I’ve had plenty of rocks bounce off my windshield without apparent damage over the past several months. Two days ago, I had something hit my windshield that was barely perceivable. About ten minutes later, I heard a strange noise that turned out to be the glass cracking. The crack was about six inches long at 8am and had spread to the center of the glass by lunchtime. It looked like it was going to turn back upward and make a “U” shape that touched the edge of the glass at two points. By 7pm, it had turned downward and was headed toward the driver’s line of sight. As the crack spread, I did some quick research at VWVortex regarding replacement options and asked members of a local Facebook group who they trusted with the work. From there, a plan for replacement quickly came together.
I chose a local Auto Glass Now (AGN) shop to install my new windshield. The installers are a father-son team with nearly 45 years of combined experience who came highly recommended. I had a preference for a VW OEM windshield. However, my insurance company wanted me to pay the $185 difference in price between the OEM and OEE windshields even though the car is only seven months old. AGN has a lifetime warranty that covers glass clarity (manufacturer’s defects), leaks, and wind noise (workmanship). With my three greatest concerns addressed, I decided to settle on the aftermarket windshield to save money. The windshield is by Fuyao (FY), which is a supplier of OEM VW/Audi glass with a good reputation for quality.
I arrived at AGN as they opened and was on my way in about 90 minutes. They let me watch and photograph their process. The glass fits so tightly within the window frame that they couldn’t use their usual tools for freeing the sealant without scratching the paint around the window frame. Instead, they used an interesting “floss” method which uses a ratcheting spool that’s attached to the glass via suction cups. See the photos here and below for details. Removing the glass was a lengthy ordeal because of the need to use this slower, but cleaner, method of removal. Once the glass was removed, they cleaned up the mounting surfaces to prepare the frame for new glass. I couldn’t help but be amused by the fact that removal took about 45 minutes and installing the new glass took about 45 seconds after the adhesive bead had been laid.
A few things I noted during their work: 1) I know some VW enthusiasts like to replace their rear-view mirror with an aftermarket unit. I’ve read complaints about the glass cracking during removal. The mirror comes off easily after simply rotating the mount 90-degrees. See an image below for a look at the “key” mount. 2) Fuyao has manufacturing plants in America. However, my glass was still labeled as “Made in China.” I guess the demand for Mk7 glass is still too low to make the parts in America. 3) How many times have you seen a car chase on TV or a movie that ultimately resulted in a shot-up windshield being kicked out by the passenger? Watching the AGN team work today solidified my belief that the glass is IN THERE and not going anywhere. No one is kicking it out; The Terminator is probably the only exception. That was totally real! 😉
The new windshield looks great, with the only difference being the lack of a VW/Audi logo in the lower passenger side. The quick pitting of the original windshield surprised me; so it’s nice to have a windshield that’s free of wear. Time will tell how long it lasts. Wind noise seems no different than before. I’ll be happy if there are no leaks during the next rain. I can’t imagine why there would be a leak because I know AGN’s adhesive bead is thicker than VW’s. Speaking of rain, I also replaced the windshield wipers to make sure that only pristine blades made initial contact with the new glass. All that remains is to receive new black fastening tape for my black EZ Pass transponder and the car will be back to normal. Let’s see if I can make it another 20,000 miles before cracking the glass again. 😉
♫ I Can See Clearly Now…