You just had your windshield replaced but somebody told you that all Auto Glass is not the same. How do you know that your repair shop is using the right glass and that it meets safety standards?

 It is easy to assume that all auto glass is the same but nothing could be farther from the truth. If you consider the millions of vehicles on the road, the different model years plus the number of different manufacturers it easy to see that there can be variations in quality.

 Some of the ways Auto Glass can vary include clarity, shatter resistance, and thickness. Replacement glass that is  thinner than what came from the factory can effect noise insulation and strength. Be sure to ask if the glass that will be used is not only certified, but OEM ( Original Equipment Manufacturer) equivalent. That is the difference between glass that just barely makes the standard and glass that is just as good as new. This is also an area where price can vary from one installer to another as thinner glass is less costly to manufacture.

Clarity is another critical factor and only the highest grades of glass can be used for the windshield. Auto glass has markings engraved in the corner and one of these markings is American Standard or AS followed by a number. Make sure to check these markings when you pick your car up from the repair shop.

 AS1 ( One) glass can be used for any area on the car, but only AS 1 grade can be used for the windshield. You can see this marking etched into the glass and if you do not, ask your installer why,  and do not accept a repair that does not meet this standard. This means that the glass has met clarity standards of at least 70% light transmission, is tempered and laminated. AS2 can be used anywhere on the vehicle except the windshield, has at least 70% clarity and can be tempered, laminated or both. AS3, and higher numbers are only for certain uses not normally encountered in cars.

 Fortunately, there are federally regulated standards that auto glass must meet and certifications requiring Auto Glass Installers to adhere to these guidelines. The best way to get the job done properly is to check the qualifications of your installer out before you have work done. By making sure that they certified, you will have the assurance of a quality shop that uses only the best parts and materials. Ask the owner if their business, and  their technicians, are certified by one or all of the following organizations.

 AGRSS:   This program for auto glass installers guarantees compliance with ANSI/AGRSS standards.

IGA: The Independent Glass Association is a membership program that requires Technicians to have a minimum of six months auto glass replacement experience and that this is at least half of their business focus.

NGA: The National Glass Association certifies individual auto glass installers. There are two levels, Certified Technician and Certified Master Glass Technician. The quality of an auto glass replacement job depends as much on the training of the installer as the glass being used. Another important question to ask is what the warranty covers. Leaks are the most obvious to guard against, but a warranty should also cover cracks that may occur after the installation, heater elements, radio antennae and operating mechanisms. Choosing the right installer before you start is the best way to ensure your total satisfaction with the job.

 One excellent resource in the Minneapolis, Saint Paul Minnesota area is Only 1 Auto Glass, 2001 McMenemy St, Saint Paul MN 651-789-1111. They are a full service auto glass installer and an excellent place to start your search.