2016 Honda Civic: Cracked Windshield Saga
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on June 7, 2016
"Hey Travis, here are the keys to the Civic. I cracked the windshield, hope you don't mind. See ya later!" That might not be exactly what Editor Brent Romans said when he and I swapped cars last week, but it's pretty much how I remember it.
Brent was driving our long-term 2016 Honda Civic for a week and on a freeway drive back to Los Angeles, a semi-truck kicked up a rock that caused the chip/crack you see here. The crack was big enough that we couldn't repair the windshield, we'd have to replace it, so I started calling around. Hilarity did not ensue.
The first (closest) dealer I called quoted me $804 dollars for the windshield replacement. That included parts and labor. That might seem expensive, but remember that our Civic is a Touring model. That means it has the Honda Sensing package (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, etc.) and rain sensing wipers, both of which require a different, more expensive windshield.
After the quote though, the dealer said the windshield wasn't "available for purchase yet." The earliest they could order the windshield was six weeks (!) away. I thanked the dealership, hung up (thinking they were clearly delusional) and called Safelite.
Safelite has replaced windshields for us before so I figured they'd have something in stock. After all, we've had our Civic for four months, we can't be the only people who've cracked a windshield. Right?
The extremely nice lady on the other end of the phone quoted me $864 for the replacement "plus tax and disposal." Then she told me that the windshield was "limited availability" and that I'd have to come in to a Safelite location. They'd need to take a look at the car before they could replace the windshield. She wasn't sure they had the right one in stock. Confused, I decided to try elsewhere before scheduling an appointment.
So, I called another, much larger Honda dealership. I hoped that they'd have better access to the parts.
New dealer, same story. "The part is $408.99 but it's gonna be on backorder status, 'cause my system doesn't show an ETA. So if I order it, it'll be on backorder." I thanked the backorder gentleman and hung up.
I pulled out the big guns. I called the biggest Honda dealership I knew of in Southern California. If they didn't have it, no one would. "It's going to be $524.35 for the windshield, $18.41 for the top moldings and $5.89 for each of the two side moldings, plus labor. But it's on backorder, so there's no ETA on when we'd get it if we ordered it." The dealer recommended I call their local independent shop, so I took down the phone number and called them next.
"That trim is classified as dealer glass only. We don't have any right now but we have it on order. I can take your phone number and call you back when we get it in?"
I decided to give Safelite another shot. They were the only ones that didn't categorically deny having the windshield. I called back, gave them my details and they confirmed that they had the windshield in stock and set up an appointment. This new rep asked if I wanted to go to the shop or have them come to me. A strange development since the first rep at Safelite didn't think that was possible, but I considered it a stroke of luck and asked for a home install.
They would come to me and the earliest date they could do it was a week away. The windshield would cost $854.95, plus $24.99 home install, plus taxes and disposal fee. Pricey, but really my only option. The rep at Safelite also told me that my local shop would call me and keep me updated.
"Wait, what? Keep me updated on what?" I thought. I vocalized my concern.
During the call, the rep had placed me on hold, called the shop and set up an appointment, but they might not have the right glass. According to her, the Civic's windshield was "not regularly available for the autoglass industry." So, they would call me at some point in the next week to let me know whether the appointment was still on. Generally defeated, I agreed to the appointment and crossed my fingers. Now, I wait and see what happens next.
Travis Langness, Automotive Editor @ 4,545 miles