Getting a replacement windshield installed in your vehicle can be dangerous if the person who installs it doesn’t know what he/she is doing. According to Robert Beranek, who is a member of Auto Glass Safety Council, a surprising number of installation companies don’t know what they’re doing.
Faulty installation can cause safety problems, such as windshields that pop out of the frame when a driver closes the door. Law firms in several states specialize that are in cases of faulty installation, and industry experts estimate that up to 85 percent of replacement windshields aren’t installed properly, according to a May 2012 report by CBS13/CW31 in Sacramento, Calif.
Beranek says no federal regulation of the industry exists, but associations certify the safety and practices of windshield-installation companies via independent, third-party evaluation. Consumers should know that certification isn’t mandatory.
If you want to be sure that a replacement windshield was installed properly, Beranek says, you can use the toothpick test.
After the windshield is installed, slide a toothpick into the crevice that’s between the glass and the molding. If the toothpick comes out sticky or dirty with a gumlike substance, the job wasn’t done properly. Beranek says a dirty toothpick means that the glue hasn’t dried, and you shouldn’t drive the vehicle. A gummy substance means that the installers used the wrong adhesive, which could result in the windshield breaking or popping out later.