If the job is properly done, not even a trained eye can see where the repairs have been done. Finally you can stop the spreading of the cracks just by taking control of the situation.
You will need to trust the word of the technician when they tell you that it is too far gone to fix. Long or spidered cracks that can cover the whole windshield cannot be fixed without destroying the integrity of the windshield. If you are able to receive the repair, follow it by waxing the glass for excellent water and rain removal and a smoother, non-squeaky windshield wiper experience.
If you don’t have chips and cracks it may be the scratches made by rogue windshield wiper blades. It’s awful when you’re driving in a downpour and suddenly, still several miles from home, the blade comes off of the wiper mechanism and your left with metal to glass slicing over and over and over again. The sound of it is something to make anyone who hears it grind their teeth. It’s a horrible screeching, slicing sound. Not even your radio turned up full blast can mask that awful sound. What can you do? You don’t want to get out and fix it because you would be completely drenched. You’ve been watching it for miles and realize that there is no way to reattach the blade as it ripped right off of the mechanism. So how do you fix the damage? Find a PDR technician. They will be able to apply some of the same methods to make those scratches go away. If the slicing is too deep because you have faithfully repeated this same routine with every rainstorm, meaning you never replaced the blade, you may have to replace the entire windshield. This is going to cost you so stay vigilant where it applies to your windshield and your safety.
It must be said while I have your attention, if you wait too long and the cracks get too long, they may not be able to be repaired. You need to be proactive and get them repaired when they are still just pock marks. It costs you almost nothing so why not?
In the eyes of the law, they see this as a hazard because the cracks and nicks could cause you the driver added glare and increase or add blind spots while driving. According to the law in almost every state, the windshield must be free of any imperfections caused by road debris as it will greatly impede visions and driver safety.
PDR Technicians have been around for the last ten plus years and offer this service as a aftermarket and additional service. You can find a technician most often at used car dealerships and some body shops. Usually, they come down to work for these businesses on a case by case bases. Sometimes you can find a full time Paintless Dent Repair technician at the used car lots that are professionally known for selling used cars that are approved by the manufacturer. If you don’t find one then call around to the different body shops to recommend one. True, you would think that body shops would be in direct competition with PDR technicians but even body shops have come around to understand how much good these technicians are for their business. It keeps the small jobs under control which would normally keep them behind with the bigger jobs.
A repaired windshield done professionally is just as safe as a new one and tends to look so much better. What happens with a windshield repair is that the technician squeezes acrylic resin into the blemish by a vacuum that seals out the air and moisture. Then it is exposed to the UV light that hardens the resin and it dries to perfect crystal clarity.
It’s almost unheard of in the general population. Unless you know someone who has had it done, you wouldn’t know the difference. Getting your windshield repaired is so much cheaper than getting it replaced. Most states, it’s against the law to drive around with chips in your windshield. You may have just come out of a surprise hailstorm and find that you have some small chips caused by it. You may even just choose to ignore it. If you don’t first get a ticket, the longer you wait to get this fixed the more your little chips will turn into spider veins down your windshield. They don’t heal themselves and worse, they don’t get any better. What you can count on is that they will spread like wildfire and even start connecting.
You may think that you have to replace the windshield and depending on the vehicle, this could cost you anywhere from $400 dollars on up. There’s no winning with windshields unless you know the secret. Your windshield can be repaired for as little as $25. Most times it can be fixed right where you work or at your home. There’s even more good news, your insurance may cover that small fee.
It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that it’s much more cost effective to get the windshield repaired and the insurance companies know this. It should also be easily understood that it costs a lot less than a ticket would too. If your windshield is bad enough, especially anywhere near the driver’s side, it’s more likely that the car will be impounded. Now you have the cost of replacing the windshield, the ticket and then the cost of getting your vehicle out of impound. Pretty expensive trip to the market.
Since Google began their self-driving venture, they used two different types of modified versions of pre-existing vehicles. For instance, the original fleet consisted of the Toyota Prius and since 2012, they have used modified versions of the Lexus RX 450h. With these vehicles they have been able to stringently test everything from mapping to software. They also have had to replace costly sensors which provide a 360-degree view of a car’s surroundings.
At first the vehicles started with a combination of off-the-shelf cameras and radar sensors, like the ones that automakers used for car features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking. Among these features is the spinning, roof-mounted laser turret, which Google gets from a Bay Area Technology Company or firm Velodyne Inc.
So what are some of the questions have you come up with since beginning this post series I wonder? Well hopefully some of them will be answered here.
At the core of all of the systems is a software cocktail of GPS and 3D maps that goes way beyond Google Earth or Google Street View. No less than 2,000 miles of roads at this intensified level of detail, these include everything from curb heights to lane markings and traffic lights. The questions answered are where am I? What’s around me? What will they do? What will I do? Pretty much the same questions a defensive driver would ask.
The first question is answered by the GPS and the 3D maps cocktail. The software is programmed to know what the world is expected to look like when it’s empty. It’s the job of the software to figure out how the world is different from that expectation.
It’s good to know though that we are beyond the guinea pig days of allowing humans to be the test of safety. The fully autonomous vehicle will not be offered until it is safe and ready to be on the road. Comforting.
With each step that Google takes with this project, shifting the control from driver to car, has long since been coming. Decades ago there were the automatic transmissions, power steering and cruise control are all such features that have been designed to intervene to prevent accidents. You could also include electronic stability control and automatic braking to the list.
