Those who enter the auto glass business must understand that they have a responsibility to keep the customers’ well-being in mind. A glass shop can be sued for damages and/or medical costs incurred if it can be proved that an injury was the result of an improper installation. A typical auto glass shop owner protects himself financially with a liability insurance policy. However, liability lawsuits related to improper auto glass replacement can result in damages in the $6-$8,000,000 range or higher, far more than the amount of a typical small business policy. Any award over and above the amount of the insurance policy is the responsibility of the business owner. This can result in a bankruptcy or a portion of future earnings are put aside to pay the judgment.
The best way to protect against liability suits is to practice proper auto glass installation, every time. A proper auto glass installation consists of specific steps and tasks that are even more detailed. Each task has variables, depending on weather, condition of the vehicle, and the products being used.
This module is designed to inform you of the various standards and regulations used to regulate the auto glass replacement industry. We will cover:
- Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
- NHTSA Act of 1966
- The Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard (AGRSS)
The objectives for this course are as follows:
- List of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that pertained to auto glass installation.
- Understand how Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards apply to the auto glass industry.
- Know the responsibility put upon the auto glass industry, by the NHTSA Act of 1966.
- Understand the key points of the ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS 004-2018.
- Be aware of the risk upon the modern auto glass replacement facility.
- Know the key points to reducing liability risk.
In the chapter “The Wind Shield”, we learned about the history and the role auto glass played in the design of the motor vehicle. Prior to 1973, the role of auto glass was primarily relegated to the protection of the occupants from flying projectiles from the roadway. After 1973, the goal of the vehicle designers was that of fuel economy. Engineers downsized the vehicle, incorporated more aerodynamic design, and used more glass to reduce drag. For the most part this was quite successful. Vehicles were getting more and more fuel-efficient as new designs were introduced into the market- place. However, consumers nationwide voiced one concern, “Is this vehicle safe?” The American public was used to large, heavy vehicles that gave them sense of security. The smaller lighter weight vehicles worried many concerned citizens for their safety and that of their family.
Automobiles today is the safest vehicles ever put on the road. Utilizing Unibody construction, today’s vehicles make use of crush zones to protect the occupants from injury due to crashes. Put together properly, a unibody design creates a rigid protective shell that sacrifices itself for the sake of the occupant’s safety. The hood is designed to fold in the middle and stop at the firewall. The engine is designed to drop and move underneath the car. The engine compartment crushes up against the firewall but does not penetrate the occupant compartment. In the rear, the trunk lid and rear quarter panels crush up to the back of the rear seat. The reinforced sides are designed to withstand minor impact and resist penetration into the passenger compartment. These crush zones absorb the energy of the impact so that the occupants do not, improving the odds against serious injury.
The glass is a panel, just like a fender or quarter panel, only transparent. It needs to interact with the other panels of the vehicle for structural integrity. The proper installations of the glass to these other panels are imperative for predictable crash dynamics. The glass also contributes to the proper performance of other safety devices, which we will discuss later.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
To ensure that safety was manufactured in every automobile sold in the United States, the federal government imposes Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). FMVSS apply to all parts of the automobile from bumper-to-bumper. Every time a safety concern is voiced, and/or injury is incurred, the federal government through the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA), issues a safety standard to address the problem.
Seven motor vehicle safety standards apply, either directly or indirectly, to the auto glass industry. These standards are:
|FMVSS 111||FMVSS 212|
|FMVSS 118||FMVSS 214|
|FMVSS 205||FMVSS 216a|
|FMVSS 208||FMVSS 226|
Though, FMVSSs govern the vehicle manufacturers, the aftermarket auto glass industry must con- sider the following standards in their installation practices.
This standard governs the outside rearview mirrors, namely, the passenger side mirrors. The passenger side mirror must be convex, and it must have the words, “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear” permanently etched in the glass.
