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An automotive windshield does more than just keep the bugs out of your teeth as you travel over Arkansas highways and byways. Most people are not aware that it is also an important safety feature. Windshields are an important safety device. If your vehicle rolls over in an accident, it is your windshield that keeps the roof of the vehicle from crushing down onto the occupants. Secondarily, the passenger side airbag is designed to “explode” upward and bounce off of the windshield in the case of an accident. This is meant to remove some of the force of the air bag inflation as well as to provide a backing surface for the bag in order to keep the vehicle occupants in the vehicle. If a windshield is broken or cracked, it is materially weakened and may not be able to perform these duties. It is actually illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a broken windshield in Arkansas.

Now that you know you need a new windshield, selecting a company to replace it is an important decision. Too often the customer’s prime criteria is to select the company with the cheapest price. Often, they are risking their lives in order to save a few dollars. Below are a few of the things to ask any shop you are considering too perform the work. These are a few ways fly-by- night companies can offer lower prices.

-Ask them if their shop is certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council. Unfortunately, there is not a licensing requirement in order to operate an auto glass replacement company or to install auto glass. This is a voluntary certification process that only the highest quality companies obtain. If they do tell you that they are certified, ask them for their license number.

-Ask them if their shop is insured, do they have an umbrella policy to protect you from claims if they injure themselves on your property or do damage to your belongings or property. If they can’t afford proper insurance, something is wrong.

-Windshields are held in place by a strong adhesive known as urethanes. After a windshield replacement, the car is not safe to drive until the urethane has dried enough to meet the manufacturers Safe Drive Away Time (SDAT). The safest urethanes have a SDAT of 1 hour. They are also very expensive. There are much cheaper urethanes that could take up to 24 hours to cure enough to meet the Federal Safe Drive Away Time limits. If they allow you to drive your vehicle prior to this, then you are risking you and or your families lives and safety. Unscrupulous companies will not tell you this.

-Do they run background checks on all of its installers or do they just hire away without checking. If you have one of their employees come to your home for mobile service, you should know if they are a registered sexual offender or have open warrants for their arrest. These things have happened.

-Do they provide a Free National Lifetime Warranty against defects or workmanship? If not, I would be very curious why they would not stand behind their work.

-Ask how long they have been in business. It takes years to master the art of auto glass replacement. If a company has been in business less than a year, be wary.

Bottom line……do your homework and make an educated decision. If your windshield fails in an accident, your losses could massively outweigh the few dollars you attempted to save.