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Doesn’t Sell, Replace Glass

Cracked Windshields Terril Man’s Livelihood

TERRIL - a Terril man’s business is repairing cracked windshields. He doesn’t install new glass. He repairs laminated glass.

David Soat, who call his one-man operation Dave’s Windshield Repair, uses a liquid plastic mixed with a catalyst to repair many of the most common windshield blemishes.

He says the process he uses, developed by Novus Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., will fix ‘bullseye’ and ‘star’ breaks.

"It only work so on laminated glass," he says. "Laminated lass has a plastic layer sandwiched between two layers of glass."

A Bullseye, the type of break most often caused by a stone or B-B, consists of a tiny pit in the glass. Behind the pit is a conical crack from one-half to one inch in diameter that penetrates to the windshield’s plastic inner layer.

The partial bullseye is similar, but the conical crack resulting from impact is incomplete.

A star break sometimes occurs where there are local stresses in the glass. Radial cracks emanate from the point of impact.

The combination break results extending from the impact point.

To repair the cracks, Soat attaches a three-leg bridge over the pit in the windshield, securing it with suction cups and adjusting it to insure a tight seal around the break.

Then he mixes a liquid plastic with a catalyst and deposits it in the bridge’s cylinder, which is centered over the pit. He applies pressure with the cylinder’s injector piston to force the mixture into the crack. The entire process usually takes about a half-hour, Soat says.

"If you didn’t know it had been repaired you wouldn’t be able to tell," he says.

The process also can save the consumer money. Soat says he charges around $25 to repair a single crack, less per break if the windshield has more than one, more if the break is especially difficult to repair.

"Plus this doesn’t tie the car up for a day or an afternoon," he says.

The plastic mixture has a low viscosity and an affinity for glass that enables it to penetrate into tiny cracks in laminated glass from getting larger after they have been repaired.

Soat, who has been operating his business for about one and one-half months, said he has repaired a in addition to a number of automobiles.

He has been concentrating on selling his service to automobile dealers and acquainting auto insurance agencies with the service.

Soat says he became interested in starting the service after his brother introduced him to the process while Soat was visiting in Michigan recently. His brother is the Novus distributor for Michigan, he says.

"He sold me the kit and trained me how to do it," Soat says. "He got me some little pieces of laminated glass with some breaks in them, and I practiced on them."

If a prospective customer wishes to see how the process works, Soat, who now is the registered Novus repair person for the Estherville-Terril-Spencer area, demonstrates the process on a small piece of laminated glass, he says.

However, he points out that if one looks closely enough, one still can see the pit marking the point of impact even after the cracks have been repaired.

"One thing I want to stress is that it won’t fix it 100 percent," Soat says. "There will still be a little pit. It’s not like a brand, spanking new windshield. It’s a repair. It stops it from growing and getting bigger. Like my brother said, a windshield is to be looked through, not at."

– By Guy

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