APPROVED BY MOST MAJOR INSURANCE

Tips For Driving Safely On Icy Roads

auto-accidentLong before the first winter storm hits, every American worries about snowy roads, power outages and ice. It is not just a natural dislike of snow shovels and frigid temperatures. Winter weather creates real dangers for motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death during winter storms. If you are lucky, you may only have to call a Houston auto glass repair company to fix your cracked windshield. If you are not so fortunate, you could total your car, sustain injuries or never make it to your destination. That is why it is important to exercise caution when driving on winter roads. If you have to leave home during this current winter storm, follow these tips.

Even an experienced driver can go off the road or have an accident in adverse conditions. Safe driving starts with good equipment. Here in Texas, it is rare for drivers to invest in snow tires or studs. If you are using three-season tires, they need to have excellent tread. Woody Rogers, an expert from Tire Rack, asks customers to consider the worst conditions that they will have to drive through during the winter. If your tires are worn, do not wait to replace them. Low tread becomes more apparent in cold temperatures when the rubber hardens and loses its gripping ability. Likewise, it is smart to invest in new windshield wipers and pick up a gallon of windshield washer fluid that resists freezing.

Good preparation is important if you need to drive on winter roads. Before you leave home, you should check your lights and take the time to clear snow and ice from your vehicle. If you do not, sheets of ice and snow could fly from your car and damage another driver’s windshield. Companies that specialize in auto glass in Houston recommend that customers carry ice scrapers in their cars at all times. If you have been driving on wet roads, check your brakes. Wet brakes have very little stopping power. In extreme conditions, precipitation can instantly freeze on your brakes and cause you to lose control. This type of situation can happen anywhere.

Emergencies happen. Understanding how to handle skids and hazardous conditions is critical. It is easy to panic when you lose control of your vehicle. If you feel that your front or rear tires have lost traction, remove your foot from the gas pedal immediately. This will slow your vehicle and minimize the skid. If you have not regained control, gently turn the wheel into the skid. Never turn away or overcorrect. This can cause you to spin out or go off the road.

Driving teachers warn that modern safety features give motorists a false sense of security. Putting too much confidence in electronic stability controls and all-wheel or four-wheel drive is one of the most common mistakes. In extreme conditions, these systems have very little effect, especially if you are driving too fast. Four-wheel drive, for example, increases forward traction, but it cannot help you turn corners or stop on icy roads.

In Houston, we are lucky to have nice weather for most of the year, but we still experience severe winter storms that bring ice, slush and freezing rain. To stay safe, always turn your lights on to increase visibility. Pay special attention to bridges and overpasses because they can be icy when other parts of the road are dry. Anticipate curves and hills by braking or slowing down early. Remember that black ice often occurs several days after a storm when water has had a chance to melt and refreeze. Following these winter weather driving tips will ensure your safety and hopefully prevent you from calling a Houston mobile windshield repair company or having an accident.

Posted in Driving Safety | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Tips For Driving Safely On Icy Roads

The Primary Causes of Windshield Cracks

windshieldsThe windshield of your car or truck provides clear visibility of the road ahead of you and offers significant structural support for your entire vehicle. It can also serve as a protective barrier in a collision. Maintaining your windshield in an intact condition can ensure greater safety on the road and can provide you with a clear field of vision to help you spot hazards and avoid them more easily. Enlisting the help of a Houston windshield repair company can help you stop minor cracks and chips from becoming major hazards. Here are five of the most common reasons for minor and major windshield cracks.

Changes in Temperature

Many cracks are caused by extreme changes in temperature that occur when vehicles go from frigid outside air to heated indoor spaces or vice versa. Some cracks start during defrosting and are the result of temperature differentials between various areas of auto glass. These cracks often start at the edge of the windshield and spread to create straight lines across the width of the glass. This can reduce the ability of windshields to protect passengers inside the vehicle and may obstruct visibility for drivers on the road. Extremely hot or cold temperatures alone can also cause cracks in some cases.

Bumps in the Road

Especially for older windshields or those with existing damage, potholes and bumps can present real risks. These minor impacts can create a small crack or a network of cracks that can severely limit visibility and can reduce the protective capability of the windshield if a serious accident should occur. Repairing small cracks quickly can prevent them from spreading and can help vehicle owners avoid the expense of full Houston windshield replacement.