This standard addresses the safety issues caused by motorized panels installed in a vehicle. These can include doors, hatches, and mechanized door windows. The importance of the safety standard is when the panel is automatically operated with one touch of the controls. If an occupant activates the switch and then is caught by the panel injuries can occur. The safety standard requires that the panel has a built-in reverse which is activated by the restriction of panel’s travel.
This standard governs the way automotive safety glass is manufactured. Windshields must be laminated glass and have .030 inches lamination thickness. It also requires 70% light transmittance in the windshield and front seat side glass. From the “B” pillar back the glass can be a dark tint or of a privacy type. These safety features are defined by an ANSI Standard called ANSI Z26.1.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 refers to all passive restraint systems used in the vehicle. This includes power positioning shoulder harnesses and airbags but does not include seatbelts. The term “Passive Restraint.” means that the occupant need not do anything physically to activate a restraint. Most seatbelts require an act of the occupants to restrain themselves.
This standard governs the windshield retention to the body. The vehicle being tested is run into a fixed barrier at 30 mph with two 95th percentile dummies in the front seats. 75% of the periphery of the windshield must stay attached to the vehicle body if the vehicle is not equipped with a passive restraint system and 50% must be adhered if the vehicle is equipped with passive restraints. The measurement is made on each side of the windshield divided by a vertical centerline.
The side impact collision is one of the most common accident on urban roadways. This Standard regulates how the vehicle performs in providing safety to occupants when involved with this type of collision. Since the development and installation of side impact bags in doors and seats, the Auto Replacement Glass (ARG) market must be aware of the operation, disabling, enabling and, in some cases, installation of the airbag in relation to the door glass.
This standard is sometimes called the “rollover” test, although actually, it is a roof crush test. A device that applies the pressure of between 1 1/2 to 3 times the weights of the vehicle, crushes the roof. The roof cannot crush more than 5 inches or apply more than 50 lbs. of force to the head of two 50th percentile dummies or the vehicle fails the test and adjustments must be made to the design. In new vehicle designs, the pillars that support the roof were reduced in gauge for the sake of weight. In many vehicles, the windshield contributes to the roof structure, and in some cases, can contribute up to 30%.
This standard is named “Ejection Mitigation”. It refers to the side parts of the modern vehicle. It regulates the use of glass parts on the side of the vehicle to reduce the ejection of occupants. It describes a test by which a test dummy contacts glass parts, and then regulates what the results must be.
Although automotive glass is not mentioned in some of the standards, automotive designers factor in the glass parts as a structural part of the vehicle. The glass will contribute to the crash worthiness of the vehicle by design.
The following is an example of motor vehicle safety standard 212. If you wish to do further re- search on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, visit the following web sites for quick reference.
For a more an actual copy of the FMVSS look to this website for listings and details.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 571.212
§ 571.212 Standard No. 212; Windshield mounting.
S1. Scope. This standard establishes windshield retention requirements for motor vehicles during crashes.
S2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to reduce crash injuries and fatalities by providing for retention of the vehicle windshield during a crash, thereby utilizing fully the penetration resistance and injury-avoidance properties of the windshield glazing material and preventing the ejection of occupants from the vehicle.
S3. Application. This standard applies to passenger cars, and to multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses having a gross vehicle weight rating of 4536 kilograms or less. However, it does not apply to forward control vehicles, walk-in van-type vehicles, or to open body type vehicles with fold-down or removable windshields.
S4. Definition. Passive restraint system means a system meeting the occupant crash protection requirements of S5. Of Standard No. 208 by means that require no action by vehicle occupants.
S5. Requirements. When the vehicle traveling longitudinally forward at any speed up to and including 48 kilometers per hour impacts a fixed collision barrier that is perpendicular to the line of travel of the vehicle, under the conditions of S6, the windshield mounting of the vehicle shall retain not less than the minimum portion of the windshield periphery specified in S5.1 and S5.2.
S5.1 Vehicles equipped with passive restraints.
