A cracking result
A damaged windscreen has put our Puma out of action – but happily we found some experts to fix our Ford
CHRIS HOPE I’ve been with the CCW team long enough to know that if there is a consistent favourite among our three £500 Challenge cars, then it’s the Puma. That being the case, everyone was gutted to discover that an innocuous-looking stone chip in the offside top corner of the windscreen had become a crack that encroached on the driver’s peripheral vision – a potential MoT failure.
So, seizing the ideal opportunity to get into everybody’s good books, I fired off an email to Autoglass, which was only too happy to show off its skills – even if they were to be demonstrated on a bargain basement Blue Oval coupé.
First, I was impressed by how quickly Autoglass managed to source a replacement OE-quality screen. The Puma is by no means an uncommon car, but the fact remains that it’s been out of production for the past 15 years. And yet, Autoglass soon arranged for a replacement screen to arrive the following week via its sister company, Laddaw (which distributes replacement vehicle glass). Technical trainer Matthew Redding gave the car a detailed pre-inspection before carrying out any of the work.
It’s worth pointing out that Matthew arrived in his smaller training van, and not the larger Ford Transit that customers can usually expect to see, the latter complete with a built-in extendable canopy ( known as a Vanbrella) for all-weather work, plus additional lighting that allows technicians to work well into the early evening over winter. It’s at this time of the year that Autoglass usually receives the greatest number of callouts, as a result of the adverse effects of frost on our roads.
I asked Matthew whether working on a slightly older car posed any challenges over working on a newer car. Apparently not, as a lack of technology makes this a relatively straightforward job. Many more modern cars come with ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) which support safety features such as autonomous emergency braking and lane deviation warnings, all of which help to prevent collisions. Following a windscreen replacement, Autoglass has to recalibrate the cameras that these systems rely on in order for them to work properly. Our Puma, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a heated windscreen.
The Puma’s screen is bonded in place and Matthew has the perfect bit of kit for removing it. The EziWire tool is a bit like a wire cheese cutter; it attaches to the inside of the windscreen and, after making an insertion at the base of the screen and feeding the wire around its entire edge, rotating a handle draws the wire through the seal so that the screen can be easily lifted out. Once Matthew had prepared the surface with primer, he applied fresh polyurethane glue to the ’screen before precisely manoeuvring the new one in place. And, hey presto! It took Matthew around two hours to replace our Puma’s windscreen, but that was with me pestering him with questions, and having him pause between jobs so I could take photos. In reality, a job like this takes about an hour or so – especially in the late spring heat, which allows the glue to cure much more quickly; typical curing time is 30 minutes, which Matthew assures me is the fastest in the business. Best of all, the Puma’s back on the road!
A special fibre wire designed to protect interior plastic trim is used to cut through the old seal.
The old ‘screen comes out – thankfully the area under the windscreen is corrosion-free.