Tuesday, November 25, 2003
THIRD windshield replacement
Yes, I had the (two-week-old) windshield replaced again, except this time it wasn't because of a stone hit...it was because I realized they didn't install the last one properly.
During the installation two weeks ago I noted that the windshield seemed to be sitting low in the frame, although it appeared centered laterally. I gauged this by looking at three factors:
- a small but noticeable gap between the frame and the rubber trim near the top corners of the windshield (specifically, near the lower portion of the radius)
- I could barely see the VIN# through the tiny "window" at the base of the windshield.
- I could see a portion of the paint above the windshield that was "scuffed" by the underside of the rubber trim.
When I tried to point this out to the installers they tried to pull the windshield up in the frame but it didn't want to budge. They did manage to close the gap a bit but that still left the window another 1/8" below where I felt it should be. When I made it clear to them that I didn't like the way it looked they commented that the extra gap would disappear behind the trim once it "relaxed" and conformed to the frame over the next day or two, but in case it didn't the lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship would cover the installation and they would come back to fix it for free. Naturally, I'm sure they didn't think that I would call them on this, but I did.
They hoped to save the existing glass, but ordered new glass just in case that didn't work out...and it didn't. They had the usual difficulty removing the glass and cracked it, so the new glass was installed. This time, they took special efforts to orient the glass before seating it, and pushed it firmly to the top of the frame BEFORE they pushed down on it. They also used a high-strength red fabric tape (as opposed to the blue painter's tape they normally use) to hold the windshield where it should be. My experience shows once the glass touches the glue and is in the frame, the friction created by both the glue and the rubber trim kit just won't allow the windshield to budge much, if at all so it needs to be set correctly from the start.
This installation actually looks better than the one they did two years ago, and in fact looks the way I remember the original did. The windshield appears to be "level" with the top of the windshield frame, rather than recessed slightly, and the rubber trim sits, appropriately, level across the windshield and the windshield frame. The trim on the top of the windshield also nicely hides the paint defect created by the old trim. In short, the windshield is where it should be.
I did note that the VIN# window is still a bit low, but that's obviously a glitch of the windshield manufacturing process, rather than the installation process. The windshields acquired in the last two weeks were made by the same manufacturer for BMW, but the logos and other writing on the windshield seemed to be in a different font, meaning this is a new "rev" of this windshield. Fortunately, I couldn't care less about this...let the cop, inspection station attendant, or whoever wants to verify my car's identity, bend over and squint a bit more to see it.
Now, the question I'm sure you're begging to ask -- would I use Quality Auto Glass again? Sure. They screwed up, but remedied the situation. I was out nothing more than a few phone calls. They were good about coordinating the installation time with me, and were generally cool about making things right.
P&L: $0, Mileage 87178