Vehicles equipped with passive restraint systems shall retain not less than 50 percent of the portion of the windshield periphery on each side of the vehicle longitudinal centerline.
S5.2 Vehicles not equipped with passive restraints. Vehicles not equipped with passive restraint systems shall retain not less than 75 percent of the windshield periphery.
S6. Test conditions. The requirements of S5. shall be met under the following conditions:
S6.1 The vehicle, including test devices and instrumentation, is loaded as follows:
(a) Except as specified in S6.2, a passenger car is loaded to its unloaded vehicle weight plus its cargo and luggage capacity weight, secured in the luggage area, plus a 50th-percentile test dummy as specified in part 572 of this chapter at each front outboard designated seating position and at any other position whose protection system is required to be tested by a dummy under the provisions of Standard No. 208. Each dummy is restrained only by means that are installed for protection at its seating position.
(b) Except as specified in S6.2, a multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck or bus is loaded to its unloaded vehicle weight, plus 136 kilograms or its rated cargo and luggage capacity, whichever is less, secured to the vehicle, plus a 50th-percentile test dummy as specified in part 572 of this chapter at each front outboard designated seating position and at any other position whose protection system is required to be tested by a dummy under the provisions of Standard No. 208. Each dummy is restrained only by means that are installed for protection at its seating position. The load is distributed so that the weight on each axle as measured at the tire-ground interface is in proportion to its GAWR. If the weight on any axle when the vehicle is loaded to its unloaded vehicle weight plus dummy weight exceeds the axle’s proportional share of the test weight, the remaining weight is placed so that the weight on that axle remains the same. For the purposes of this section, unloaded vehicle weight does not include the weight of work-performing accessories. Vehicles are tested to a maximum unloaded vehicle weight of 2,495 kilograms.
S6.2 The fuel tank is filled to any level from 90 to 95 percent of capacity.
S6.3 The parking brake is disengaged and the transmission is in neutral.
S6.4 Tires are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.
S6.5 The windshield mounting material and all vehicle components in direct contact with the mounting material are at any temperature between ¥9 degrees Celsius and +43 degrees Celsius.
[41 FR 36494, Aug. 30, 1976, as amended at 42 FR 34289, July 5, 1977; 45 FR 22046, Apr. 3, 1980; 60 FR 13647, Mar. 14, 1995]
NHTSA Act of 1966
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are directed to vehicle manufacturers, but do they apply to the aftermarket? The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, understanding that there was a need for continued safety on the highway after the vehicle is sold, proposed an act to Congress in 1966. The key point of this act is to restrict automobile repair facilities from rendering mandated safety devices from being removed or made inoperative.
The following is the actual paragraph, taken from a January 1989 revision to National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. The key points of the paragraph are bolded and underlined. To paraphrase the paragraph, “no repair facility shall render a safety device inoperative.”
NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT OF 1966
JANUARY 1989 REVISION
Title I– Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
§ 30122. Making safety devices and elements inoperative
(b) Prohibition.–A manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or motor vehicle repair business may not knowingly make inoperative any part of a device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in compliance with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this chapter unless the manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or repair business reasonably believes the vehicle or equipment will not be used (except for testing or a similar purpose during maintenance or repair) when the device or element is inoperative.
To further research this safety act, check on the following web site for updates and further information.
ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS 004-2018 Standard
Between 1973 and 2002, all litigation concerning improper auto glass installation used the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Act of 1966 as evidence. Late in the 1990s, a group of industry professionals felt that there was a need for even a higher standard for our industry. This organization was known as AGRSS Council. AGRSS is an acronym for Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standard. The AGRSS Council enlisted the help of industry professionals nationwide ranging from vehicle manufacturers to auto glass technicians, and used the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to help develop the standard.
