When you have a broken car  window, the glass and the installation should be covered by a written warranty. How long that warranty coverage lasts and what it covers is important and warranties can vary from one installer to another.

Replacing broken Auto glass involves much more today than years ago when it was, well, just glass. Auto glass today performs many different functions, and damage to the glass can result in other systems like the  radio antennae and heating elements to malfunction. A cracked windshield is also a safety hazard that needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

Starting with the glass.

Auto Glass Replacement must comply with federal standards. All certified auto glass installers are required to use only glass that meets federal standards. Make sure your installer uses only OEM ( Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass, or an aftermarket replacement  that meets these standards.

A warranty should cover both the glass and the installation. This should cover water and wind leaks, cracking due to improper installation. In the case of rock chip repair the warranty should cover spreading of the chip or crack. Note that with windshield chip repair, there are many variables and most installers will not even attempt to repair a chip larger than a pinhead or one that affects both sides of the glass.

Warranty coverage varies, with 90 days being the average for a windshield replacement, chip repair or other glass repair. This is the minimum you should expect from a professional, certified installer. One nationwide chain offers a lifetime warranty, but there are limitations. The warranty obviously does not cover another incident resulting in glass damage. Other limitations involve the structure of the vehicle itself. In order for glass to be properly installed, the surrounding structure has to be sound. If there is rust in the framework around the glass, then the glass can either develop leaks, or stress cracks. A reputable repair shop should advise you if  there are other conditions on your vehicle preventing a proper installation, and let you decide if you want to proceed. Heavy rust damage on an older vehicle will probably prevent the installer from offering a warranty on the installation, and you should be informed of that.

Other things related to glass repair.

Modern auto glass performs many functions, and replacement glass has to perform these as well as the original. Radio antennae and  heating elements are two major items that are part of the windshield and rear window. Make sure the warranty covers these items, and for how long. Make sure that these systems were functional before the glass was damaged and tell that to the installer. These are things that need to be covered by a warranty because if the heating elements or antennae are defective, the job will have to be completely re done.

Window Opening Mechanisms

Damage to glass often extends to the window operating mechanisms, and these are complicated in modern vehicles. A window mechanism will be one of the areas a glass installer works on to replace the glass. Even if the initial incident that broke the glass did not damage the mechanism, an improper installation could. Be sure to ask your installer if the window mechanisms are covered by the warranty.

What to look for when you pick your car up.

Besides the obvious making sure the broken window is fixed, here is a brief checklist to go over before you leave the shop.

- Loose moldings.

look around the windshield and rear window-whichever was repaired, and look for loose or poorly aligned moldings.

- Paint damage.

Check the areas adjacent to the window for scratches or other damage that may have happened during the repair. This is something you should check before you bring your car into a shop to make sure that any damage was not pre existing.

-Water and wind leaks.

Wind leaks are easy to check as you can hear them. Water leaks will require a high pressure hose, or just a trip through the local car wash. These two checks will have to wait until you drive home but should be done as soon as possible

-Window mechanisms.

Test them to make sure windows open and close completely with no binding. Make sure when the window is closed that it stays in the track or flush to the car body.

- Electronics. Make sure the radio works, and that the window defogger works. This may also have to wait until you are home, or the next morning when there is dew on the glass.

A Clear View is a Safe View

The good news is that reputable auto glass installers are in most major cities and suburban areas. Many offer service at your home or office. The important thing is to have glass repairs done as soon as possible, and by a certified installer who offers a warranty. Get at least two estimates, and do not just pick the lowest price. Go to a certified installer.