BACK in August 2002, the previous owner of my Saab 9000 Aero picked up a bad stone chip on his windscreen. These mishaps aren’t exactly an unusual occurence – windows break all the time, due to the roads being rough out there. Given that the structural integrity of one’s car can be compromised by such things, and that it’s also a stringently tested part of the MoT test, our man did the right thing and called the windscreen ‘experts’, Autoglass.
The company’s fitter, Kev, duly turned up a couple of days later with all his equipment, and proceeded to do the best job he could.
Well, that’s what Autoglass’s publicity marketing people would like you to believe. Actually, it would appear that Kev, who worked at the Medway branch of Autoglass on the 4th August 2002, was actually a feckless slacker, who didn’t have the first clue about fitting screens – because he’s done his best to write off this car in order to save himself (and the company, no doubt) a little bit of time and effort. What would appear to have happened is that Kev from Autoglass brought all the wrong bits for a Saab 9000, but by reckless bodgery has managed to ‘get by’, and fit the screen regardless.
Autoglass’s bodgery had resulted in the entire
windscreen aperture corroding…
The screen seal he used was from a Ford Sierra, but thanks to copious amounts of paint-damaging silicone sealant, he managed to man-handle the new Pilkington screen in. Yes, there was plenty of scratching along the way – but the way Kev saw it, no-one’s ever going to see that as it’ll be stuck behind the seal. Not for some time anyway.
Sadly, I’m the poor schmuck who’s become the victim… because when my mate Kyle Roberts removed my cracked screen, the horrible truth was revealed. Yes, Kev’s – and therefore, Autoglass’s – bodgery had resulted in the entire windscreen aperture corroding almost terminally.
The pictures tell you all you need to know – and its fair to say that although the job was completed five and a half years ago, this level of corrosion is way beyond the pale. Should we accept this? Of course not. And yet, every day, through the arrogance and laziness that’s rife in the motor trade, we do just that and accept slack work. I know that the complaint I’ll be sending through to Autoglass will fall on deaf ears – why should they care about such ancient history – but I feel that sitting and doing nothing would justifies this episode that sums up all that’s bad with the motor trade in the UK right now.
So here’s some advice – if you need a new windscreen, try to avoid Autoglass. If you must use them, watch the fitter like a hawk, and ask questions along the way. Yes, the chances are that he’ll do the job properly, but you never know… Kev could be doing it.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.