Uh-oh! Did you get a chip in your windshield? Maybe a big crack? You need to know where to go to fix that. But the array of options are bewildering, and you need to hurry. What do you do? Here’s a few tips.
Some car service providers are very widespread, but you still need to know which ones are useful. Safelight will replace your windshield; O’Reilly will not, and neither will Jiffy Lube.
NAPA Auto Parts usually won’t deal with windshields, unless they’re paired with a repair shop, like my favorite repair place is. When combined, they can both do repairs and supply parts—parts for their own repairs and parts for people looking to do their own work.
On the other hand, a car repair shop is going to take longer and cost more to replace your windshield, if they can even do it, because it’s only a small part of what they do. Just like a repair shop will charge more for an oil change than a Jiffy Lube. Many car shops also overcharge their customers, because they know most people aren’t knowledgeable, so it’s best to choose a place you trust.
But what if you’d rather support a small local business?
It’s a lot harder to give a solid opinion on a local windshield replacement company, because there are so many that are so little-known.
Many local businesses are better than the well-known nationwide chains, but it’s very difficult to say which is best for certain. It requires careful effort to examine the upsides and downsides of your individual situation.
I know for a fact that the best windshield replacement place near me is Instaglass, https://www.instaglass.ca/ , in British Columbia. But their company has only spread to two locations so far. For areas I’m less familiar with, I can only offer advice on how to choose, not on what choice is best.
How to Find the Right Windshield Replacement Company
The first place I would start a search is a map website like Google Maps. You can see how many companies are offered in your area and check their reviews. Plus, if you live in a low-population area and there’s only one business within reasonable driving distance, your search is already over!
If you have several options, check reviews. Google reviews are certainly not the be-all and end-all, but they give you a place to start. If one company has a lot of reviews saying the wait time was awful, the people were rude, and their windshield wipers didn’t work after it was done, you know there might be a problem.
Beware of too much positivity as well, though. It’s especially dangerous when there’s only a few reviews—that could mean that they’re fake, or that the company owner tries to get all negative reviews taken down.
The reviews may mention cost, or they may not. They’ll likely only do it in relative terms, saying a service was “fairly expensive” or “competitively priced” without actually giving the price. Don’t worry about that—you can find the price out later.
The last thing to do while you’re looking at a map is check the distance from you. If your time is important to you, it may be best to go to the closest place even if they’re more expensive than one further away. With the current world swirling with business and dozens of errands to do, nobody would blame you.
By this point, you should have narrowed the options down to just a few within a near distance and without any too-horrible reviews. (Maybe there are only a few to begin with.) At this point, you might want to start calling the phone numbers listed and talking to the receptionists. Ask what it costs and how long it takes.
If the people on the phone are inconsiderate, busy, or flustered, it’s a pretty fair bet that’s what the shop will be like when you arrive. Do they treat you like they care about your business, or are they rude, or slow to pick up? You may arrive to find that nobody seems to care, or that the shop is so busy they won’t get to your car for hours.
You can find the best place near you with the best service. Good luck! Just remember to do it before your windshield cracks any further.