Collisions

Even minor fender-benders can put pressure on your windshield and may lead to stress cracks or imperfect seals along the edges. This can result in incorrect seating of the windshield that can lead to cracking or air leaks. After any accident, it is essential to get an inspection from a qualified Houston auto glass repair company to ensure optimal protection for drivers and passengers on the road. For major damage, however, a full windshield replacement may be required to ensure optimal visibility and safety after a serious accident.

Road Debris

Even a tiny pebble can cause a large crack when propelled with force against a windshield. Driving behind an 18-wheeler or other large truck with dual wheels can increase the risk of this type of damage, especially on gravel roads or in areas with high levels of sand or debris on the roadway. For small chips and cracks, a professional Houston windshield repair can stop the spread of spider web cracking and can ensure the greatest degree of structural integrity for your vehicle.

Poor Installation

Windshields can sometimes crack as a result of poor installation practices and workmanship during initial installation or replacement. Working with an established Houston windshield replacement company can help consumers avoid problems associated with questionable auto glass repair companies that operate out of a van or truck and typically cannot be located when problems arise. By choosing a reputable firm with brick-and-mortar locations in the Houston area, vehicle owners can ensure that their windshield repair or replacement requirements will be performed correctly and that the company will be available to perform any needed adjustments to ensure maximum longevity and reliability.

In most cases, repairing minor cracks and chips quickly can prevent them from expanding to become serious visibility issues. If a full windshield replacement is necessary, working with a trusted Houston auto glass repair company can allow you to stay safer on the road while ensuring the highest degree of durability for you and your passengers on Texas streets and highways.

Posted in Windshield Cracks and Chips | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Primary Causes of Windshield Cracks

How Automobile Power Windows Work

window-tint-beforeHouston windshields often develop cracks as we drive along the highways. To prevent these cracks from growing larger, your vehicle will need to go to a Houston auto glass repair professional as soon as possible. If you are concerned about time, a Houston mobile auto glass repair technician can come to your home or office to perform the repairs.

You may also have a problem with your automatic windows, but you will be able to have these repaired as well. First, you might wish to learn what causes your windows to move up and down so that you can be an educated consumer. The explanation below gives you a clear picture of what happens when you push the buttons to close or open your windows.

How Power Windows Work

Manufacturers started to add the power window technology to their vehicles in the 1970s, and it is comprised of four basic components. The most important part is the battery. Your vehicle has a power distribution box underneath the hood, and this box receives energy from the battery. A large wire transmits power from the battery to the power distribution box, but smaller wires conduct energy to the vehicle’s other systems. One of these is the ignition switch.

Automatic windows obtain their power from the ignition, so when the energy runs from the battery to the power distribution box to the ignition switch, the automatic windows have the potential to receive energy. With this being the case, the windows cannot be opened unless the key is in the ignition and someone turns it toward the “on” position.

Your vehicle has an instrument panel, and the fuse block is usually located underneath this panel. After power reaches the ignition switch, it travels to a fuse within the fuse box. Then, the energy finally reaches the door after it moves through an opening in the door jamb to an electrical switch located within the door.

The electrical switch is known as a “jumper wire” that causes the two sets of wire circuits to close so that the window’s motor can function. For example, when you push the button up to close your window, the electrical switch temporarily closes one set of wires, but pushing the window down causes the jumper wire to temporarily close the other set of wires. This mechanism is what allows the motor to move in different directions.

Next, energy travels down the wires to the power window’s motor. This motor contains an output shaft that will either turn clockwise or counterclockwise. This motion turns a small gear that subsequently comes in contact with a larger gear. The larger gear is shaped like a 90-degree portion of a circle, and it causes an instrument that is something like a pair of scissors located at the bottom of the glass window to rotate. This causes the scissor-like instrument to move the window up or down.

Safety Features

Automatic windows are relatively safe. According to kidsandcars.com, they are only responsible for 57 deaths in the past 23 years. However, 2,000 people have been injured by power windows in 2012 alone, and half of those injured were kids. The problem is with older technology. Older vehicles have “toggle switches” and “rocker switches,” and when a child accidentally depresses one of these older levers, the window can close quickly and cause injury.

