The Windshield Replacement Survival Guide – Consumer Auto Glass Education

Replacing Your Vehicle’s Windshield? Here is Your Windshield Replacement Survival Guide.

Safety First

A vehicles windshield provides the occupants a barrier from road debris and the outside elements. But most people don’t know a windshield is designed for structural safety in case of an accident, especially a rollover. A windshield is a vehicles third most important safety feature behind the seat belts, and air bags.

Windshields are like basketball backboards for air bags. So if you have a damaged windshield your air bag may not function correctly. It actually may inflate out the windshield cavity, rather than towards you. Or it won’t adsorb any pressure because your windshield simply pushes out.

Most consumers are not aware that when technicians replace your windshield, there is significant scratching to the “pinchweld” where the glass bonds to the car. These scratches must be prepped using paint and rust prevention steps. They should not simply leave exposed scratches where moisture from the exterior side can cause rust to develop.

Here are some questions you should ask your auto glass company:

  • Is the new glass OEM?
  • Did they remove the brand label on the windshield?
  • Does the new glass have a shade band that matches your old glass?
  • Is the new windshield the same color glass? (glass is actually colored, not clear)
  • Does your windshield have a rain sensor?
  • Is your windshield heated? (companies will install non-heated and charge for heated)
  • Does the windshield have the right bracket for your rear view mirror?
  • Does the new windshield have the same third visor as your old glass? (the painted black design which you can see around the rear view mirror on most cars)
  • Are they using a universal trim molding, or the actual trim molding part for your vehicle?
  • Does the company pay to fix paint scratches, if made by the auto glass technician?

Always inspect a piece of glass for scratches and distortion before it’s installed.

Types of Automotive Glass

A windshield is actually two layers of glass with a laminate material between the layers, what is called “laminated glass”. Laminated glass is extremely hard to puncture or break apart. That’s why a large object like a stunt man, can impact the windshield without breaking through. The strength of laminated glass combined with proper adhesion of the windshield to the body of the car provides massive strength against the roof collapsing in a rollover.

All of the other windows in your vehicle are “tempered glass”, which means they break into tiny fragments to reduce injury to the occupants. (a small fraction of vehicles have laminated side and rear windows also)

Windshield Urethane

Today’s vehicles use urethane as the adhesive to bond the windshield to the vehicle, like a glue. Some urethane after complete hardening which can take 2-4 weeks, can hold 500 pounds per square inch of pressure. That’s one reason why you could never simply push your windshield out. Impossible! Some urethane allows you to drive away within one hour after installing …