Learn how auto glass works and why it’s different from regular glass
For many car owners, the type of glass that’s in your vehicle simply doesn’t cross your mind. After all, you have plenty of other things to worry about — until, of course, something goes wrong with your auto glass.
If you’ve recently experienced issues with the glass on your car, such as a shattered window or a crack in your windshield, you may be wondering why it acted differently than the glass on your windows at home and what you should do to replace it. This article will take a look at the different types of glass that are used in cars so that you can be better informed on how it differs from regular glass and what you should know before you replace it.
Auto Glass vs. Regular Glass
If you’ve ever compared a shattered windshield and a shattered house window, you would notice that the broken glass looks very different from each other — even though the intact glass may look virtually the same. This is because there are many different types of glass, and the ones used in the auto industry, known as “safety glass,” are not the same as the ones used in your house.
Regular glass may shatter into large pieces with sharp edges that could be very dangerous for anyone who touches them. Auto glass, on the other hand, may break into many small, pebble-like pieces or stay together as one piece despite shattering. This is because auto glass is intentionally designed to be safer than regular glass since it’s more likely to shatter in an accident with a driver or passenger nearby who may get hurt.
Types of Auto Glass
There are two main types of auto glass: laminated glass and tempered glass. While these both are made to be safer than regular glass, the manufacturing process, application, and way they shatter are different.
Laminated glass got its start around a hundred years ago in the auto industry. Nowadays, it’s created by combining two sheets of glass together using a sheet of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in the middle. The combined sheets are then fused together using the application of high heat.
This creates a strong glass that is capable of breaking up without having shards flying around that may injure a passenger. It can withstand heavy impact without shattering and is essentially able to stick together even when it does break. This makes it ideal for minimizing injuries from flying glass and acting as a bit of a barrier in incidents where a passenger may be thrown into the window.
Because of these properties, laminated glass is most commonly used in the windshield, where the highest risk of impact and direct injury is. Laminated glass can also be repaired if it gets a small crack or chip, and replacements are only necessary for larger damage.
Tempered glass is most commonly used in the door and rear windows of a car and is almost never used in the windshield. It is made by heating a single-ply sheet of glass and then cooling it rapidly. This process makes the glass much stronger than regular glass and affects the way it shatters.
The biggest pro to tempered glass is that when it shatters, it breaks into thousands of small, pebble-like pieces that don’t have sharp edges, which makes it incredibly safe compared to regular glass. It can also withstand more direct impact than regular glass of the same size and thickness.
Other Aspects of Auto Glass
In addition to the type of glass, there are other aspects that make up auto glass. The thickness of the glass, for example, will be different depending on the make and model of your car — with some cars having thicker glass than others. The size and shape may also vary depending on your car.
Some cars also have features like heated windshields or rain-sensing wipers, which are controlled by sensors that are embedded into the glass. These must be taken into account when replacing the glass, as they need to be properly replaced or recalibrated after the new glass is installed.
So How Do I Choose the Best Glass for My Car?
The short answer is to reach out to a technician who specializes in glass replacement and ask for their recommendations. They will know the ins and outs of what type of glass is best for your car as well as the specific glass necessary for your car’s make and model. When in doubt, you can always check your car manual for further guidance on the exact specifics your glass needs.
At Precision Auto Glass Pros, we always put our customers first and will work with you to ensure you’re getting the best glass services for your needs — whether you need a completely new windshield or window, some sensors recalibrated, or a repaired scratch or chip. Call us now to get a quote.