New technology eliminates the fear of accidental injury. The latest is a “lever switch,” and it requires that people pull rather than push to close the window. Passenger vehicles have been required to have this new technology since October of 2010. Furthermore, some vehicles have reversing systems that cause the window to automatically run in the opposite direction when it detects an obstacle in the path of the closing window.

Posted in Power Windows | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How Automobile Power Windows Work

How to Know If A Windshield Crack Can Be Repaired

cracks-chipsYou may have a crack in your windshield, but it remains intact. This is because your windshield is made of three different layers. The middle plastic layer is added to keep the outer layers in place in the event of an accident. Although the windshield stays where it belongs, this does not mean that you can avoid the need for a Houston windshield repair or replacement.

The Size of the Damage

Unfortunately, you cannot always take advantage of Houston auto glass repair. In some cases, you will have no choice but to have the windshield replaced. How can you tell the difference?

In general, a chip that is no longer than one inch and a crack that is a maximum six inches long can be repaired. However, manufacturers are always making advances in this technology, and it is possible for professionals to repair cracks that are as long as 18 inches.

The Type of Damage

Whether or not damage can be repaired also depends on the type of crack that has impacted your windshield. For example, the following types of cracks are easy for professionals to repair:

• Circular or half-circular cracks
• Cracks with only small missing pieces of glass
• Short radial cracks

Generally, if the crack can be covered by a quarter, glass technicians do not have any trouble repairing them. Houston windshields that have several cracks may need to be replaced.

The Location of the Damage

The third consideration is the crack’s location. After a crack has been repaired, you will be able to see the remnants of it. Therefore, if it is within your line of sight, you will not be able to see as clearly. A crack that is outside of your line of sight may be able to be repaired if it is not located on the edge of the windshield. These cracks weaken the windshield’s bond to the surrounding metal frame and endanger the occupants of the vehicle due to the compromised integrity of the glass.

It will be impossible to even consider repairing a crack under the following circumstances:

• The damage is located on the inside of the windshield
• There is deep damage within both layers of the windshield
• The internal radio antenna or rain sensor is also damaged
• The cracks have been contaminated

Have Your Windshield Assessed by a Professional

The best thing you can do if you have a crack or a chip in your windshield is have it assessed by a professional. A glass technician is trained to tell you when it is safe to repair a crack or a chip and when it is within your best interests to have the windshield replaced. Heat and wind can cause damage to a windshield to get worse. To protect against this possibility, cover the chip or crack with tape until you can make an appointment with the nearest glass technician.

If your technician determines that the windshield can be repaired, this work should not take more than 40 minutes. A replacement, on the other hand, will require between 30 and 60 minutes of your time.

Remember that you must have this evaluation done as soon as possible because a crack can grow at a very fast rate. It will be impossible to have it repaired if it grows longer than 18 inches. You will not be able to relax and take your time if you only have a chip in your windshield because dust and water can collect inside the chip and cause even more damage. This will make a repair untenable and an expensive replacement necessary.

Posted in Windshield Cracks and Chips | Tagged , , | Comments Off on How to Know If A Windshield Crack Can Be Repaired

Tips and Tricks to Deice Your Windshield

windshield1While Houston is renowned for its warm weather most of the year, the change in seasons can come with a few surprises. During cold snaps, drivers should be prepared for the possibility of ice on their windshield. Ice must be properly removed in order to prevent the need for Houston auto glass repair.

To deal with the ice this winter, consider the following tips and tricks.

Tried and True

If you have no other resources, the first step is to start your car. By starting the engine, the car will start to warm up. With enough heat, ice will begin to melt. In order to speed the process up, be sure to turn the heat up as high as it will go, and put the fan speed to maximum. Many cars will have a heating option that directs air to the windshield, which can increase the efficiency of this tried and true approach.

Once the car has been running in this manner for several minutes, turn your attention to the exterior of the glass. If the layer of ice is thin enough, it may be possible to start the windshield wipers right away. However, frozen wipers can break or damage the glass, leaving you in need of Houston windshield replacement. Instead, get out of the car, and start by using a soft bristle brush or soft cloth to clean away any ice from the wipers.

