The past few days have seen auto glass companies in New England contend with frigid temperatures, with some parts of New Hampshire recording wind chills of 30 degrees below zero. Leon Haines of Portland Glass in the Granite State says inclement weather requires extra planning on behalf of shops, but that customers must still be serviced.
According to Haines, temperatures near negative 12 degrees hit New Hampshire on Friday, Feb. 3, with those conditions preventing Portland Glass from performing mobile services.
“Different stores and locations go out at different temperatures,” he says. “Some stores won’t go out when it’s under 35 degrees or 25 degrees, but it depends. We can install over 1 degree, and our primer, it cures in two minutes when the temperature is more than 20 degrees. Under 20 degrees, it cures in six minutes. Ideally, I wouldn’t want to install under 35 degrees because in the winter, stuff likes to snap. We try to do in-shop only in the winter, but if we have no choice, we have no choice.”
When inclement weather is in play, Haines makes sure to communicate with his customers when it comes to having the vehicle ready for mobile jobs. Prior to traveling to a job, Haines calls the customer to ensure snow has been removed from the windshield. He also tells the customer that he will contact them once more a few minutes before arrival so that the vehicle is running with the defroster on when he gets there. Then, 15 minutes before arriving at the jobsite, Haines makes a final call to the customer to remind them to turn the defroster on high.
“Most people say ‘No problem,’ but some customers, the ones who know they’re not paying because it’s covered by insurance, they don’t answer when I call (the second time),” Haines says. “But when I get there, the vehicle is running with the defroster on. That happens a lot.”
Bob Beranek of Automotive Glass Consultants in Wisconsin and chair of the AGRSS Standards Committee seconds that recommendation, as the practice warms up the pinchweld and the glass itself, making installation easier with respect to technicians and the chemicals they use. Along with asking customers to run their vehicles and defrosters in preparation for jobs, Beranek also says companies should ask if the customer has access to a garage, and ideally, a heated garage. Technicians should keep their vehicles running as well, according to Beranek.
“You’re going to need to keep your truck running during the installation to keep your chemicals as warm as possible,” he says. “You can’t turn it off and allow the chemicals to cool down too much. You shouldn’t leave your vehicle parked outdoors overnight; the vehicle should be in a heated environment overnight so your chemicals are not frozen. If you don’t have a shop or a place to park in heated conditions, at least the chemical must be brought into normal temperatures.”
Upon arriving at a job, Beranek says technicians need to be prepared for their primers to take longer than normal to dry. Technicians must also have adhesives capable of working at temperatures near zero. Once the temperature drops below zero, however, the job will require a heated garage.
Customers who need service in freezing temperatures are also likely to ask the following question: “You can’t do this outside, can you?”
“We look at the temperature for the day, but sometimes we’re busy and will have to look three weeks out,” Haines says. “So, we say we can do it that day if the temperature is OK, but then the day comes, and there’s a storm. Then we get backed up because the weather can change.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in New England began returning to some degree of normalcy on Sunday, Feb. 5, and would continue into this week.