The new benchmark of quality was published for the first time in 2002 as the AGRSS/ANSI 002-2002 Standard. The scope of the standard is “An automotive glass replacement safety standard addressing procedures, education and product performance for motor vehicles falling within the guidelines of FMVSS 212/208.” The purpose of the standard was to raise the bar for quality and competent auto glass replacement. The AGRSS standard is a “living” document, meaning that the content is ever changing. The title will change along with the content. The automobile industry changes yearly with new designs, new technology and new methods in auto glass mounting. To stay abreast of these changes, our industry needed a standard that could change with the times. The AGRSS Council, now called the Auto Glass Safety Council, meets regularly to review the standard for content and address concerns of the industry about interpretation. The current Standard is entitled the ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS 004-2018. The “004” is the version number and the “2018” is the year the standard was updated. This will change when new versions are submitted for approval by ANSI.
The AGRSS standard is divided in into nine sections.
- Scope and Purpose.
- Normative References
- Definitions and Acronyms.
- Vehicle Assessment Before Replacement
- Selection of Glass and Retention Systems
- Installation Standards-Adhesive Bonded
- Installation Standards-Rubber Gasket.
- Additional Requirements.
Key Points of the Standard
4. Vehicle Assessment before Replacement
4.1 Any discovered condition(s) on the vehicle could compromise the vehicle’s retention system, the technician shall not undertake or complete the installation. The owner/operator then shall be so notified verbally and in writing.
This means that if the vehicle is compromised due to corrosion or deformity, the installation cannot proceed without correction to the compromised condition. If the vehicle is corroded to such a condition that the technician cannot repair it, it will be necessary to take the vehicle to a body shop for repair. If the severe condition was not noticed prior to the glass removal, the vehicle must be towed to a repair facility.
4.2 The vehicle has an ADAS which could require recalibration after any automotive glass replacement, and the technician chooses not to follow the guidelines in 8.9, the technician shall not undertake or complete the installation…
This refers to the vehicles that have the ADAS feature. If a technician or company cannot or chooses not to participate in the recalibration of an ADAS feature, then that technician or company shall not proceed with the auto glass replacement.
4.3 The following are exempt from the requirements of 4.1 and 4.2: egress applications, antique/classic or collector vehicle (as defined by the state in which it is licensed) restorations, or cases in which the requirements of this Standard conflict with current vehicle manufacturer specifications.
This section refers to vehicles with specialized licensing requirements of a state. Can be exempt from the two other sections of the standard.
5. Selection of Glass and Retention Systems
5.2 Those engaged in automotive glass replacement shall use glass products meeting the requirements of ANSI Z26.l as required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 205.
ANSI Z26.1 details specific auto glass performance tests that meet FMVSS 205. It is required by the AGRSS standard that all glass installed in automobiles in United States meet the ANSI Z26.1 requirement. All auto glass manufacturers/fabricators producing parts for use in the United States are required to submit their products to these performance tests. When these manufacturers/fabricators submit the data to prove compliance with FMVSS 205, they are issued a Department of Transportation (DOT) number. The DOT number must then be emblazoned on every auto glass part produced. No other glass manufacturer/fabricator can use another’s DOT number.
5.3 Those engaged in automotive glass replacement must use either an OEM approved retention system or equivalent retention system as certified in writing by the equivalent retention system manufacturer directly or through a private labeler.
This part of the standard requires that the adhesive used by an auto glass technician must meet or exceed the original equipment manufacturers’ (OEM) standards for strength and durability and must be certified as such in writing.
6. Installation Standards – Adhesive Bonded
6.1 Those engaged in automotive glass replacement shall follow the adhesive manufacturer’s application instructions as provided by the manufacturer directly, or through the private labeler…
It is required by the standard that all auto glass technicians follow the adhesive manufactures’ instructions for application and follow it to the letter. There will be no deviation from the instructions, unless the adhesive manufacturer approves the change in writing.
6.5 Adhesive must be applied so that the finished bead cross section profile and dimensions meet or exceed original equipment configuration…
The auto glass technician is required to replicate the original urethane bead as close as possible to the OEM. This means in height, width, and configuration.
