Auto Glass Gets Personal: A Customer’s Experience With Windshield Replacement

For auto glass technicians, cracked or chipped windshields are a normal part of life. They see them every day and make their living fixing them. But for their customers, a cracked windshield is more of a catastrophe. To provide the best service, it may help technicians to see the auto glass repair and replacement experience through a customer’s eyes.

Sarah Bauder is the Auto Glass Week™ (AGW) competition coordinator at Key Media & Research, the parent company responsible for competition coordination at Auto Glass Week™. She also does some work for the glassBYTEs newsletter and AGRR magazine. She is very familiar with the auto glass industry. But when her windshield cracked, getting it replaced was new and stressful even to her.

The crack on Sarah Bauder’s windshield expanded as she drove.

Bauder first noticed the crack in her windshield while driving back to her home in Virginia after vacationing in the Poconos. She hadn’t driven the car during the week she was in Pennsylvania, and rain camouflaged the crack perfectly during the first part of her return trip.

“I thought it was just a line of rain; I didn’t think anything of it,” Bauder said. “Then, when it stopped raining and I turned on my windshield wipers again, it didn’t go away.”

From her experience in the industry, Bauder had the foresight to mark the crack with a sticky note on the inside of the windshield. With that marker, she watched the crack grow from around three inches long to over 12 inches long throughout the drive. When she replaced the windshield, Bauder said the crack was “a couple of feet long.”

“In my 11 years of driving, I’ve never had a crack or a chip in my windshield before,” Bauder said. “This was the first experience for me.”

Bauder knew she wanted her windshield replaced by an Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) member. She brought her vehicle to a Glass America location in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where the shop’s manager, David Curtis, immediately greeted her and introduced her to the primary technician who performed her replacement. The technician, Brian Whittaker, struck up a conversation with Bauder.

Glass America technicians Jay Valenzuela (left) and Brian Whittaker (right) replaced Sarah Bauder’s windshield.

“He was making that connection, so it felt like making a friend instead of making a business transaction,” Bauder said.

Because Bauder’s car is equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology, it needed to be recalibrated after the windshield replacement. At first, the technicians at Glass America encountered difficulties recalibrating Bauder’s vehicle’s ADAS system, so they sent her to the local Honda dealership to scan it.

The technicians at Glass America successfully performed an ADAS recalibration on Sarah Bauder’s car.

“The people at Glass America knew at that point that I was in the industry and had an idea of what I was talking about, but the people at Honda did not know that,” Bauder said. “So, when I went there and told them the situation, they said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it, we just reprogrammed the camera.’”

This answer made Bauder feel uneasy, so she returned to Glass America. With some additional effort, they were able to recalibrate her car successfully. Bauder said that her experience organizing AGW competitions made her fascinated by the whole process, but she still breathed a sigh of relief when the recalibration was complete.

“I was waiting for such a big moment, which for them is something they do every day, but for me, it was a little more personal,” she said.

This article is from glassBYTEs™, the free e-newsletter that covers the latest auto glass industry news. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Auto Glass Repair and Replacement (AGRR) magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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