. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.