By Walt Gorman
Winter repairs are a challenge. Everything slows down at this time—curing times, repair times—because it is highly important to dry out every single type of damage, as there is moisture within them all.
The first step to take is to warm the windshield with the defroster even if you are bringing the vehicle indoors. This is necessary because if the glass is cold and you bring it inside the windshield will “sweat” saturating the damage. If the windshield is warmed first, the condensation will not form. This step in itself will aid in speeding up the process.
The next step is to use isopropyl alcohol of at least 91 percent; wipe it into the damaged area and use a hair dryer or other type of dry out device to aid in moisture removal.
The final step is to use your injector without resin in it on its best vacuum and warm the damage from the inside of the windshield while under vacuum to remove even more moisture. Remove the repair unit from the windshield and rinse it out with alcohol to remove any moisture, allow it to dry, then place your repair unit onto the glass and proceed to fill the damage. For those of you using any kind of repair unit that places resin on the glass first, this is imperative. Moisture left in the damage will result in a bad repair.
If it is not possible to bring the vehicle indoors to perform a repair, the windshield needs not only to be warmed prior to performing a repair, but also it should be insulated during the repair. This is easy to do by simply placing a small blanket over the repair site to contain the surface temperature. If your customer cannot give you a key to start the vehicle to warm it up, do not perform the repair. If you do, your repair will not be done correctly and with the heavier water vapor mixed within the resin, the repair will not be strong. Tell the customer that it is important for you to be able to properly prepare the damage to be repaired, otherwise you will not be able to perform the repair.
Using the proper grade resin on the windshield is important also. The cold makes it harder for the resin to flow; if resin placed on the glass is too thick, chances are some areas of the break that are very tight will not get resin in them and create a poor quality repair.
If performing a repair on a star break, you will want to drill into the cone and strike the cone with a sewing needle and a tappet to “open” up the legs more allowing easier filling of the legs. When the legs are nearly completely filled, cause your repair unit to go into vacuum mode for a few minutes to allow that small amount of air to filter back out of the legs and apply your pressure again afterwards. This will help the repair quality by removing more micro air bubbles.
Finally always use a curing lamp in winter and allow an extra minute more than you normally would in warmer temperatures as the curing process slows down in colder weather. Always take the time to do the repair right the first time, as the repair process is a one shot deal.
Our guest columnist this month is Michael Curl, president of Glass Pro Systems, Monroe, Wis. Questions for Walt Gorman should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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