Once the wipers are clean, clear the softened ice from the rest of the window. In some cases, the same soft bristle brush may work, but ice scrapers are often a better choice. Though some people will use CDs, credit cards or keys to scrape their windshield, this can damage both the windshield and the item in question. When enough ice is cleared away, get back in the car and start the wipers to finish the job. Make sure you can see out all the windows before starting on your journey.

An Ounce of Prevention

While the tried and true approach works, it is time consuming. The best way to deice your windshield quickly is to prevent ice from accumulating. One of the best prevention methods is to simply cover your windshield when ice is forecasted. Some people invest in specialized windshield covers, which are designed to fit exactly around the window. Many will also have suction cups to make them easier to adhere. However, a lightweight tarp or thick sheet can also be used for a similar effect.

Once this type of cover is in place, it must simply be removed. Any ice that has accumulated will be on the cover, which means you will have a clean and clear windshield with no hassle and no time wasted.

A Formula for Success

In addition to these approaches, there are also a number of deicing fluids that are available to make the process even more effective. Some deicing fluids are designed to be added during the warming up process since they make ice melt faster. However, there are also options that can be used proactively, coating the windshield in advance to prevent buildup before it begins.

This is the simplest solution, but it can also be the most expensive. It is possible to make homemade deicing solutions that are just as effective. Many formulas involve two parts rubbing alcohol with one part water. Isopropyl alcohol mixed with dish soap can also be an effective choice to minimize deicing troubles.

No matter which approach you choose, there is no reason to be wary of ice this winter. With these techniques, it is easy to get through winter and protect your auto glass Houston for years to come.

Posted in Windshield Deicing | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Tips and Tricks to Deice Your Windshield

The Newest Technology for Auto Safety

bmwWhen it comes to car safety, we have come a really long way. That is music to car buyers’ ears, and auto manufacturers are well aware that offering the latest and best safety features helps to boost sales. As a result, new automotive safety features are rolling out all the time. In many ways, however, the windshield is your first line of defense, so it pays to know a reputable place for auto glass Houston repair and service. When the time comes to buy a new car, be sure to look for one that includes at least a few of the latest automotive safety features:

  • Active Blind Spot Protection – Blind spot warning systems have been around for a while, but manufacturers like BMW are upping the ante with active blind spot protection. This technology not only provides visual warnings on the side mirrors but causes the steering wheel to vibrate if you decide to try and switch lanes anyway.
  • Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection – It definitely pays to be able to see clearly in the dark, but while driving, it is not so easy to tell the difference between humans and animals. BMW once again leads the charge here with night vision with pedestrian detection, which identifies and assesses the direction and position of a pedestrian and warns you if someone is approaching or crossing your path.
  • Parental Controls – If you are a parent, you are probably already familiar with parental controls for TVs and Internet browsers. With MyKey, Ford now allows you to program specific keys so you can put limits on the speed a car can attain. You can also set limits on how high the volume of the stereo can go, which goes a long way toward reducing distraction while behind the wheel. As an added bonus, you can program the key so that teens cannot disable safety features like traction control.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control – Cruise control is fairly ubiquitous in modern vehicles. Adaptive cruise control improves upon this long-running technology by using radar technology to maintain an appropriate distance from other vehicles on the road. You still set the desired speed, but the car automatically slows down if another car cuts in front of you or if the traffic ahead slows down.
  • Cross Path Detection System – This technology has been developed by Chrysler. Radar sensors in the rear end of the car detect if vehicles are about to cross into your path. Indicator lights in the side mirrors alert you to these vehicles, and the appropriate side lights up to ensure you know which way to look. An alarm also sounds, which further decreases the odds of accidentally side-swiping or otherwise getting into a collision on the road.
  • Attention Assist – Mercedes-Benz has outdone itself with this feature, which assesses a driver’s actions to detect if they are too fatigued to drive. This technology basically memorizes your typical driving habits to form a baseline and then tracks unusual actions that could suggest fatigue. It then sounds an alert so you know that you may be too tired to be behind the wheel.
  • Cameras – Rear-view cameras have been popular for some time, but many automakers are going above and beyond as of late. Infiniti’s AroundView, for instance, offers a 360-degree view around the entire vehicle. BMW’s Multicamera System warns of oncoming traffic and other obstacles on in-dash or head-up windshield displays. With cameras doing the looking for you, the odds of needing new Houston windshields or other repairs should drop precipitously.

