Triple-digit temperatures in the western United States have auto glass repair and replacement (AGRR) shops navigating the associated issue of adhesive application in high temperatures. With most adhesive manufacturers recommending that such work not be performed in temperatures more than 100 degrees, what can shops do to keep business rolling and customers safe?
Jacques Navant of Don’s Mobile Glass in California says the heat wave is posing obstacles for his team on the most routine duties.
“It’s more than just adhesives,” he says. “It’s the adhesive itself then all the primers, activators and glass cleaners. Everything is harder to work with in ultra-cold temperatures and extremely hard to work with in very hot temperatures. My people right now are struggling with simple stuff like wiping away glass cleaner before it leaves streaks on a brand new windshield someone just paid $1,100 for. It’s challenging across every product that the average AGRR (Auto Glass Repair/Replacement) technician uses.”
There’s not much that shops can do about the weather, nor is there much to be done with respect to the chemical makeup of tools and products required to deliver service. But that doesn’t mean AGRR shops have their hands tied when temperatures get out of control. For Navant, it all comes down to planning ahead.
“Hands down the most important thing is taking care of your technicians and making sure they’re hydrated,” Navant says. “Encourage them to take breaks even if it’s just sitting in the truck for a little while if they’re mobile. Without technicians, none of us are going to be successful. We’re not going anywhere fast without them.”
Navant also recommends scheduling outdoor or mobile jobs for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon on days of extreme heat. That way, technicians avoid the hottest parts of the day. At the same time, if temperatures above 100 degrees are forecast for the coming days, Navant says shops can schedule jobs near access to shade.
“The most important thing, hands down, is taking care of technicians,” Navant reiterates.
It also never hurts to make some friends. For example, maybe there’s a friendly carwash in town that will offer technicians a reprieve from the heat based off a solid relationship with the technicians’ shop.
“Just be mindful of your people,” Navant says. “Don’t put them in a situation where they’re destined to fail. Nobody likes to be out there hot and frustrated. When you’re hot and frustrated, by human nature, you’re going to make poor decisions.”
According to the National Weather Service, the heat wave may end this weekend with low humidity forecast to follow. As most urethane, primers and activators cure by atmospheric moisture, Navant says lower humidity typically means those products are easier to work with. However, lower humidity again raises the issue of employee safety as it relates to dehydration.
“If companies find themselves where they believe their hands are tied, that’s just poor planning,” Navant says. “We have to take care of our technicians and the overall safety of our customers. Using these products or attempting to use them in extreme temperatures just has too many bad ramifications. It’s just not worth it, so we try really hard to think ahead and make the right decisions.”