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By Jan Wagner - syndicated weekly columnist/photojournalist
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Windshield Repair

Have you ever noticed how those tiny little chips in your carís windshield sometimes turn into long cracks, which necessitate replacement of your windshield? I have. That process can be a real pain in the neck Ė and in the pocketbook too.

Windshield replacement is a fairly time-consuming and somewhat messy process. The old windshield seal gets cut away, to release the windshield. Since the old windshield is broken and thus weakened, the pressure placed upon it as it is removed can result in pieces of glass falling into your car. Then the new windshield has to be securely sealed into place. Hopefully that will work as well as the original factory seal, so that the new windshield will stay put and the seal will not leak water or air.

Even if you have an insurance policy that covers windshield replacement, you may have to pay a significant deductible. Then, after all of that, you might find that the end result is not quite as good as the original. For example, a fellow Miata owner just noticed that his rear view mirror no longer fits quite snugly on the windshield. All things considered, it stands to reason that if a chip in the windshield can be successfully repaired, that would be preferable to replacing the windshield.

My insurance company (Allstate) has a program whereby they will waive the deductible if policyholders get their windshield repaired. Iím sure it costs them significantly less money to do that than to pay their portion of a windshield replacement, so both parties win.

About a week ago I noticed that my Miata had a tiny chip in the windshield so I phoned Allstate to arrange to get it repaired. They recommended several companies that could do the work. One of those companies was Novus Windshield Repair.

Novusí literature says that in 1972 they ďinvented  a revolutionary process to repair damaged windshields.Ē Since then, according to their Web site (www.novusglass.com), they say that they have successfully repaired over 20,000,000 windshields worldwide.

I decided to give them a try. They made an appointment to come out to my home to do the repair the next morning.

As promised, they arrived at my home on time. The repair process involved boring out a tiny cavity, much like a dentist might do in preparation for filling a tooth.

Then a special resin was injected into the void and an ultraviolet light was used to cure the material. Soon the Novus technician was finished and on his way to his next appointment.

Beware of imitations. As Iíve learned first-hand, all windshield repair companies are not the same. I first experienced windshield repair at a large gas station and carwash complex. A mobile glass repair person was hanging around, asking customers if they needed any windshield repairs done. He said that the insurance companies would probably waive the deductible, so it would cost us nothing. At the time I had a chip in my carís windshield, so I called my insurance company to verify my coverage and then had the work done, right on the spot.

The repair looked good at first but the damage soon reappeared. The repair didnít cost me anything but the result was less than satisfactory. Iíll never know if the quality of the repair was to blame.

The next time you get a windshield chip, ask your insurance company if they have a no-deductible windshield repair program. Then ask if they use Novus Windshield Repair. You can also contact Novus directly at 1-800-77-NOVUS. They were on time, did the work quickly and were completely professional. Best of all, I cannot see any sign of the chip.

As always, please share your stories and send your comments to AutoMatters@gmail.com. Enjoy the archives and more at www.AutoMatters.net.  Drive safely and do join me again next time.

Copyright © 2006 Jan R. Wagner Ė #195 AutoMatters

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