RUST: 2000 Honda Accord Ex, body under base of windshield - Advice very needed

I’m new to this forum and fighting an uphill battle with an insurance company.

I am hoping for insight and experience sharing with anyone who has had this issue or can speak to it. My car has about 170K miles, V6, coupe, runs and looks like new, well maintained, beach side living. I bought it new back in the fall of 1999 and still love it.

In 2010 my windshield was replaced following a crack from a rock on the road being kicked up.

In 2014, a couple of weeks ago, my windshield cracked from its base. Upon evaluation it turns out the entire pinchweld/upper cowl assembly area has rusted entirely out - as in disintegrated. This required a $2000 parts/repair body shop job.

I filed a claim with the glass replacement company which was badly reviewed by the shops insurer and denied. I’m considering filing with my insurance company and/or taking the company to small claims court.

In 2010, during the windshield replacement, the area now rusted into disintegration was not at all rusty - as in none. In the intervening years, twice the windshield moldings (once each side) flapped out and they had to come put them back in.

I live in a salt air environment. That said, the body of my car is rust free and maintained in like-new condition. The engine is similarly in like new condition, still beating the manufacturers fuel efficiency ratings on road trips. It purrs and goes.

I believe something went wrong during the installation that allowed water to intrude to the area at the base of the windshield causing pooling and rusting to the point of disintegration. Again, this area did not suffer from a rust spot, or a string of rusty spots - it disintegrated from rust across its length and breadth. I have had the car, in this same environment, since it was new. And, in 2010 when the windshield was replaced, the area was pristine.

Anyone out there with insights or help or advice … or anything?



Well just my opinion but I don’t think you have a case. It was four years ago. If they did the job wrong and it leaked, their only liability would have been to reseal or replace the windshield again. Even if you can show it was a leak, you needed to mitigate your losses by having it repaired before it got that bad. Salt air though is a killer on cars. The salt is in the air and any place that air can get to, salt can get deposited on and accelerate rust.

I agree with @Bing here. If they installed a windshield over the rust you might be entitled to some compensation. Since it’s been 4 years…nada.

Insurance claims are all about proof.
How does the OP intend to prove that the glass company’s installation of a windshield led to rust below the windshield?

A car that has been on the road for 14-15 years in a “beach-side” location is going to have rust issues, and I am confident that if the car was put up on a lift, there would be extensive rust damage found in most areas of the chassis.

I agree with the poster here. The windshield installer needed to clean off the area under the old glass so the new one would bond. He may have sanded/wire brushed through the paint at that point clearing the point that would rust. Proving it would be difficult because all the evidence is now rusted over.

That said,

You do live in a beach side area with salt air. You do own a 14 year old car. Let’s say the underside of your car, like @VDCDriver suggests, is covered by rust. If you were the jury member on a civil lawsuit against the glass company, for only $2000, what would you decide?

Sorry Cathy, the windshield company may have caused it, but proving it would be impossible at this point.

Rust around upper areas of cars in this environment as opposed to heavily salted areas is not unusual. Good luck. You will need it. The car is well passed any perforation warranty and you are on your own. VDC is right too. There are other areas that have started to rust as well. Short of making a dune buggy out of it with a wind screen that hangs from an overhead bar, it think it’s time to buy a new car.

After all, with car makers feeble attempts at rust prevention, that was their intent all along. Yes, the rust could have been delayed with better installation and prep…but that’s not here and now. Move on; you now own a rust bucket. If you lived where we do, your car windshield may be perfect but rust holes would be appearing everywhere along the rockers and fenders. It’s the nature of the beast and where Mother Nature decides to attack rust prone cars with water and salt. You aren’t alone in your frustration…just a little different in the location.

Btw, the windshield installers could have done a perfect job but moisture from exposure of this area and salt water could easily have leached out into the area from clogged drains and settling areas they could never have seen. You see rust around windows here on SUV hatches that are less then ten years old where the water does not re-drain back to the bottom after raising the gate. You are not necessarily a victim of the glass installers, but welcome to the pack; you are a victim of being a car owner and the the auto companies in general.

I appreciate your comments, even if I don’t like the content! I have well maintained the exterior, no rust, fresh paint, no dings even. But it is true that internally all of the usual and customary places have rust in progress. I did think, however, that if the windshield had been properly replaced … that is with the old urethane correctly removed, the pinchweld area properly cleansed, primed, then sealed along with the window moldings correctly seated, that the part would not disintegrate. The part had no rust in 2010 (I was there for the installation) and it literally no longer exists in 2014, disintegrated across the length and breadth of it. My claim was denied because I have a “beach car” and evidence of the usual and customary rust elsewhere. To me, that seems immaterial. I’ve lived all over the country in salt air environments and can’t ever remember knowing anyone whose car disintegrated under its windshield. I thought the glass shop’s liability was a no-brainer so this has been a hard pill to swallow.

You are not going to want to hear this but your cars is totaled and that’s that…The cost to repair it will exceed the value of your car…if you have already paid to have this damage repaired, then lick your wounds and drive on…

Actually, that’s a fairly common area to disintegrate. Most often it’s because the cowl drains are plugged up and water doesn’t drain away properly.

They don’t need to scrape off every last bit of old adhesive and most of the time do not. There should be no reason the underlying paint was disturbed by the replacement process. Even if they did scratch off some of the paint, no windshield replacement service I know of cleans, primes and coats the metal surfaces as part of the replacement process. They use a tool to separate the window from the sealant. A common form is a wire that passes through the sealant between the glass and body. Some of the remaining old sealant is removed and new sealant applied before the replacement window is pressed into place. Then the trim is re-installed. It’s not rocket science and it’s not restoration work back to ‘off the sales floor’ condition. If it was from overly aggressive sealant removal, likely it would be rusted all around the edges rather than just the bottom…

When I had roof rust developing along the windshield and I needed the windshield replaced, I had the windshield removed, then repaired and painted the rust damage, then had them put the windshield in. But I did the work. No glass company is going to do body work just to put a windshield in.

IMHO you’ll never be able to prove that anything done during the windshield installation caused or contributed to the rust. And there’s a very good chance that nothing did. You’ve gotten 15 good years out of the car. Time to move on.

You are not alone in feeling that regular washings, waxings, taking care of all the dings etc. and generally doing exactly what you have outlined to prevent premature rust whether it be in the window frames, rockers or fenders in areas exposed to salt. Rust does not often start in the these areas you are caring for. It starts in areas you can’t reach on the inside where water accumulates and there are drainage areas around the window posts as well as the rest of the car that are exposed to salt in your area. It takes very little to compromise a car that was not designed to last more then about ten years in any area. I am sorry that you do not like what I have to say, but your car and it’s rust problems whether the window was installed perfectly or not, is not unusual in salt areas.

As @Bing has indicated, he had rust around the windshield regardless of the windshield replacement, not because of it. In his case, the rust like yours, may have already started and even doing all the body work would delay and not fix the problem. Cars are designed to be expendable products and rust prevention in salt areas is a loosing battle. You can do much to delay it somewhat and in some areas, by a lot. But for the average driver like yourself who is unable to take these extra measures. Your car will rust in spite of what your are presently doing.

“Your car will rust in spite of what your are presently doing.”

Especially after 14 years!
To be in denial about this situation because the car (supposedly) had no rust 4 years ago, is like a cancer patient saying, “But I didn’t have cancer 4 years ago!”

Ergo…things change and deteriorate over time.
And…rust never sleeps.

and…rust never sleeps
Not only does it not sleep, but it’s one of the few “activities” that speeds up with age. Rust begets rust. Rust provides an opening for more moisture to migrate into susceptible areas.

Really hard to read, process, and accept your posts - though thank you for making them. I thought I was doing all of the right things to have this car last into its classic years. The glass shop that I took it to for the windshield replacement, up in Newport KY, identified the underlying problem to me and told me it was a faulty previous installation. This is why I had the opinion I had. Then I did lay person research and solidified the opinion … but … The body shop making the repairs down here in Florida told me “these things happen” and that it was not the fault of the installer. I hope to have it back, repaired, as early as tomorrow or the next day and I suppose I’ll enjoy it for however long I can before I have to move on from it. It’s been a great car with lots of history and good memories. I was considering taking the installer and its insurer to small claims court, but from the input here, maybe that wouldn’t be fair. Hard stuff to read, but thanks.

It’s entirely possible the prior windshield job is what made the rusting happen. But making that case for a car of this vintage and living in a sea-beach area seems extremely difficult absent proof. It seems like the only proof you have is that there’s now rust there and the shop in KY thinks it was caused by the prior install. The problem is that it is possible there’d be rust there even if the job had been done properly, or even that the windshield had never been replaced, if it was the original window in other words.

I know it seems unfair. After all you couldn’t see how the prior install was done. It was all covered up by the time you got it. The only consolation is that this is something that happens all the time with car repair. Anytime a car is worked on, there’s a chance some other problem will be introduced. And the symptom might not be evident for months or years.

A person could try to find a shop that would guarantee such a thing would never happen, but I suspect either the guarantee would be of no value as it wouldn’t be honored, or the price would be so high hardly anyone would allow the shop to do the job.

Did the original window work come with a written warranty that guaranteed no rusting problems would ensue as a result of the work done?

like Bruce Williams used to say on his radio program: “Never love something that can’t love you back.” Gotta move on when its time to move on. OTH what’s small claims cost, $50? Sometimes they just split it down the middle, but then you still would have to collect which would be another issue.

Cars wear out, and cars in salt environments wear out more quickly. I have to agree with all the above, it’d be very hard to prove your case. Make plans to move on, cars keep improving, you won’t be disappointed.

I also wonder if the car doesn’t have more rust that the OP isn’t aware of.

because it is a safelite contractor, the windshield work is guaranteed for life - but with no specificity as regards rust. the safelite contractor’s insurance company has denied my claim for the repair costs and rental car fees saying, and i quote, my car is a “beach car” and these things happen. the replacement was made in my driveway back in 2010 and i stayed out with the installer which is why i know that the base had no rust at that time. because it has totally disintegrated, it can’t be inspected to prove anything one way or the other - or give potential insight. to me, considering that nothing else on the car has disintegrated, my lay person sense is that it had to have been something missed or poorly done during installation. i would find it easier to accept “these things happen” if there was a rust spot, or even a string of rusty spots… but the entire length and breadth of the area is literally gone. then again, the previous poster who said “i didn’t have cancer four years ago” makes a painful analogous point.