6.6 If the OEM installation was polyurethane, then the glass must be replaced with polyurethane or an equivalent adhesive bonding system. If the OEM installation was butyl, polysulfide, or other non-polyurethane, and the vehicle is licensed for highway use, adhesive bonded stationary glass installations shall be performed using polyurethane or an equivalent retention system unless in conflict with current OEM specifications.
This states that all auto glass replaced in vehicles licensed for highway use must be installed with polyurethane. The only exception would be if the OEM manufacturer forbids the use of polyurethane due to structural design.
6.7 All adhesive system component lot numbers must be traceable to each job.
6.8 All glass parts must be traceable to the installation by a DOT number and part number.
These two points of the standard require that all parts and materials, (glass, adhesives, and primers), related to the structural integrity of the installation, be traceable to the vehicle and invoice.
6.12 When those engaged in automotive glass replacement correct inappropriate glass installations, they shall remove any inappropriate materials that would compromise the retention system. They shall fully correct any adverse glass installation related condition(s) caused by the use of inappropriate materials or methods, and they shall use appropriate methods…
It is required of the auto glass technician that all improperly installed auto glass be corrected to OEM specifications to the best of his or her ability. If the glass was improperly bonded, it is to be corrected. If the glass mounting was changed by a prior installation, it is to be restored to OEM specifications.
6.14 Only the full cut method should be used for polyurethane retention systems.
The full cut method of installation requires the removal of most of the original bead of urethane from the pinchweld. All that is left on the pinchweld is approximately 1 to 2 mm of the existing bead. This is the only accepted method by both vehicle manufacturers and adhesive manufactures for proper auto glass bonding.
7. Installation Standards – Rubber Gasket
7.1 If the OEM utilizes the combination of a rubber gasket and polyurethane as a retention system, an equivalent adhesive bonding system must be used in the installation. In cases when the OEM didn’t include polyurethane or an equivalent adhesive system, such systems shall be used if later production models included the addition of adhesive systems without body style modification.
7.2 If the OEM gasket installation did not include adhesive and the vehicle is licensed for highway use and is less than 10,000 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), the installation shall include polyurethane or an equivalent adhesive bonding system. The following are permissible exceptions: egress applications, antique or classic vehicle restorations, or in cases in which this practice conflicts with current vehicle manufacturer specifications.
These two points of the standard are somewhat related. Simply stated, an auto glass technician should always use urethane for bonding and sealing purposes if the vehicle is licensed for highway use. However, there are exceptions to these points.
- Egress applications (exit or emergency doors).
- Antique restorations.
- Customer requests, after informed of safety implications.
- Practice conflicts with OEM specifications.
8. Additional Requirements
8.2 Glass parts, including custom cut parts, must be marked in compliance with the certification requirements specified in FMVSS 205 and the marking requirements of ANSI Z26.1 incorporated by reference therein for those vehicles licensed for highway use.
If a vehicle is licensed for highway use, a monogram must be applied to the fabricated part, indicating that the glass used in fabrication is considered automotive safety glass. The parts must be marked with the American Standard designations (AS) for that glass part.
8.4 Whenever OEM retention systems are modified on later production models without body style modification, the most current retention system shall be used in the replacement unless otherwise specified by the OEM.
This point of the standard requires that an auto glass technician upgrade a vehicle from a prior adhesive system to the most current adhesive system.
8.9 If the vehicle has an ADAS, it may require recalibration after any automotive glass replacement. Those engaged in automotive glass replacement who elect to provide recalibration services may only complete the recalibration if they obtain and use proper equipment, by trained personnel and provide the outcome of the recalibration to the owner/operator. If these conditions cannot be met, or if the automotive glass installer does not provide recalibration services, the owner/operator shall be advised prior to and at the completion of the installation, that:
1) The vehicle has an ADAS;
2) After automotive glass replacement, the vehicle may require the recalibration of the ADAS;
3) The replacement glass installer will not recalibrate the ADAS;
4) There are locations where recalibration may be obtained;
5) The replacement glass installer is not responsible for the selection of any recalibration location.
