I read your column every week and really enjoy it...

Dear Tom and Ray:

I read your column every week and really enjoy it. Being single, I try to keep up with car care as cheaply as possible. Here's my current problem. I accidentally glued my rearview mirror button on the front windshield with the wrong side facing the glass. Of course, having used a special bonding glue, I cannot get the button off. So some idiot suggested I use a hammer and screwdriver and lightly tap the button off. OK, in the process the windshield got cracked. The cracks spread for about four inches around the button, but you can't feel them when you run your fingers over them. Should the windshield be replaced anyway? I'm so upset about this and my using a hammer in this way. Thank you.

TOM: A hammer? On glass?? Wow! That IS embarrasing, Carol. But don't be too hard on yourself. Remember, we all do dumb things. Look at my brother. His entire stock portfolio is made up of Yugo of America and AMC!

RAY: The bad news is you ARE going to have to replace the windshield, Carol. Even though those cracks don't seem very imposing right now, you never know when you're going to hit a bump and watch them spread through the rest of the windshield. The truth is, a cracked windshield is always in danger of shattering. And that's not a safe situation.

TOM: So chalk it up to experience, Carol. Now you know that windshields and hammers generally don't mix. Next time, try a judicious application of heat from a propane torch while gently prying it off. Just make sure it doesn't fall off while it's red-hot and melt a hole in your dashboard!
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