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How a Last-Minute Windshield Replacement Saved My Trip to Moab

This spring, I’d been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Tacoma TRD Pro press vehicle that Toyota had graciously agreed to send me for an upcoming trip to Moab. Finally, the time had come to load this thing up with gear and head south for a weekend, where I’d put it through its paces on the long, rolling desert off-road trails of the area.

Well, as it would turn out, 20 minutes into our 4-hour drive to Moab, the Tacoma’s windshield lost a battle with a chunk of flying ice at highway speed and was utterly destroyed. Luckily, everyone was okay, but now this Tacoma needed a new windshield, fast, or this long-awaited Moab adventure was in serious jeopardy.

Having previously experienced the urgency with which glass can be repaired, I was at first optimistic that the replacement could be in within a couple of hours, but my contacts with Toyota were quick to point out one thing — the replacement windshield would need to be of the OEM variety.

I understood why — this was a Toyota press vehicle, after all. Either way, though, this requirement threw a wrench in the gears: While glass companies usually stock aftermarket glass for seemingly every vehicle ever built, OEM glass is much tougher to come by, and it typically needs to be sourced through the manufacturer. Familiar with a few local Toyota dealers, I got on the phone myself to try to locate a replacement. I soon learned, though, that the closest OEM windshield for a 2016-or-newer Toyota Tacoma was seven hours away in Durango, Colorado, which was out of the question. This meant that the best option was to ship one from a Toyota parts warehouse in the San Francisco Bay Area with the hopes that it would arrive in time for a quick turnaround the next day.

We opted to go this route. Unsure, though, whether the new OEM glass would arrive in time, I prepared for the worst — having to let the off-road beast that is the Tacoma TRD Pro sit in my driveway all weekend instead of ripping it around Southern Utah.

The challenges weren’t over yet, as the dealership’s preferred glass installer was booked solid the next day. So I called a friend who works in the automotive glass repair industry, who called a colleague, who called a “glass guy,” who then called one of his technicians, who agreed to do the installation at the Toyota dealership some time the next day between 8am and 1pm. I didn’t even know if the glass would actually make it to the dealership the next day, but with no other options, I made the appointment and crossed my fingers.

I drove the Tacoma to the dealership the next morning around 9am, still with all of our camping gear in the back. After dropping off the keys with the service writer, I headed straight to the parts counter to inquire about the windshield.


As I was walking out of the dealership, I got a call from the glass technician.


An hour and a half later, I got another call.


We were back on the road by noon that day, with a newfound appreciation for modern logistics.

So to recap: At 10am on Friday, the windshield on this Tacoma was destroyed. An hour later, a replacement was located, which was then shipped across three states and 750 miles to Salt Lake City, where it was received and installed by 11am Saturday morning. A remarkable 25-hour turnaround.

Sometimes a plan just comes together, and this was one of those times. A big thanks to everyone that helped to make it happen.

Chris O’Neill grew up in the Rust Belt and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked in the auto industry for awhile, helping Germans design cars for Americans. On Instagram, he is the @MountainWestCarSpotter.

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Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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