This part of the Standard is referenced in the above 4.2 section of the Vehicle Assessment. It gives the technician or company the decision points necessary to comply with the standard in regard to the ADAS feature of the vehicle being worked on.
9.1 Technicians installing replacement automotive glass shall be fully qualified for the tasks they are required to perform. Such qualifications shall include, at a minimum, completion of a comprehensive training program with a final exam and an ongoing education component. The program shall include, among other things:
- AGR safety issues.
- An understanding of OEM installation standards and procedures.
- Relevant technical specifications.
- Adhesive System Manufacturer specific comprehensive retention system training.
- The opportunity to apply and demonstrate the skills technicians learn.
An auto glass professional must be trained in the profession of auto glass replacement. A technician should also pursue continuing education.
To get your current copy of the ANSI/AGSC/AGRSS standard, visit the AGSC web site at: www.agsc.org
Most consumers do not realize the importance that correct installation of the windshield and other auto glass parts plays in the safety of their vehicle’s occupants. However, it is the responsibility of every professional in the auto glass replacement industry to provide continuing education to the consumer at large. The consumer has a right to know the ramifications and the dangers involved with an improperly installed auto glass part.
Over the past few years, there have been a number of media programs highlighting the dangers of improper auto glass installation to the consumer. One of the first programs to feature auto glass installation, as a possible problem to consumer safety was a Canadian television newsmagazine called, “Marketplace”. A year or two later, ABC’s 20\20 featured a program telling the story of two vehicle accidents. One of the accidents, in Wisconsin, caused the death of a young woman after she was thrown from the vehicle when the windshield failed. The other accident, in California, featured a mother of two made a quadriplegic from the roof crushing in a rollover accident. The windshield in her minivan contributed to the structural integrity of the roof. When the windshield bond failed, the roof was crushed, causing the woman’s neck to break.
These television programs may be an indicator of a bigger problem. The aftermarket replacement glass industry is not regulated in any way. And up until recently, we did not even have standards by which to practice our trade. Some estimates speculate that 70% of the aftermarket glass installed in this country is done incorrectly. This is not hard to believe considering the complex steps and tasks the auto glass professional must complete on every installation. If one of the steps or one of the tasks were forgotten or completed incorrectly, the bond could easily fail, thus causing injury or even death.
The consumer may not know the difference between a good installation and a bad one. But the auto glass professional must learn and practice proper auto glass installation procedures to properly protect our customers.
Historically, the ARG industry has not been as susceptible to litigation as some occupations, such as the medical field. However, due to the important role that auto glass plays in the structural integrity of current vehicles, and due to increasing regulation of the industry, litigations have increased. The following are lawsuits that have received fairly widespread publicity, both internally within our industry and nationally through the news magazines mentioned above.
George Miller v. Solaglas California,Inc
George Miller, versus Solaglas California Inc. was the first recorded auto glass litigation case. It involved a 1980 Chevrolet pickup truck (DW 848) collision at an intersection. The auto glass technician failed to bond the glass to the gasket, and the glass evacuated its opening. Mr. Miller claimed to have flown through the windshield opening causing him to become a quadriplegic. The verdict in the case found in favor of Solaglas California, however, the jury found that Solaglas California was negligent. The jury found that the plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the defendant’s negligence.
Rhyne v. Windshields America
The Rhyne case was featured on ABC’s 20/20. Mrs. Rhyne was driving her Ford minivan on wet pavement when she lost control and rolled the vehicle. The windshield popped out, allowing the roof to crush, breaking Mrs. Rhyne’s neck. Mrs. Rhyne became a quadriplegic due to her injuries, and later passed away from complications of her injuries.
