Guest Column May/June 2022

Installation the Old Fashioned Way

By Nick Khongkeo

My fellow auto glass competitors inspired me after I competed in my first Auto Glass Technician competition at Auto Glass Week in 2021. Different guys were using various cut-out tools. Some used the metal wire cut-out system, while others used the braided line cut-out system. As for me, I stuck to the good old fashion cold knife and long knife tools.

Selecting the right tool to use in the removal process is critical, depending on the car. Some cars now do not have any moulding to hide the edge of the glass, so using a wire cut-out system would be wise since it minimizes scratches to the vehicle. Cars without windshield moulding will expose scratches and primer. Using the wire system also reduces physical stress on the technician. Once the tool is set up to start the cutting process, minimal physical effort is required compared to the cold knife and long knife method.

The classic cold knife and long knife tools require a little more strength to use. This removal method is not for the weaklings as it requires some forearms strength and back strength. Using these tools risks scratching the car. Sometimes scratches are inevitable, but you’ll be fine as long as you primer the damage area.

I keep both wire tool systems and the cold knife long knife method in my arsenal of tools. I find it almost impossible to stick to one kind. Although there are more advantages to using the wire cut-out system, the old-school cold knife method can be much faster for an experienced technician. Damages and injuries can still happen if you’re not careful.

If you ever wonder “which tools or method is the best? “My answer to that would be, “it depends on the car.” More importantly, it depends on the technician and his level of experience.

Nick Khongkeo is an auto glass technician at Onsite Autoglass in Riverside, Calif.

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