If you are not in the market for a new vehicle, there are still things you can do to maximize safety behind the wheel. Even the tiniest windshield crack demands immediate attention, and a Houston mobile auto glass repair service can quickly and conveniently take care of it for you. By staying on top of your auto maintenance, being a conscientious driver and availing yourself of the latest auto safety features and technologies, your time behind the wheel will be safer and more enjoyable.

Posted in Auto Safety | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Newest Technology for Auto Safety

New Technology to Replace Windshield Wipers

windshieldsThe very first “horseless carriages” in Houston did not come equipped with windshield wipers for a very simple reason — they had no windshields. Drivers wore goggles to protect their eyes from dust, which was a common problem in an era when few roadways were paved. However, this solution offered no protection from bugs, rain or wind, so automakers soon began to add innovations such as windows, roofs and windshields. These features made it easier for drivers to operate their vehicles in inclement weather, but they also spawned the need for windshield wipers and Houston auto glass repair.

The first windshields began appearing in the U.S. around 1919. Early wipers were operated by a hand crank that could be turned by the driver or a passenger. Automatic wiper systems began appearing soon after, but other than a few refinements, such as intermittent wipers and variable speeds, the basic principles have remained the same.

Recently, however, McLaren Automotive announced that it is developing a new technology that has attracted great interest among Houston windshield replacement firms. Instead of relying on wipers that sweep across the glass, the new technology uses ultrasonic waves to clear water droplets and debris from the glass. This same principle has been applied to military aircraft for years, and the results have been excellent.

Although McLaren has been understandably guarded when describing exactly how the system will work, engineers outside of the company have been busily postulating theories. Over the past few decades, several patents have been issued for wiperless ultrasonic systems using different techniques. McLaren will likely choose the best features from each to develop its system, but it may consist of a series of sensors and transducers strategically placed around the windshield or sandwiched between panes of glass. The vibration of the sound waves could be adjustable, allowing sensors to automatically detect the difference between a drop of rain and a bird dropping, for example, and boost output to dislodge larger objects.

Despite the intriguing possibilities offered, however, the new technology may not be available to auto manufacturers and Houston auto glass repair shops anytime soon. Federal safety regulations require all vehicles to have a system for wiping windshields that has a minimum of two speeds or frequencies and is power-driven. Technically, ultrasonic windshield systems do not meet this standard. Obtaining a change in the regulations would require filing a petition requesting a change — which has not yet been done — or waiting until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can conduct its own research and collect sufficient data to determine that such a change is needed.

Although it might sound far-fetched to think that Houston windshield repair firms — as well as U.S. automakers — may be denied access to McLaren’s new technology, similar precedents exist. For example, Audi cannot offer its Matrix LED headlights on vehicles sold in the U.S. although they are available in other countries. The system is comprised of multiple LED bulbs that brighten or dim individually according to what sensors and cameras detect in front of the vehicle. U.S. federal regulations require vehicles to be equipped with headlights that have dedicated low- and high-beam settings. Since Audi’s system is variable rather than dedicated, it does not meet the requirements as stated in the regulation.

McLaren still has much work ahead to bring its “ultrasonic force field” to the U.S. market. The first step, of course, is to perfect the technology. The wiperless system is still a work in progress, and as yet the company has not held a public unveiling to demonstrate precisely how the technology will work. Until the system is fully developed, the company cannot state with any accuracy how economical the new technology will be, which is certain to influence how wide-spread its acceptance will be. Lastly, someone — either McLaren or the automotive industry — will likely have to campaign to have federal regulations changed to allow U.S. vehicles to utilize the new technology.

Despite the challenges, however, there is a distinct possibility that American drivers may have the new technology available within the next few years. For all drivers who have experienced the reduced visibility offered by streaked windshields, been frustrated by the need to repeatedly change wiper settings to adjust to changes in precipitation or endured the annoying noise made by wipers in use, McLaren’s system could be a welcome change.

Posted in Windshield Wipers | Tagged , , | Comments Off on New Technology to Replace Windshield Wipers

The Latest Developments in Windshield Technology

windshield1In the coming years, more and more people are going to be heading to Houston auto glass repair companies with windshields that have heads-up displays (HUDs) and other new types of technology that are being created as we head towards 2015 and beyond.