The other featured incident in the ABC’s 20/20 program was the Fransway’s case. This involved a young woman being thrown from the windshield opening after a single vehicle accident. The young woman’s brother, a State Farm insurance agent, did not bring this case to court. He chose rather to present his case to our industry in the form of an awareness program. He traveled to industry trade shows, as an individual preaching proper auto glass installation. Through his efforts our industry was made aware of their shortcomings.
As mentioned above, litigations in our industry should give us pause to consider our actions as an auto glass professional.
Reducing Your Risk
When you enter the auto glass business, you must be prepared for liability. However, if you follow the five steps below and make sure your employees follow them as well, you will greatly reduce your risk of paying out large rewards.
- Follow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Follow adhesive manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Prepare the vehicle for bonding.
- Document everything concerning the installation
- Give instructions to the customers.
Follow Vehicle Manufacturer’s Recommendations.
The most difficult part about following vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, is finding them. Usually vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations can be obtained by looking in the vehicle’s service manual. Build a relationship with all the automobile dealers in your area. Ask your dealer for the body shop service manual and turn to the glass section of the manual. It will give you information that will be of interest. The other option is the subscription to a service that offers carmakers’ manuals. There are a number of these services that you can choose from.
- Type of urethane required (high modulus/nonconductive).
- Adhesive bead dimensions (height, width).
- The torque of fasteners (wiper retaining nuts).
- Removal and attachment of glass mounted parts.
- Other special considerations (airbag disabling).
There are some items in the service manual that you need not concern yourself with.
- Tools for removal.
- Part removal (headliners, garnish moldings, dashboards).
Once you obtain and familiarize yourself with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, it is your responsibility to follow those recommendations. If you choose to deviate from the recommendations given by the vehicle manufacturers, you assume all of the liability related to that installation.
Follow Adhesive Manufacturer’s Recommendations.
Adhesive manufacturers know more about their chemicals and adhesives than the vehicle manufacturers. There have been times when recommendations by vehicle manufacturers on the use of adhesives conflict or are out-of-date with the recommendations of the adhesive producers. It is imperative that the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions are followed to the letter. The performance features manufactured into the adhesives and primers are designed by the chemists that developed them and not by the people who use them.
Most adhesive manufacturers employ representatives to educate and inform the industry on the proper use of their products. They may also have a website or app, which can be used to obtain technical data and proper instruction for their products. It is important for the auto glass professional to develop a relationship with these representatives or frequently check the website or app so current up-to-date information can be obtained.
There are five major manufacturers of automotive grade urethane in the United States, and a number of private labeled urethanes. The five major manufacturers of automotive grade urethane are,
- Dupont (formerly Dow).
- Sika, USA
- OE Tech
Various distributors around the country sell their private labeled urethanes as well. The urethanes are usually a good price point but may not meet the requirements of the AGRSS standard. Make sure that all technical data sheets are obtained and reviewed for compliance. Then file the most current point of sale literature or document for reference and liability protection.
No matter which urethane brand is chosen, all of the suppliers have written instructions on proper use of their products. If the instructions do not cover a particular installation procedure, it is your responsibility to obtain the instructions from the adhesive manufacturer or their representative. It is also a good idea to have those instructions in writing to protect you from possible litigation. If you choose to deviate from the instructions given you by the adhesive manufacturers, you assume the liability.
Prepare the Vehicle for Bonding
Vehicle and adhesive manufacturers operate under the assumption that the vehicle being worked on is in “like new” condition. Unfortunately, most vehicles you will encounter in the aftermarket have been exposed to road and weather conditions over its lifetime. These road and weather conditions can change the procedures necessary for proper installation. The auto glass professional recognizes these variables and adjusts his installation procedures accordingly. Some of these variables can include;
- Aftermarket paint.
- Paint delamination.
- Dust and dirt.
- Foreign material.
- Improper prior installation.
- Body deformity.
