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Ford Wants Replacement Windshields To Meet Tough Standards

Although there are lots of television ads now pushing glass-installation services and their importance, Ford has launched a new service to ensure that any glass installs meet company standards.

If you have watched any of the major networks in more than the last year, you have seen a windshield glass replacement commercial in one commercial where a young professional was on a trip and stopped to take some photographs. As she drove to the photo site, a rock popped up and put a huge star in the windshield. Of course, she had to have the damage right away because you can't drive with a compromised windshield. It is unsafe as the forward vision is limited and unsafe because the windshield's integrity as body-supporting chassis member is also compromised.

Windshield Ads Making The Rounds

Lately, another ad has been making the rounds of cable and standard TV networks. It shows a father and daughter out for a driver training trip (Dad is showing his daughter a thing or two) when suddenly a stone smashes the windshield. Again, the glass company is notified, and things are fixed within a couple of hours.

The thing about it is that you honestly have to get your windshield fixed if it is badly starred or broken. As noted, it isn't safe for the reasons cited above.

Of course, the ads are pushing a specific windshield glass provider. In this case, it is Safelite, a major national chain. There are others out there that are angling for this business (as cars and trucks remain on the road longer, the chances that the windshield will be compromised are good at one time or another, and so the prospect of replacing the windshield which is not inexpensive is good.)

With that said, Ford wants to make sure that any new windshield or side-window glass installed is factory-certified. So, the automaker has launched the Ford Certified Glass Network (FCGN). According to a recent statement announcing the program, "Ford is putting customers first when it replaces … glass components on a vehicle."

OEM Windshields Built To Meet Standards

Original equipment windshields and glass are built and tested to function as part of a system, providing structural support in an accident and promoting a clear, undistorted vision for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Lane-Keeping, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Braking, Evasive Steering Assist and Auto High-Beam Headlamps.

"The Ford Certified Glass Network supports glass replacement companies who seek to be differentiated in the market by achieving our certification requirements. It is an exciting opportunity for us to work closely with the auto glass repair and replacement industry," says Jennifer Boyer, Director of Strategy and Business, Ford Customer Service Division.

To help ensure that Ford Certified Glass Installers are prepared to meet requirements for quality glass installation, FCGN will require certification that an installer has the glass calibration capabilities to do the work. Benefits to the certified Installer include access to technical repair procedures, calibration coaching, and technical hotline support. Ford also offers industry-leading process coaching for the installation.

"We are excited that the Ford Certified Glass Network will provide a premium solution for the most safety-conscious Ford and Lincoln owner," says Curt Wormington, Carlex Aftermarket Replacement Glass (ARG) Vice President. "By utilizing Ford genuine OEM glass, industry-accepted Auto Glass Replacement Repair Standards (AGRRS), and the utilization of Ford ADAS calibration procedures and tools, this Network will provide a great option for proper installation of genuine Ford OEM glass."

Poor Installations Can Mean Problems

The adverse effects of a poor installation of driving assistance technology happen when an aftermarket windshield cannot duplicate the precise location of the camera attachment brackets on a windshield which often distorts the optical quality of the camera.

Head-Up Display (HUD) uses digital light projection technology to display driving information such as speed, driver-assist features, and navigation onto the windshield. HUD windshields are specifically designed to eliminate secondary HUD images. Aftermarket glass often does not meet the exact stringent specifications as genuine Ford glass.

Ford's OEM glass includes what the company calls its SoundScreen technology. This is a little-discussed feature of OEM auto glass. It; features an acoustically engineered windshield and side glass that features sound-dampening technology within the glass layers to help reduce road, wind, and other exterior noise to maintain the quiet interior ride of the vehicle. This technology goes above and beyond SAE standards, and not using this will result in increased interior noise.

Factory Maintains Its Contact

Other certification requirements are to have ongoing communication with customers during glass installation and a follow-up customer satisfaction survey. Certified installers must also provide a limited lifetime warranty that warrants the repairs done by the Ford Certified Glass Installer against defects in materials and workmanship for as long as the customer that owns the vehicle at the time of repair continues to own the vehicle. The limited lifetime warranty is between the Installer and the customer.

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Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars.  From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc.  You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.