The Difference Between Windshield and Window Glass
Automotive technology is amazing, isn’t it? A little more than one hundred years ago, we were riding in buggies pulled by horses. Today, we are worried if our autostart will work from the line at the grocery store.
Even the glass in a car’s windshield has changed over the years, becoming more advanced. Below, we explain the different types of glass that make up your car’s windshield and windows. Did you know the glass used for your windshield is different from the glass used for the side and rear windows?
Windshield Glass. Windshields are made of laminated safety glass. Laminated glass is actually two sheets of glass that are fused together with a thin, clear vinyl layer in the middle forming a very strong piece of glass. The vinyl layer is added to ensure that the windshield stays intact even when it is broken. This design is used to prevent shattering, instead, it usually cracks into a “spider web” pattern when an impact isn’t enough to break the glass.
Window Glass. A car’s windows and rear windshield are made of tempered glass, which is heat-treated to create an extremely strong glass. Tempered glass is made by rapidly heating the glass to more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and then rapidly cooling it to room temperature. This process changes the glass so that, if broken, it breaks into small pieces of glass that don’t have extremely sharp edges.
The History of Automotive Glass. A century ago, there were not any windshields or windows. Drivers had to wear goggles to make sure their vision wasn’t affected by wind or insects. When windshields were invented they were made of ordinary glass, which you can probably guess caused problems.
Early windshield glass shattered just like a house window would if hit with a baseball. Many injuries were reported so manufacturers got to work on a new solution. Along came laminated glass, although the windshield sometimes needs to be repaired or replaced, it is still a much more safe, and cost-effective option than ordinary glass.
You might be wondering why laminated glass isn’t used for every window in your car. Tempered glass is often used precisely because it can shatter. In the event that a car is submerged in water, it is important for the car’s occupants to be able to get out. Since laminated glass is nearly shatter-proof, this would make escape impossible. Tempered glass can be broken into small, dull pieces allowing a safe escape for the occupants.
We’re Here to Help. Now you know more about your car’s window glass! To learn more about your car’s windshield- including what to do if it is chipped or cracked– be sure to check out our previous posts on our blog.
If your windshield is damaged, we can give you your options for repair or replacement. Call us today to get on-site service from one of our expert auto glass technicians. We make windshield repair and replacement easy and will get the job done right so you can be back on the road ASAP.