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Dos and don’ts of windscreen care

Repair and replacement of vehicle glass is now more complex. Nationwide Windscreen Services addresses the core queries

1. What level of damage to a windscreen can be repaired, and when does the glass need replacing?

What damage is or isn’t repairable to a front windscreen is governed by British Standard Code of Working Practice BS AU 242a: 1998. The code highlights zones on across the windscreen, in which various sizes of chip or crack can be repaired. For example, Zone A (see diagram below), in front of a driver’s vision, dictates that damage not constrained within a 10mm diameter circle cannot be repaired and a replacement becomes necessary. The BS code of practice is available on request.

The MOT test includes the inspection of the windscreen. Ensure the windscreen is repaired correctly or replaced to avoid test failure.

2. Does a fleet have to accept its insurer’s preferred windscreen supplier?

This may depend on the glass cover and excesses provided by the individual insurer to the fleet operator. If the cover on their fleet policy has a high excess then the cost of replacing the glass may become a direct cost to the operator, therefore fleet managers will be free to choose their own supplier. It is vital, however, that they choose a reputable company that operates nationally and returns the vehicle back to standard and not just on cost. Some insurers may cap policies and increase excess amounts if the policy holder does not use insurer’s approved supplier. This has the effect of encouraging and directing the policy holder to the insurer’s preferred supplier. In general, fleet insurance policies will have high excess amounts.

3. What issues do new driver assistance safety technologies, such as lane assist and autonomous braking, present for replacement window glass?

Nationwide Windscreen Services (NWS) is at the forefront of ADAS technology within the automotive glazing industry. ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) equipment is used for ensuring that new and future technologies being developed by motor vehicle manufacturers can be recalibrated and the vehicle returned to OE specification after a windscreen
replacement. The windscreen of the future will no longer be a piece of glass protecting occupants from the elements and offering structural support for the vehicle. Safety systems are being developed, with driver aids, to help avoid collisions and reduce accidents. NWS was first to market having recalibration stations in fixed sites in the UK and over the past 12 months, NWS has increased its number of fitting centre locations, having identified that more complex glass replacements that require ADAS recalibration cannot be undertaken by mobile technicians correctly and safely. NWS continues to work hard developing a one-stop solution for ADAS-equipped vehicles where a driver can book an appointment, have the work undertaken and the vehicle returned with all equipment calibrated.

4. Which glass repairs can be done via a mobile van, and which need to go to a depot?

The majority of glass repair or replacements can be attended to on a mobile basis, but mobile attendance may on occasions be subject to complexity of fit or adverse weather conditions. The more complex glass requirements will need workshop conditions, especially now that modern vehicles are being equipped with ADAS technology. Vehicles can have several glass specifications options. The technology and expertise at NWS identifies the correct glass part for the vehicle to enable a ‘first time right’ operation. While we at NWS operate an ‘all weather’ fleet of mobile units equipped with canopies, deployment of a canopy can be restricted by not enough space at the vehicle’s location, or by adverse weather conditions.

NWS has always, and will continue to, operate its mobile units from fully managed fitting centres, so that the NWS customer will have all the available options for a first time right service delivery most convenient for them.

Businesses may prefer their supplier to attend at their own site – rental fleets especially prefer this and need their vehicles ready for use and in top condition, so a quick and quality service delivery is essential to their performance and commitment to their clients.

5. How can a fleet minimise vehicle downtime with a glass repair?

Chip damage to a windscreen, if not caught early enough, can result in a more costly replacement (rather than a repair) and more lengthy vehicle downtime. A repair should take on average around 30 minutes and a replacement on average two hours.

Therefore, early detection of repairable windscreen damage is recommended as a time and cost saving solution that is friendlier to the environment.

NWS is often asked to assist in customer employee duty of care days, where we inspect windscreens for any glass damage and advise to the appropriate action.

NWS built its business around a fleet market service provision and understands that to have business vehicles off the road for any time is not only inconvenient but can be costly to any business. At NWS we understand the needs of the business and drivers. Our agents will make the appointment at the most convenient time to driver and business. Where the vehicle is not driveable, unsecure or driver-at-risk will always be treated as an emergency. Direct delivery LCV or HGV fleets have other requirements as they can have time-sensitive delivery slots.

A vehicle off the road for a glass replacement can have contractual consequences with their customers.

NWS has a flexible model to cope with these service demands and will react appropriately to them.

6. What advice should a company give to its drivers to help them look after their windscreen glass?

Our advice would be to check the screen for damage regularly, especially after a stone impact while driving. Even if the screen appears undamaged by the impact, it is advised to inspect the glass carefully.

If the vehicle is old enough for an MOT, remember that a windscreen inspection is part of the test, so check the screen well and in good time before the vehicle is due to arrive at the test centre. A damaged screen may fail the MOT test.

If unsure, call NWS for free advice on 01509 410752 or call into one of our centres.

Always keep the screen clean inside as well as outside at all times, check for damage to screen and wipers and keep washer fluids topped up.

For more information, please call 01509 410752 or email: admin@natwin.co.uk