By Bruce McDonald
Summer is a great time of year to be a windshield repair technician. No rain or snow to contend with, and plenty of sunny hours to get out there and make some money. However, many technicians are not taking into account the impact direct sunlight and high glass temperatures can have on the repair process. If not taken into consideration, direct sunlight and high heat can account for many of the difficulties that technicians run into on a day-to-day basis.
Many technicians perform repairs in direct sunlight and are completely unaware that they are making things more difficult and causing many preventable challenges for themselves. The sun (UV) can cause premature curing, a breakdown of the PVB (Polyvinyl butyral) laminate, and crack outs. When repairing damage with legs radiating from the center, it is quite common for the resin to cure before it reaches the tips of the legs if not properly protected. If you find that you are having trouble getting resin to the very ends of your star break legs and the repair is exposed to UV, pre-mature curing is likely the culprit.
Delamination is another problem often caused by performing repairs in direct sunlight and high glass temperatures; it’s often referred to as the flower or daisy effect. Performing a repair on an extremely hot windshield will often lead to a breakdown or softening of the laminate. When the glass is hot, the inner layer of PVB is much softer and easily breached when resin is injected under pressure into the damaged area. The resin will leach between the laminate and glass causing a watery looking flower shape around the repair. As a general rule, if the glass is too hot to leave your hand on comfortably, it is too hot to repair. Glass temperature should be between 70° F-100° F (21° C – 37° C) and the resin being injected into the damage should be within 10° F (6° C) of the working glass temperature to reduce the possibility of a crack out due to thermo-shock. Delta Kits recommends using an infrared thermometer to monitor glass temperature.
Crack outs are another very important reason for controlling the glass temperature. The best way to minimize your chances of a crack out is to cool the windshield down before starting a repair.
- Use any available shade possible
- If you cannot find shade, make sure to roll the side windows down to allow built up heat to escape from the interior of the car
- Cover the windshield with a towel or hood protector
- And use a UV shield or Bubble Dome to complete the repair
- If you are mobile, request that the customer park their vehicle in the garage or in the shade to save you time and energy
When cooling the windshield make sure to do so gradually. Rapid temperature changes greatly increase the chances of a crack out. If you use the air conditioner to cool the glass use the defroster vents and avoid the temptation to spray the windshield down with a mist of water or alcohol. It is important to keep the damage free of moisture and most importantly, free of alcohol. If the laminate is exposed to alcohol it will deteriorate.
It is equally as important to protect your equipment from direct sunlight as well. Although it is always important to keep your injector clean, direct sun makes these small steps even more crucial. After completing a repair, make sure to clean your injector in accordance with your manufacturer’s instructions to keep your equipment functioning properly. Following these simple procedures will help you get the most out of your summer repairs!
For more information on repairs in direct UV light, call us and speak to a certified technician at (800) 548-8332.