With half a foot to ten inches of snow smacking New England and the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, causing the Federal Government to shutdown yesterday in Washington, D.C., and institute a two-hour delay Wednesday, the question arises: Is it safe to do windshield repairs in cold weather?
“We’re not doing anything right now,” says Karen Waldroupe of A-1 Glass Co. in Manassas, Va., whose company does in-house and mobile automotive glass repairs just outside of Washington, D.C. “We had a lot of snow so people are late coming in. But I’m sure we’ll see it get busier. When it gets cold like this, business increases.”
While repairing windshields outside in the bitter cold is not ideal, it can be done, according to officials from GlasWeld and Delta Kits.
“Winter is here and with it the extra challenges of getting your repairs to cure properly in cold weather,” explains Randy Mackey, GlasWeld’s manager of technical services. “[T]o fully cure your repairs in cold weather, all you need is a little extra patience and preparation. It’s a fact that resin takes longer to cure in cold weather. This is for several reasons. For starters, the voltage output of the vehicle’s cigarette lighter or power outlet may be lower in cold weather so the UV lamp receives less power and output is less. Also, when your UV lamp is cold, it does not emit as much UV radiation as it does when it is warmed up. And resin that’s cold doesn’t cure as quickly as resin that is at a warmer temperature.”
Slow down and give your repairs more time to cure, he says.
“You should count on adding an extra one to two minutes to the curing cycle,” Mackey adds. “Also, warm up the UV lamp an extra minute or two before you begin to cure. And when you’re traveling between jobs, keep the UV lamp where it can stay warm—such as inside the vehicle with you.”
Keep your resin warm and whenever possible, pre-warm the windshield to get the glass to over 60 degree Fahrenheit.
“The vehicle’s heater is the best way to warm the glass but other types of heaters can be used as well. Just be careful not to heat the glass too quickly, too hot or on too small an area as windshield damage is more likely to spread under these circumstances,” he explains.
Extra precautions during cold weather are definitely necessary, says Bruce McDonald, a sales representative with Delta Kits.
“To start, ideally the glass temperature should be between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, remove any moisture that may be present in the break,” he says. “If warming the glass is necessary, make sure it’s done slowly and evenly. Sudden changes in temperature can cause the glass to crack out, so use caution.”
Using defrosters can be a good way to warm up the glass, he notes.
“It blows cool air when the vehicle is first started and gradually the vents warm up as the engine warms up,” McDonald says.
Another idea is to use a hairdryer, he says.
“Just make sure you warm the area several inches around the damage, and if possible, keep the warm air blowing across the damaged area to maintain an even temperature. Be careful of overheating,” McDonald cautions.
“Matching your windshield repair resin and injector temperature to the glass temperature within 10 degrees Fahrenheit will greatly minimize the chance of crack outs,” he points out.
But the best solution for doing repairs when the temperature plummets? Take the vehicle in doors if at all possible, McDonald says.