The automotive glass repair and replacement business used to be a lot simpler. A customer would call and say they had a 1976 Pontiac Firebird and needed a new windshield. There was only one part number as an option so there was zero chance the wrong windshield could be ordered. Ah…the good old days! Well the times have changed. Automotive engineers over the last decade have come up with incredible safety and convenience devices to make the driving experience safer and more convenient. One guess where they are putting all of the sensors, cameras and hardware? That’s right……the windshield!!! Now when customers call my glass shop with a 2016 Jeep Cherokee, there are 10 different part numbers to choose from. There are some customers who are so into their cars that they know every single option on their beautiful metal machine. Then there are those motorists whose answer is “a blue one” when asked what type of vehicle they drive. Some struggle to answer what model year is the vehicle. Some may know they year, but not if it is a Toyota or a Nissan. That’s when a glass shop owner has to ask the owner if their cars as any of the options listed below. Numerous times they will discover that their vehicle has a cool feature that they never knew they had. This new technology is group together under the title Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems. Here is a partial listing of features:
*Rain Sensor: This is a feature that will automatically turn on your windshield wipers when rainfall is detected. A continuous beam is projected by a laser mounted on the vehicle windshield up by the rearview mirror. When rain drops break the beam, it turns on the vehicle’s windshield wipers.
*Lane Departure Warning System: A camera is mounted on the windshield near the rearview mirror. If your vehicle drifts over the painted center or right edge lane lines, your vehicle will vibrate your seats and/or emit a warning tone to alert the driver.
*Self Dimming Rear View Mirror: In the past, when a driver at night followed you with their high beam headlights, the driver need to manually adjust a lever on the bottom of the rearview mirror. Today several cars are equipped with mirrors that can automatically sense when bright lights are behind you and automatically dim the rearview mirror.
*Forward Collision Alert: Forward facing sensors (could be laser, sonar or camera) detect if your vehicle is in danger of colliding with another object. These systems can typically sense the proximity of other vehicles, pedestrians, animals and various other roadway obstructions. Some systems will just generate a warning to the driver. Some of these systems can also take other preventive actions, such as pre-charging the brakes, or apply the brakes to stop the vehicle.
*Heads-Up Display (HUD): This feature displays some of the information from the dashboard (speed, direction, navigation) and projects it onto the windshield. It glows like a hologram directly in front of your eyes so the driver does not have to take their eyes off the road.
So now that you know the windshield performs many duties that affect your safety, it is very important to select a reputable shop to replace it. Trying to save a few bucks by automatically choosing the cheapest priced vendor could cost you and your family dearly later.