Many of the more impressive advancements are being applied to Jaguar Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque. In fact, the company recently announced that it has added the world’s first laser holographic HUD to this vehicle as an option that costs about $1,600 and is available in most markets. One of the primary benefits of using a holographic display is that it helps eradicate the negative impact that the sun’s glare had on previous HUDs.

Probably the most useful aspect of this feature is the ability to see how fast the vehicle is traveling without needing to look away from the road and down to the dashboard. Some of the other vital pieces of information that can be shown on these windshields include cruise control status, gear position, navigation and traffic data and system warnings. What is shown, how bright it is and its vertical position on the windshield is fully customizable to meet the driver’s preferences.

“Land Rover is committed to preventing the risk of accidents by reducing driver distraction,” Murray Dietsch, Jaguar Land Rover’s programs director, said when this feature was announced in September. “By presenting key driver information in this way and removing the need for the driver to look away from the road ahead, HUD is an important step on the journey to delivering Land Rover’s vision of the intelligent car of the future.”

This company is also working on other exciting new features to add to HUDs being displayed on Houston windshields and throughout the world.

The transparent bonnet, which will prove especially useful for those driving SUVs, features the ability to essentially look through the dashboard and engine to the ground directly below and in front of the car’s headlights. This will help the driver determine just where rocks and other dangerous things are located and determine how driving around or over them can be safely done.

Another feature would allow drivers who are in the midst of or are about to experience dense traffic to receive useful suggestions intended to communicate the best way to navigate through or around this traffic and more quickly reach the desired destination. Additionally, the windshield could also include rear view mirror images, which would reduce how often the driver needs to look away from the road in front of them.

Some of the other advances in HUD technology may not benefit those simply looking to drive to and from places like school, work and the store, but they are perfect for performance drivers as well as those simply looking for even more information to be displayed to them while on the road. Examples of these features include the ability to engage in ghost car racing and see racing lines and virtual cones.

These exciting advancements have their origins in World War II. At that time, HUDs proved essential for pilots as the amount of time that it took to look down at the controls, even if it was a split second, sometimes proved to be just long enough for another pilot to shoot at that plane and take away that pilot’s ability to react quickly enough or to have taken the first shot himself.

Houston windshield repair companies started seeing windshields with HUDs on sport and luxury cars about 30 years ago. However, many of the major advancements in the field have occurred over the past several years.

Posted in Windshield Facts | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Latest Developments in Windshield Technology

Automobile Power Window Safety for Children

window-tint-beforeIf your automobile’s windshield is cracked or damaged, you are probably aware of the importance of having a Houston windshield replacement or repair service take care of it to help prevent an injury. This is especially true if you have children and are concerned about the harm they could suffer if the glass broke or impaired visibility due to windshield damage caused you to get into an accident. However, while a professional Houston auto glass repair company can resolve issues with your windshield, your children may still be in danger in your automobile if you have power windows.

The Hidden Danger Of Power Windows

Power windows seem pretty innocuous and are a fairly convenient feature for many vehicles. However, due to the way the switches that control when windows go up and down, children who are leaning out of a window may be able to accidentally press the button or switch that makes a window go up. Since 1990, nearly 40 children have died as a result of this design flaw, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 400 people annually end up needing medical treatment for accidents related to power windows.

Power windows can exert up to 80 pounds of upward force although only about 10 ponds are needed to overcome the weight of glass. The rest of the force is then applied to whatever happens to be between the window and the top of the door, which can be children’s fingers, limbs or even their neck.

There are two fairly simple ways to nearly eliminate the risks associated with children and power windows: change the way that switches are designed and/or add autoreverse sensors, like the ones that are used in automatic garage doors. Three of the most common types of power window switches are rocker switches, which move back and forth to raise and lower glass, toggle switches, which are pulled or pushed, and lever switches, which are safe because they require you to pull up to make the window go up.

Lack Of Safety Regulations

In 2000 in Europe, lawmakers passed legislation that required automakers to manufacture vehicles with safety switches no later than 2003. As a result, 80 percent of European automobiles have auto-reverse mechanisms. However, in the United States, less than 10 percent of vehicles sold by GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have this feature. In spite of frequent calls by safety organizations to the NHTSA to impose regulations similar to European ones, the government organization resists doing so.

