Ask the Doctor
by Walt Gorman
Q: I recently bought a windshield repair kit and have been practicing on an old windshield before I try to sell my services. I am unable to make star breaks in my practice glass, however, because my supplier provided me with only a "bullseye maker" and tells me that is all I need.
You can buy a spring-loaded center punch that can be adjusted to make different sized star breaks. If you have done any parking lot surveys you will have found that most breaks are stars--so you had better perfect your technique and get excellent results consistently when repairing them. On the other hand, bullseyes are relatively simple to repair.
You are wise to wait until you have perfected the art of windshield repair before starting your business. As the old maxim says, "You have only one chance to make a good first impression!"
Q: I occasionally do repairs on bullseyes, which look great--almost undetectable, but the customer calls me back a few days later to say there is a ring around the outer rim. Do you have any idea why this happens?
This can happen when resin is injected into a bullseye that contains moisture. All resin shrinks a little as it cures. As the resin shrinks, the moisture, (which has been compressed), becomes visible. Always probe to detect moisture in a break, then dry it out with vacuum and/or heat before injecting the resin. Curing it under pressure will also help.
Q: I have been doing what I consider good repairs, but too many customers are not happy with the looks of them. What can I do about this?
Without seeing your repairs I cannot comment on their quality, but will assume that they are good.
It is important to address the outcome and appearance of the repair before the repair is performed. Your customers may be under the impression that the damage disappears completely. If this is the case, no repair will please them. You must set his expectations realistically.
Explain the following to them:
• This is a repair, not a cosmetic treatment. All breaks are different but in most cases the appearance is improved by as much as 60 to 80 percent.
• It will save them the cost of a new windshield and the problems that can go with an improperly installed windshield. The factory seal can never be duplicated.
• They can use his vehicle immediately, rather than losing the use of it for a day.
• Their comprehensive insurance will pay for it, and in most cases, it is not considered a claim.
When customers know what to expect, they will not be disappointed. They will, instead, become boosters for you and windshield repair.
Walt Gorman is president of A-1 Windshield Doctor in Seekonnk, Mass., and runs a training school for Windshield Repair Technicians. He is on the board of directors and the treasurer of the National Windshield Repair Association.
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