By Joe Bruzek on September 10, 2013
Cars.com's 2013 Subaru BRZ long-term tester picked up a serious windshield rock chip on the highway. The rogue rock penetrated a good portion of the glass, and its bull's-eye mark quickly grew to half-dollar-coin size.
Our chances of a cheap repair quickly faded after consulting a few glass repair companies. Many installers don't recommend repairing the windshield if the chip is larger than the diameter of a quarter or if the damage is deep; we were zero for two. We were also worried that a replacement windshield would be hard to find or expensive since the BRZ is relatively new.
That possibility turned into a reality with multiple quotes in the $700-$800 range for a windshield replacement. Pricing the windshield on our 2013 Honda Civic put the cost in perspective: $540 total for installation, parts, labor and tax. Why did we shop around and not just have insurance take care of it? The BRZ's windshield repair didn't meet our comprehensive insurance deductible of $1,000.
Because the repair was out of pocket, we were thrilled when a local glass shop quoted us $100 less than national collision and glass centers. It was too good to be true. We were ready to schedule an appointment but its suppliers couldn't order the factory-quality glass and molding we wanted from Subaru, only the less-expensive aftermarket glass ($200-$300). Yes, it was frustrating, but not the most maddening part of the process.
A national glass and collision center eventually received our business after days of communicating with its off-site, and forgetful, customer service center. After finally getting the glass from Subaru, a mobile glass installer met us at the repair center's physical location for the installation. The repair was completed two weeks after that first call. Dropping $760.52 on a windshield was painful, but a kick to the shin came when the shop misplaced our keys and left the doors unlocked while the car was parked on the street; the installer also left a mess inside the car.
Thankfully, the actual repair work was much better than the customer service. Our complaint was answered immediately by the chain's customer service manager, who apologized via phone. The $760.52 glass replacement puts a sizable ding in the BRZ's total cost of ownership, which you can track below.
Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe