Chair Force Engineer

Monday, January 16, 2006

Walking on broken glass

The city of Albuquerque is notorious for auto theft. Nearly two weeks ago, I learned this lesson first-hand. A thief in the night (I later learned that my car alarm was heard just before 5 AM) tried pulling my windows down. When that failed, he smashed through the rear passenger window and pulled the door handle. This triggered the car's impotent alarm system, which apparently scared the thief away (as it appeared nothing was stolen from my car.)

Last weekend was spent at A-1 Auto Salvage, buying a replacement window from a wrecked car for $55. This past weekend was spent trying to put the new window in place.

Here's a few tips about trying to replace a car side window.
1) Don't turn to a Chilton's guide for help. Chilton books are expensive and they don't help you worth a damn. They make everything seem easy but don't tell you that you will need specialized tools for half the things you will need to do.
2) When you try to remove the inner door panel (and the window crank on cars without power windows,) you will almost certainly need a special prying tool. They're available at Auto Zone for about $6. (The poor kid at Auto Zone was getting bitched out by his boss at the same time he was helping me. The schmuck running the local Auto Zone has no fricking clue about leadership.)
3) For an amateur, it's almost impossible to put the new window back into the rubber window channel without breaking either the channel, the window glass, or both. They make special tools for doing that, too.

Basically, I tried putting the glass in on Sunday, but quit because the new glass didn't want to go in, and because the Bears game was on (don't get me started on how pathetic their defense looked.) I taped a plastic bag over the window for the evening (a bad choice, when considering the risk of the thief coming back for my car) and took it to a local glass repair shop on Monday. The guy charged me a $25 pittance to put the new glass in, clear the remaining shards of glass out, and reshape my mangled rubber window channel.

The repair looks pretty good, considering that the new window isn't tinted like the other ones (which I can barely notice.) Unfortunately, the new window is somewhat scratched, and it has scum stains from being soaked in my bathtub to remove the junkyard grime. Perhaps I will get the window polished at a later date. Until then, my car doesn't look like somebody punched through the window.

In the near future, I will be making two investments. The first is a better alarm system, which will go off the second somebody touches my car. The second investment is a gun of some sort, so I can shoot car theives in the crotch.