America is not the only country exploring the autonomous car. Volvo, just recently, announced its own plans to put 100 self-driving cars on the public roads in its own hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden by the year 2017. Then there is Mercedes-Benz that just last year modified its S-class sedan and it drove 62 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany on both city and highway roads. Then there is Nissan that has thrown their hat into the circle and has pledged to have a fully autonomous car ready for deployment by 2020. Let’s not forget the recently and continuously plagued GM who intends to have its own autonomous vehicle ready for release by 2020. GM’s version has a feature called Super Cruise that can take control of the steering and pedals once the driver is set into a highway lane. I’ve got to be honest here, with GM’s recalls, I think there will be a tremendous trust issue here. I think that people will sooner drive a Google car before trusting GM.
Google executives, as you could imagine, are speaking with multiple automakers about the technology. They’re really thinking hard about the best way to deliver a product that makes driving safer and traffic jams less tedious. It is reported that Christopher Urmson, the director of the self-driving cars project, just recently said that “It has to be at a price point where the value to the customer exceeds the cost to the customer.” They are currently working towards that end.
The truth is, each year, more than 30,000 people die on US roads from accidents mostly caused by human error. Google’s objective has always been to create something fantastic that would change those numbers and prevent this from happening. It is expected that the autonomous cars will be one of the three biggest lifesavers in the history of auto safety. The other two are seat belts and electronic stability control.
Recently, Google drove dozens of journalists on 25 minute loops of Mountain View, during this time, the car successfully followed a present route with virtually no need for human intervention. That’s a pretty big feat if you ask me. Of course, Google was very clear about the fact that there are still big technological challenges ahead. These changes would include refining the maps and software that have allowed its vehicles to rack up more than 700,000 miles in autonomous mode since 2009. The two biggest hurdles still to come would be as you imagined, the blessing of the safety regulators and the trust of the public. Skepticism is a hard challenge to battle, but as I said earlier, our society has been groomed for this very thing and I am quite certain that in time, this too shall be embraced as the new norm.
So what is Google up to now? Most will not be surprised by the news of the self-driving vehicles, but the closer we get to a launch the more we should be adjusting our thinking. As I said, like it or not, change is coming and from my point of view just seems to be endless. People are smarter and have greater tools available to them. The more technology that affords us the medium to express our deep seeded inventions, the more those inventions will come to the forefront of our society. What used to be a far-fetched idea is now considered ambitious and exciting. People are open to these crazy ideas and can now see the big picture. No longer is it normal to say “that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. It’s expected that the next big great invention is just around the corner and so are ready to get on board. Society has been slowly groomed for these changes and welcomes them with eyes and arms wide open.
So back to Google. As of today, Google’s self-driving car has not been tested in the snow, is easily confused by parking lots and does not know how to, or understand how to, read hand signals given by traffic cops in an intersection. While Google’s self-driving car has all the bells and whistles that we would expect, it still needs some additional programming. The car has its cameras, lasers and sensors, but still can’t do the things that we humans can do.
You have to wonder, with Google seeing their goal to happen within the next five years, and with them now looking at the next phase past the programming, what types of bodies will they use for these cars? It seems only logical that they would follow in the steps of the aluminum vehicles and make their additional statement with those.
As of late, there has been head spinning changes that are going to affect our PDR Technician business and the entire collision repair industry. How to cope with those changes depends on whether you embrace them or hide from them. With the upcoming 2015 Ford F-150 and its aluminum body and frame redesign, comes a lot of confusion as to how this will require new training, new tools and even new facilities or the addition of new facilities. Just the other day I heard a body shop owner say that he’s just waiting for the whole thing to blow over and get back to the “work as usual” existence. I tried to explain that this is not just a fly by idea but that it is in fact a reality and one that he is going to have to come to terms with. If not, I fear that he and others like him will be left in the dark and will be spending more time sending away potential work to a body shop that did get on board.
Like it or not, change is happening and to that point I thought I would share with you the changes that are still down the road. Be warned, it’s a very short road so as this information pertains to you and your business, keep up with industry changes and let no news be considered ridiculous. Businesses with a great deal of money to spend, such as Google, are not far from creating new technology that could affect how you earn money and how to adjust your marketing strategies and training to be prepared for these inevitable changes.
You can find this type of unscrupulous behavior during hailstorm season. We’ve all seen them, set up on some corner with a big sign announcing their very, very cheap services for damage repair. They undercut surrounding businesses and then head to the next city in damage. Customer’s get cheap services and therefore get cheap work which puts our industry in an unsightly way once the customer realizes that the repairs are sub-par.
As a result, our industry has been divided, which was probably the intention from the beginning. As it is now, if you are not a DRP for these insurance companies, not only are you not on their preferred list but they will have successfully destroyed your reputation with those in your city outside of the insurance three ring circus. Word of mouth travels fast and insurance companies will take no hesitation in sharing that your establishment is not recommended.
This new House Bill will mean the following:
It prohibits insurers from requiring a claimant on an automobile insurance policy to have the claimant’s vehicle repaired at a particular repair shop or by a particular person.
It also prohibits insurers from recommending or suggesting that repairs of the claimant’s vehicle be completed at a particular repair shop or by a particular person unless the claimant requests such a recommendation or suggestion.
Any insurance company that violates this section will qualify as an unfair and deceptive act or practice in the business of insurance. Bottom line? Please don’t be one of these businesses that go along with this and please push for the same type of Bill in your State. The Collision Repair industry must stand united. We must work together not against one another. 285