Windshields are the number one insurance claim in the United States. Thirty percent of auto insurance claims are windshields. Edge cracks account for approximately 70-80% of these windshield replacement claims. Edge cracks occur because the first two inches around the perimeter of windshields have a manufacturing defect known as “residual stresses” which are created during the annealing process. This is the weakest part of the windshield and fractures more easily than the rest of the windshield.
When objects, such as a pebble hits this area during its normal, intended and foreseeable use, it causes a pinhead size fracture and then the “induced stress” (the second defect) created from the installation process in the same area causes the fracture to edge crack to over six inches in length almost immediately.
There is simple and inexpensive technology on the market to both repair and prevent these cracks, which is being boycotted by the insurance and auto glass manufacturers who are in control of the windshield claims processing.
You can spend two hours in a parking lot surveying windshields for yourself to confirm most of the following and/or check or request the references below:
1. 70-80% of cracked/replacement windshields are edge cracked with an impact point less than two inches from the edge where there is a manufacturing defect in the glass.
2. A protective two-inch coating around the perimeter, covering the defective area, known, as Edgeguard would eliminate edge cracks and thereby eliminate 70-80% of windshield replacement claims.
3. The defective perimeter totals 15-20% of the windshield surface but is a non-viewing area with 80% of the defective area in the black frit area. (black ceramic paint around the inside layer of the windshield).
4. The frit, which is intentionally black, enhances the defect by causing temperature variance and heat expansion, which increases sensitivity, severity and length of crack.
5. The windshield is an indispensable component in the structural integrity and safety of a vehicle’s passenger compartment. Optimum consumer safety is achieved when the factory’s original windshield is preserved. Replacing the windshield cannot duplicate the OEM installation and has resulted in many injuries and deaths. (ABC’s 20/02 -Feb. 20, 2000; FOX News, Feb. 20, 2002)
6. Technology to repair cracks up to a foot long (and longer) and passes the same federal tests as a new windshield has been on the market since 1990.
7. 10% of cracks/repairs/ replacements are from a crack six-inches and under (called a Short Crack).
8. 53% of cracks/repairs/replacements are from a crack seven to twelve inches long (called a Long Crack).
9. That adds up to 63% of replacements being from a crack twelve inches and under.
10. If the Insurance industry expanded their ‘Crack Repair Criteria” from the present obsolete six- inch limitation, to twelve-inches it would prevent 63% of replacements and cut the cost of windshield claims $ in half.
11. This would mean five-six million claims per year being long crack repairs instead of replacements and the public would be driving safer vehicles with more factory seals in place.
12. The insurance industry is paying networks (windshield manufacturers) $28 to adjust and process a windshield claim.
13. 90% of stone breaks (stars, bullseyes, etc.) never crack (known as floater cracks).
14. The insurance industry has to pay for ten stone break repairs (stars, bullseyes, etc.) to prevent one replacement. The average replacement claim is $400. The average repair is $50. Spending $780 [$50 for the repair + $28 processing x10 = $780] to save $428.
15. Crack repairs are a 60-75% immediate and 100% effect savings from a replacement. Ten crack repairs saves ten replacements.
16. If repair technicians were paid a fair price for a crack repair, it would be a 62% savings to the insurance industry and the consumers. The profit for a crack repair has to be as good or better than a replacement so there is incentive for a glass shop to repair what is repairable and not deceive the consumer into an unnecessary replacement.
17. In the 30-year history of windshield repair there has never been an injury or lawsuit from a windshield repair, while there has been numerous injuries and deaths from windshield replacements.
PUZZLING QUESTIONS- Why is the insurance industry using auto glass manufacturers to adjust and process auto glass claims (conflict of interest) and ignoring the manufacturing defect causing most replacements? Doesn’t it seem like the defect is intentional since it is so easy to cover it? Since windshield replacements are so easily eliminated, could the insurance industry be using windshield replacement claims as an excuse to increase insured’s rates with and/or without going through state approval? When you make a claim they can increase your rates in many states, just like a traffic ticket.
CONCLUSION- The multi-billion dollar windshield replacement industry exists because of a (curable and repairable) defect. The insurance industries present repair policies being enforced by windshield manufacturers prevents repairing or eliminating the subsequent edge crack. Their present policies also guarantee to never put more than a 10- 20% decrease in replacements and that is IF every stone break was repaired (never happen) and that in itself would cost billions, making it a multi-billion dollar loss and IF every auto glass shop repaired short cracks (could happen). That is why the present polices has never and will never affect the number of replacements or reduce the dollars spent on windshields, which is alleged to be fifty percent of the comprehensive premium.
Windshield replacements have been made obsolete twice, first in 1990 by Ultra Bond, the repair of the edge crack and again in 1996 by Edgeguard, the elimination of the edge crack, the feasible alternative to the multi-billion dollar defect.
1. Windshield Investigation- Manufacturing and Installation Stresses, SAE Technical Papers # 1999-01-3160, Society of Automotive Engineers,
2. A New Polycarbonate and Glass Laminate and its Affects on the Relationship Between Residual Tensile Stresses and Impact Resistance of Windshields, SAE Technical Papers # 2002-01-01991, Society of Automotive Engineers.
3. Bending Gate Manual, Annealing and Residual Stress, Guardian Industries.
4. Ultra Bond and Richard Campfield vs. State Farm and Lynx Services (PPG), Case # 03-RB-0306, Filed 02/19/03, U.S District Court, Denver Colorado.
5. U.S. Patent #s: 5653497; 6485082; 5425827; 5512116; 6033507
6. United States Testing Co., Inc. Report of Test-Ultra Bond-Repaired Laminated Glass per ANSI/SAEZ26.1-1990
7. United States Windshield Repair Guidelines, (windshield repair industry) 1995.
8. Recommended Practices- National Windshield Repair Association, 2003
9. Knott Lab, Inc. Survey, (parking lots in Denver, Colorado), 11/13/01
10. Minnesota Survey, (Mall of America parking lot) Harman Glass and Edgeguard, Inc.
11. Ultra Bond Survey, (repair and replacement invoices 1997-2002)
Ultra Bond, Inc.,
2458 E. Main St., B-1
Grand Junction, CO 81501
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