Have you ever considered how exactly we auto glass shops select and receive windshields? How do we know which one will fit and how do we go about getting it? If my intuition is correct, none of you have ever thought about these things, but I don’t blame you.
Like many services we employ, there is a general expectation that the people behind the operation know what they are doing. We arrive with our need and expect the need to be met when we return. I would say this is a reasonable expectation too. Why should you care how it goes down as long as you get a desirable result?
Well, why not spend a little extra time to prepare yourself. Strengthen or alter the expectations you may have had about the service and go in with some slight comprehension about how things are going to happen.
Trust me, customers that come in knowing what they want and what information they need to get it are an employee’s favorite type of person. Plus, you can avoid looking or sounding confused, uncertain, and uninformed. (Don’t confuse this with being a know-it-all though, those are often the least favorite person.)
Regardless, here is how we go about selecting and receiving your glass.
Selecting the correct windshield is not as difficult as one might think. There is actually a computer program that we and most, auto glass shops use to find the correct windshield for the client.
With this program, there are a couple options that come up for finding different windshields
We can enter the year, make, and model of a vehicle and the type of glass (windshield, front passenger, etc.)
We can enter the VIN# of the glass
With either of these, we will likely find your vehicle’s glass
How exactly do we get the glass? Contrary to beliefs, we and every other auto glass shop, do not manufacture windshields on site. Even Safelite, who does manufacture their own glass, doesn’t have a “glass machine” at every location. There’s also no such thing as a glass machine but, if you’re curious about how windshields are made, check out our other blog: How They’re Made: Windshields.
Instead, each day we receive three separate shipments of glass from various auto glass manufacturers; Two from Migrant Glass and one from Pilkington. The drivers come up every day from the Phoenix metropolitan area (usually) and deliver to all the auto glass shops in the area, Safelite excluded.
Now they don’t just deliver random windshields and we typically don’t stockpile windshields either. We place orders based on our known future need. In other words, when we are
hired for a replacement job, we schedule the order the glass and schedule the job. The windshield will then be here and ready when the appointment arrives.
This is the main reason why we typically can’t do same day replacements. We don’t have your specific windshield in our shop and it’s usually too late to order it for one of the three shipments. Additionally, appointment slots are most often full when that day comes around. Once in a blue moon though, the stars align, and the same day replacement may be able to happen, but very rarely. Nonetheless, it never hurts to ask.
Some vehicles though, are either too new or too uncommon to have their windshields incorporated into the program. In these cases, we may refer you to another glass shop (classic cars) or may order the glass from a dealer or special manufacturer.
All of this depends on whether the technicians can replace the glass. Some vehicles need special equipment, materials, or skills that are vastly different from your average truck, car, or van. Although, it never hurts to ask your local glass shop if they can do it or not.
If you have any questions on how we get or select glass, please leave a comment, or if you’re curious as why windshields can be so expensive, check out this other blog post. You could also try our FAQ page to see if your question has already been answered or, give us a call. We are always happy to help!
Author: B. Delamater