In all of the cases above, the technician must prepare the bonding surfaces for acceptance of the bonding materials. And in some cases, this may require the assistance of a dealership or body shop. Failure to deal with the variables can lead to an improper bond and possibly injury to the occupants.
Document Everything Concerning the Installation.
If you ask an attorney, “What can I do to protect myself in the event of litigation?” His answer will be “document everything. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist”. Documentation supports the statements made in a civil suit. There is no other way that you can prove what materials you used, what glass was installed, who installed it, and when it was installed. Most of the needed information is documented by the typical work order or invoice. However, some items must be added at the installation site or when the job is completed.
The typical work order or invoice usually includes:
- Company name.
- Customer name and address.
- Vehicle description.
- Parts used.
- Date of installation.
The information that needs to be collected at the installation site is as follows,
- Glass “M” number.
- Adhesive batch/lot number.
- Glass primer batch/lot number.
- Metal primer batch/lot number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Weather conditions.
- Pre-inspection sheet w/notes.
- Customer’s signature.
- Copies of the special disclaimers.
The batch or lot numbers are usually found on the packaging of the urethane and its primers. These numbers can be traced back to the data collected by the adhesive manufacturer for every batch of material mixed. If a particular batch of material is defective in some way, then the data collected by a subpoena could be used as evidence in your favor. So, documentation is very important for your defense.
The glass DOT and “M” numbers are found on the monogram in the lower corner or lower center of the glass surface. These numbers can be used similarly to the batch numbers of the urethane. An auto glass part does not have a batch number or serial number but utilizes the DOT and “M” number for tracing purposes. The advent of the “smart” phones gives us the ability to quickly take a picture and electronically attach it to our work orders.
Weather conditions are important to know, because the adhesives used in auto glass installation use climactic conditions to solidify or cure. Urethane and its primers are sensitive to heat and humidity. Documenting the temperature and humidity of the day can determine the cure rates of the materials used.
Any communication between the auto glass installer and the customer should be documented when the technician notices extenuating circumstances that would cause the installation to be compromised. Any notes or disclaimers should be part of the work order/invoice record.
Give Instructions to the Customer
Communication with the customer is the most important part of reducing your risk for liability. Informing the customer of what to expect before and after the installation is very important to the success of that installation. It starts with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) answering the phone and ends with the technician giving the customer “after installation” instructions.
The CSR who schedules the installation should inform the customer of minimum drive-away times and other precautions. The technician who does the work should again remind the customer that driving the vehicle immediately after installation could cause water leaks, air noise or possible injury. The reason both employees must communicate with the customer separately is that the CSR is unaware of weather conditions at the time of installation when the job is scheduled. While the in- staller, on the other hand, may make a product decision based on weather conditions, which could change the drive-away times and other instructions.
Some instructions to give the customer are:
- Minimum drive-away times (MDAT).
- Carwash restrictions.
- Venting the vehicle.
- The addition of moisture (if necessary).
- Molding tape removal.
- Any additional instructions.
In addition to giving safety instructions verbally by both the CSR and the technician, it should also be delivered in writing and included with the customer’s copies of installation documentation. This can be included on your work order or on a separate “Hang tag” attached to the mirror.
An improper auto glass installation can mean the difference between life and death. The simplest way to reduce your risk of liability and the possibility of a civil lawsuit is also the way to build a strong profitable business. And that is simply to do the job right every time without deviation and document the procedures you use.
Assignments and Final Exam
- Go to the website mentioned in this chapter concerning Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and read the most current standards that pertain to Auto Glass and its installation. Make notes to any changes that have been made since this book was printed. Then discuss them in your next class and implement them into your daily installations.
- Check for current updates by visiting the website of the AGRSS/ANSI standard mentioned in this chapter. Then discuss them in your next class and implement them into your daily installations.
Answer the following questions in your own words.
What must be done if corrosion is found after the glass has been removed?
What are the five steps in reducing liability?