At Auto Curators we offer the finest indulgence in car care and vehicle detailing. We have an established reputation for outstanding quality and results. It’s for that reason that when we partner with other businesses, we select our third-party service providers very carefully. When it comes to a glazing specialist there’s only one person we go to — Paul Ralhan from GLASSTEC Automotive.
As an automotive glazing specialist, Paul works differently to many of the mainstream service providers in the market. GLASSTEC Automotive works on tailoring a service suited to the client’s needs. Services include anything that requires attention to detail. From the white-glove handling of a classic or vintage car to full photo documentation of a car with provenance.
So, we caught up with Paul to bring you a little more detail about his background and how he helps his clients.
An interview with an Automotive Glazing Specialist:
How long have you been in the business, and how did you get there?
I feel like I have been involved with cars for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of anything windscreen-related is spending hours as a seven-year-old pretending to drive my dad’s Austin A40 which was ‘VOR-ed’ after its (zone toughened windscreen) caved in when a drunken yob threw a brick at it — eventually nailing down a job with a car builder 20 years later just made it official.
In a nutshell, what services do you offer?
As an automotive glazing specialist, I offer windscreen and vehicle glass repair and replacement services.
Where are you based?
Essentially, I work from home. That said, it’s not as WFHing as others might see it. I’m always in work mode, and there is no on/off switch. I’m always conversing with car enthusiasts and networking to keep abreast with what is happening in and around the industry. Clients book jobs via email or through my mobile phone, and I organise my day, week or month according to area, urgency or complexity of the job. I have no real defined areas, but most of my work is within Greater London and the Home Counties. The more specialist work (such as Porsche, TVR and Ferrari) take me up and down the country. I’ve even ‘almost’ gone international after a recent commission to glaze a Porsche 993 in La Corbière, Jersey!
In recent years what innovations have most affected your industry and how you work?
The Automotive Glass Replacement industry is ever-evolving. Car manufacturer development and end-user demand (such as quicker Safe Drive-Away times after installation) drive this evolution. In the main, the processes are not much different, but we’ve seen tools refined as technicians gain a better understanding of how cars are built.
What do consumers need to be aware of when it comes to insurance and replacement or repair of windscreens?
This question is a tricky one to answer concisely as the insured-loss sector if the industry is very competitive. An estimated 75% of cars on the road have insurance for glass damage under Comprehensive Insurance. The problem is that much of the policies bought are price-driven by a legal requirement to be insured; it’s a panic purchase for many.
Tap in ‘car insurance’ into your preferred search engine and within a fraction of a second, you will be bombarded with countless offers of ‘cheap’ insurance by all-singing and all-dancing advertisers and comparison websites. They are all pitching for the same business.
Some details – in this case windscreen cover – go undiscussed and will remain so until there is a call to use that cover and this is when the consumer is usually faced with the terms and conditions about restrictions (on how much is paid towards the claim and who can be used to carry out the work). The issue with this is that the FCA issue strict guidelines for a proposing agent to disclose such salient points before policy inception (the idea being that the consumer can, therefore, make an informed decision about that proposal). The consumer is not always made aware of this until a claim is triggered, sometime after agreeing to the terms.
This is *the* most covered subject in my blog and without doubt, the one I bang my drum the loudest about on car forums all over the internet.
Which vehicles do you love working with, and which do you dread?
Without a second thought, German cars are usually well-engineered and thought out in terms of their construction. With rare exception, any German cars float my boat when it comes to job satisfaction.
These days, there are very few vehicles I dislike. That said, I will never forget how horrible some cars were to work on in the past (during my employment with one of the larger firms). The Volvo 440 and Austin Montego make me shudder even to this day.
As a rule of thumb, there are two types of job that could potentially test the skill set of even the most-experienced automotive glazing specialist. Hand-built cars or any piece of glass that a previous installer has fitted badly.
When it comes to windscreens, what special care needs to be given in the dark, gloomy days of winter?
Where possible, cover the windscreen with some card or a car cover to prevent ice forming on the glass.
There are water repellent products which can help prevent ice from forming on the glass, but in the event of having to remove ice, scraping can leave scratches on the surface if you’re not careful.
De-icing products or even pouring tepid water over the glass can be very effective.
Don’t be worried about cracked windscreens either; it’s usually keeping the (heater) blowers directed onto the windscreen in demist mode that creates the juxtaposition of temperatures (freezing outside and warm inside) which usually does the most damage to laminated windscreens. The same principle (in reverse) also applies to the hotter weather when the air conditioning is on inside the vehicle, and it’s hot outside.
At Auto Curators, we use Paul’s expertise whenever we need the services of an automotive glazing specialist. If your car is in for full paint correction or paint protection treatment, with your permission, we will sometimes ask Paul to remove the glass from the car to get to every square centimetre of the paint.
Even if we just need to repair a stone chip in the windscreen, we will call upon Paul\’s services. We do this because he is the best in the business!
Want to hear more from Paul? Visit his blog HERE.
Want to know more about how we work with Paul or other third-party automotive industry experts, to ensure your car looks a million dollars? Contact us HERE.