Some Car Dealers Refuse to Recalibrate Aftermarket Glass

Is OE glass now a requirement for recalibration after a windshield replacement?

That seems to be a growing refrain in the auto glass industry.

Several shops have reported that several car dealerships have refused to recalibrate a windshield replaced with aftermarket glass.

One post in the forum asked: “What do you do when you take an Acura to a dealer to have it recalibrated and the dealer says they won’t do it because it was not an OE [windshield]?”

Calls to several glass shops confirmed a recent trend by dealers to refuse recalibration on aftermarket glass. And while several also said they have not encountered resistance from dealerships, those that have say it’s a growing problem.

“We’ve seen it several times in the last month or so,” said Natalie Schmidtmann of Ray Sands Glass in Rochester, N.Y. “Especially in forward collisions. If it’s an aftermarket piece of glass, the dealer won’t do it.”

Jeff Olive, training manager for Glasspro in Mt. Pleasant S.C., said he has had similar problems with dealerships.

“This is a major problem in our industry right now, getting these dealers on board,” he said January 19. “They need to realize that we’re the customers in this situation and we’re referring business to them. It’s an income opportunity.”

Olive recounted a recent incident in which his shop replaced a windshield in a Volvo. The shop got approval from an insurance to do the replacement with the aftermarket glass made by Pilkington, which was the same brand as the Volvo OE glass. After the replacement, Glasspro sent the customer to the Volvo dealership to have the glass recalibrated. The dealer refused.

“He won’t listen to a word I’m saying, even though I explained it’s the same manufacturer that makes Volvo glass,” Olive said. “He said if it doesn’t say ‘Volvo’ on the glass it won’t work.”

Olive pointed out that his company has done other replacements with aftermarket glass, on Honda vehicles, and recalibrated the glass without a problem.

The fact that the glass is made by the same manufacturer as the OE glass should suffice, said Jason Lueders, manager and Lee and Cates Glass Inc. in Jacksonville, Fla.

“I’m not sure why it would matter, since Pilkington makes the glass,” he said, after noting that while he hasn’t dealt with dealer refusals personally, he’s heard of several.

The end result, Olive said, is a black eye for his business.

“It makes us look bad,” he said. “The insurance company eventually pays for the OE windshield, but I now have to take out a windshield I can’t return and replace it – and spend the time and techs to do it. To the customer, it looks like we tried to install some cheap glass and got told no by the insurance company and the dealer.”

This latest trend comes after instances last year of insurance companies, rather than dealerships, refusing to pay for recalibration.

Insurance company Arbella denied payment of a recalibration for a customer of Peter Brown of Tiny & Sons Auto Glass in Pembroke, Mass., claiming that work was part of the customer’s deductible and not the comprehensive policy.

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