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Thread: Windshield replacement; Dealer, shop, or glass service?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Windshield replacement; Dealer, shop, or glass service?

    Hi all. First post here.

    To my horror, I just discovered that my new-to-me 1998 M3 (sil-blk/58k miles/like new/bone stock) has several rock chips in the windshield which have propogated into long cracks. These are all near the bottom edge on the black tint area and are obscured in part by the wipers and dash.

    I'm going to need to replace the windshield, and my problem is that I'm a very talented mechanic-fabricator-restorer-painter etc. etc. and I'm really picky about people touching my car.

    I view a windshield replacement as a pretty traumatic deal; you're violating the factory applied adhesive and sealent, probably not removing all of it, and then gluing in a new glass panel and rubber seals.

    If it were retained by a rubber seal with a insert garnish or trim, I'd do it myself, but glued in glass is a last frontier for me.

    After decades of building cars modified to the edge of being useless on the street, I looked long and hard for my perfect e36 M3 to find one that was utterly OEM, and I'm inclined to keep it that way, so, do I:
    • Go to a stealership, roll the dice, and hiope that I get OEM glass installed so it's just like as-manufactured?
    • Go to an independent repair shop that has a stellar reputation and have OEM parts installed
    • Bank on safety in numbers and have a guy from Safelite or one of the other big auto glass places do the work on the basis that it's all the guy does?
    Any advice regarding a good way to deal with this is appreciated.

    I look forward to meeting local chapter people at Auto-X events and track days.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Clifton, VA
    After many disasters with having windshields replaced by glass companies on other cars I always had my mechanic do it. He did it as a special favor for old customers. He would order the parts to include a new BMW windhsield gasket and windshield from BMW and do it for me. My insurance company would then reimburse him.

    Problem with most glass companies is they do shoddy work and the installers in a lot of cases of recently paroled felons! Found this out from a co worker who used to be a probation officer. And they also get jobs working for car detailers.

    Many after market windhsields and gaskets dont fit properely etc. My old GTI with a bonded in window had all sorts of problems with poor installation and poor materials.

    I expect to have a lot of fun replacing windshields on my Element.

    You know you may be able to do it yourself since you are at least as skilled as some of the installers. Biggest problem according to my mechanic is not breaking the new windshield. Not sure about E36M3s but E30M3s were some of the worst installations according to him.

    Dave Apker

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Arlington, VA
    I had the windshield on my M Coupe replaced by Safelite in Arlington last month. It did not fit right and the following week they replaced it with a different brand of glass - 100% warranty even though the second window cost them about $80 more. I am very satisfied.
    96 328is, 99 M Coupe, 04 330Ci

  4. #4
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Greenville, SC
    I've had windshields replaced by Banner Glass. Very happy with them.
    I've probably had 3 or 4 windshields replaced in my driving career and have never had a problem. I think some dealerships might source out that type of work anyway.
    BMW CCA #146825 |

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Jessup, MD
    very happy with the professional & very service of Safelite in Columbia.
    1995 Hellrot M3........needs more mods

  6. #6
    Senior Member jkuper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    I've had three windshields replaced by Safelite several years ago on my VW/Acura. I think one install had resulted in a minor leak which they took care of the next day. All three were in-shop installs.

    -- Jason

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