According to the NHTSA, the costs of requiring these safety measures outweigh the potential benefits, but according to industry experts, features would only cost around $10 per window or $40 per vehicle. In fact, while U.S. automakers are still using unsafe switches in new vehicles, many foreign automakers have already adopted newer and safer controls of their own accord.

What You Can Do

Since it does not look like automakers will be compelled to ensure that safer power window switches are standard any time soon, you have a few options for ensuring the safety of your children. The simplest method is to use a power window lock feature if your vehicle has one. This feature can lock down power windows and prevents passengers from rolling windows up or down, and since repeated use of power windows can wear out window motors prematurely, doing this may save you a trip to a Houston auto glass repair shop.

If your vehicle does not have this feature, your best option is to make sure that you do not leave children alone in a vehicle with the keys in the car. When it comes time to purchase a new automobile, consider looking for one that has the safer power window switches or at least has a master power window control system.

Posted in Power Windows | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Automobile Power Window Safety for Children

The Evolution of the Windshield Wiper

windshieldsWhen you are looking for a reliable company specializing in Houston auto glass repair, you are probably not giving much thought to your windshield wipers, but this is the perfect time to consider replacing the blades. Windshields and windshield wipers are among those inventions that most of us take for granted until they become damaged and necessitate Houston windshield replacement. However, both windshields and wipers hold a long and interesting history.

Windshields were first developed when automobiles came into use. Horse-drawn carriages and buggies did not require windshields, but cars, on the other hand, could move at much faster speeds. Windshields were required to keep not only wind but also debris and bugs out of the eyes of drivers and passengers.

Although installing windshields solved several problems, the practice created a new one: not being able to see because of rain and dirt. At first, drivers would carry rags, strips of cloth or even potatoes, carrots and wads of tobacco that were used to periodically clean windshields, but in 1902, Mary Anderson of Alabama had a very practical idea.

While visiting New York City, she noticed a trolley driver struggling to keep his windshield clear during a bout of sleet. By the following year, she had developed a contraption that consisted of a lever, an arm and a rubber blade that could be manipulated from inside a vehicle to clear the windshield. At the same time, a man in the U.K., John Henry Apjohn, invented a system that cleaned windshields with brushes.

Neither Anderson’s invention nor Apjohn’s became very popular, and new cars continued to have problems with dirty windshields until a fateful day in Buffalo in 1917. On a particularly rainy night, John R. Oishei collided with a bicyclist as he was driving his National Roadster. Although the bicyclist was not seriously injured, Oishei decided that he would do something to help prevent such accidents in the future.

Soon after the accident, Oishei enlisted the help of John W. Jepson, a retired electrical engineer who had previously designed a manually operated windshield squeegee called the Rain Rubber. Together, Oishei and Jepsen formed the Tri-Continental Corporation (TRICO), patented the device and began to manufacture it. The Rain Rubber was a success, and TRICO became the leading supplier of windshield wipers in the United States.

In 1922, windshield wiper technology was furthered by William Folberth, who is credited with inventing the first motorized wipers. These pneumatic wipers used the vacuum from the intake manifold to move across the windshield, but the speed of the wipers was irrevocably linked to the speed of the car. Three years later, TRICO bought Folberth’s company for $1 million.

While pneumatic wipers were all the rage in the United States, Bosch invented windshield wipers that operated via an electric motor, and by the 1950s, these electric wipers were a standard feature in nearly every automobile.

For more than a decade, electric windshield wipers remained unchanged, but in 1962, Robert Kearns invented a new type of wiper that he modeled after human eyelids. Because people only blinked intermittently, Kearns thought that windshield wipers should do the same, and intermittent power wipers were first installed on a 1962 Ford Galaxie.

Shortly after demonstrating his wipers to Ford executives, Ford and Chrysler both developed versions of intermittent wipers, but Kearns filed a lawsuit for patent infringement and was eventually awarded $29 million in damages.

The state-of-the-art windshield wipers used for many vehicles today were developed in the 1990s and introduced by Cadillac. These wipers incorporate infrared sensors to detect when rain is on the windshield.

When seeking Houston mobile auto glass repair, do not neglect your windshield wipers. It is recommended that you change the blades frequently for best results.

Posted in Windshield Wipers | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Evolution of the Windshield Wiper
 
Translate »