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Readers Offer Cold-Weather Tips

As much of the nation continues to endure low temperatures, snow and even rain in the West this week, several readers offered their tips for handling the temperatures on the job.

"For me, under 45 to 50 degrees is a no-no," says Karl Anderson of Anderson Glass in Williston, Vt. He notes that while glass primers and urethanes are available for zero-degree temperatures, pinchweld primers aren't there yet.

"You may be good at not scratching the pinchweld, but it does or will happen," he says. "What [happens] then when it's below 40 degrees?"

When it comes to explaining to customers, Anderson, who does both mobile and in-shop work, rarely has a problem.

"I cannot recall losing a customer due to the weather," he says. "I'll explain that plastic does not bend all that good in the cold, and [that there is a] possibility of frost forming on the car, possibly jeopardizing the seal."

Then, he offers customers two options-either to bring the vehicle in (if he/she doesn't have a heated garage), or for the shop to pick the vehicle up, do the work in-shop and deliver it to the customer's home when complete. So far, Anderson has seen days as cold as -21 degrees.

Ian Graham of Windshield Solutions LLC in Roanoke, Va., runs a strictly mobile business.

"I usually just explain the facts to the customer if it is below freezing and no warm shelter is accessible," he says. "Most people are very understanding and will work with you on re-scheduling.

If re-scheduling isn't an option, Graham takes the next step.

"I try to accommodate the customer by calling on a few friends who operate mechanic shops," he says. "Most of the time one of them will have a bay open that I can use for a little bit to get the job done. In that case I instruct the customer that they will have to drop the vehicle off and leave it for several hours for the installation to be completed and the [safe drive-away time] to be met."

And, what about the difficult customer who refuses to accommodate either option?

"… If they are unwilling to be reasonable and except my professional opinion as to what constitutes a safe installation … I do not need their business and the problems that would likely come with it," Graham adds.

Duane Crawford of D&S Chips Away in Sioux Falls, N.D., runs a repair-only mobile business with no storefront. Like Anderson, he's chosen to pick up and deliver vehicles for the customer-except Crawford brings them back to his own heated home garage to repair the windshields. When the temperatures are a little milder, he has another solution.

"In some fall and spring weather, when it's cool I use a microheater and the car's heater to warm up the windshield and a temperature tester," Crawford adds.

Do you have any tips for handling the cold weather-either technical or in dealing with customers? CLICK HERE to discuss, or CLICK HERE to e-mail

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