Getting Estimates for a New Windshield: Part 2 - 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Convertible Long-Term Road Test

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2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Getting Estimates for a New Windshield: Part 2

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on May 17, 2016

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

After a sandstorm wrecked the windshield of our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata, I started shopping around for a replacement. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I reached out to Safelite, Kevin Gaines of Gaines Glass and Santa Monica Mazda to get pricing. Here are paraphrased conversations with each, and who we ended up going with.

Kevin Gaines, Gaines Glass
Me: Kevin, we like the work you did on the Pilot. Did you mention that you also worked with Mazdas?
Him: Yes, I do windshield work for Browning Mazda's dealerships in Cerritos and Alhambra.
Me: Perfect. Can you get me a price on a windshield for a 2016 Mazda Miata? Just a plain windshield, no lane departure warning or rain sensor.
Him: Sure. Text me the VIN and I'll get on it.

-two days later-
Me: Did you get a price on the windshield?
Him: $750 installed.

Me: Can I get a price on an OEM windshield for a 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata?
Her: Sure, but [gives spiel about how Safelite's standard third party glass is just as good as OEM glass]. Do you still want me to get a price for the Mazda windshield?
Me: Yes, please.
Her: The price is $550.
Me: Just making sure, this is an OEM windshield from Mazda for a 2016 Miata, right? Because the price for "OEM-equivalent" glass on your website is $794.95.
Her: Let me have the guys in the warehouse look for it and make sure we have it in stock. We might have to order it through a dealer, which would affect the price.
Me: Great, thanks.

-the next day-
[Voicemail] Her: If we were to order this glass from a dealership, it would take 2-3 business days to get in. With installation, tax, mobile fee and disposal fee, the price is $628.99.

I wanted to use Kevin for several reasons. He did a good job with the Pilot and I knew I could come straight to him if there was a problem. With Safelite, I would get a couple installers with unknown levels of expertise, and if there was a problem with the service I would get another set of randoms showing up to fix the mistake. I also liked the idea of using a small business that I had a relationship with than installers I did not know. Still, it's hard to argue with a price difference of $120. I gave Kevin another shot.

Kevin Gaines
Me: Kevin, I just got a quote from Safelite. With the Pilot, you guys were right about even on pricing so it was easy to choose you. This time, there's a price difference of $120, and their price includes tax. I'd rather go with you, but I need you to come down on the price. Can you do that?
Him: I can do $700, but I can't go any lower.
Me: Let me talk to the guy that can okay that expense, and I'll give you a call back.

Since Vehicle Maestro Mike Schmidt was on vacation, I called Reese to get his opinion. I told him why I preferred Kevin, and he concurred that it was worth an extra $70 to hold somebody personally accountable if anything went wrong. We estimated Schmidt would probably come to the same conclusion. I called Kevin back and told him to move forward with the repair. I set the installation date for the following Thursday

There's a missing piece in this picture, and that's Santa Monica Mazda. Unlike our previous experiences with this dealership, my service advisor ended up being extremely unhelpful and later, totally unresponsive.

Santa Monica Mazda
Me: Hello, I'd like to get pricing on a new windshield for my Miata.
Him: Yes, that'll be $500.

I knew then that the road ahead would be a difficult one with my advisor. Looking back, it is possible the dealership was deep in the throes of a $500 Miata windshield promotion. Any Miata, any windshield. Five hundred bucks.

Me: Great! That's good for a 2016 Miata, right?
Him: Oh, it's a 2016?
Me: ...Yes.
Him: I'll call you back soon to get you a price for that.

-the next day-
I called my advisor. He was busy at the moment, so I left a message with his coworker. She told me my advisor would call back when he was done.

-the next day
Him: Okay, so the price for the windshield replacement is $500.
Me: Awesome! Just to be clear, this is for a 2016 Miata, correct?
Him: Oooooooh, you wanted a windshield for a twenty sixteeeeeeeen Miata?
Me: YES.
Him: I will call back with that.

-the next day-
Me: How much is that Miata windshield?
Him: Okay, we have the windshield at the warehouse. I have a guy down there who will contact me between 11 and 12 today with a price, and I'll let you know.
Me: Great.

And that was the last I heard from my service advisor. As I write this, it's been two full weeks. He has either written me off or was crushed by a stack of $500 Miata windshields. I'll send my condolences and a tasteful Edible Arrangement to Santa Monica Mazda's service department soon.

Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor @ 9,480 miles

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