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What Makes Windshield Glass Different From Regular Glass?

Apr 18, 2022Auto Glass

What Makes Windshield Glass Different From Regular Glass?

In the early 1900s, the first windshields were introduced. These windshields were of simple construction and consisted of two layers of traditional window-pane glass. As you can imagine, this resulted in some catastrophic breakage. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way. 

Read on to find out what makes windshield glass different from regular glass and how it keeps you safe.

What is windshield glass made of now?

Windshield glass has evolved significantly. Laminated glass entered the scene in the 1920s and is a shatter-resistant alternative. Around 1970, windshields reached current strength levels. 

Laminated Glass

This type of glass was created by placing a sheet of plastic between two pieces of glass and heated in a high-heat oven to fuse it all together. 

It proves to be a safer option for a few reasons. Laminated glass can break, but it will not shatter like ordinary glass will. This makes laminated glass often repairable rather than needing a total replacement. Because laminated glass does not shatter, this alleviates the ‘flying shards of glass on you and your passenger’ dilemma. Interestingly, if a passenger is thrust into the window due to a collision, laminated glass will act as a cushion, lessening the severity of the impact. 

What are other types of glass used in vehicles?

You may be saying, “Wait, what? Why isn’t the whole vehicle made of laminated glass?” While, at first, this may seem like an excellent way to keep everyone in the car safe, there is a specific reason that laminated glass is not used throughout. 

Tempered Glass

Tempered auto glass is a single-ply glass that is designed to be able to break in case of emergencies purposely. For instance, say your vehicle somehow became submerged in water. This is a significant safety concern for you and your passengers. To find safety, you must be able to get out of the car. Tempered auto glass is the perfect option for the sides and rear of your vehicle. 

Making tempered glass involves the product undergoing extreme heat and then being rapidly cooled. This process is known as tempering. The result is glass that is five times stronger than ordinary glass. 

When tempered glass does break, it will need to be replaced. However, rather than breaking off into thousands of tiny shards, it breaks apart into small, not sharp, pebble-like pieces. This tempered glass feature gives it the alternative name of ‘safety glass.’ 

What are windshield safety standards? 

Auto glass safety procedures began to come into place in 1970, around the same time current strength levels for windshields started to become standard. At this time, the U.S. government established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These policies were developed to respond to activists pleading for federal safety standards to be put in place. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cultivated safety standards that windshields today must adhere to. This also includes Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Three federal standards exist.

  1. FMVSS 205: This ensures a necessary degree of transparency in auto glass windows to ensure driver visibility and minimize injuries to others in the vehicle. 
  2. FMVSS 212: Windshield mounting safety practices ensuring the passive restraint system meets the occupant crash protection requirements. 
  3. FMVSS 219: If there is a crash, no part of the vehicle can penetrate the windshield more than six millimeters. 

Are there different qualities of windshield glass?

There are three different types of windshield glass available. 

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Windshields

All glass in a new car must meet OEM safety standards. OEM auto glass is fabricated by the same manufacturer that provided the original glass the automaker placed in your vehicle. This type of auto glass will typically come with automaker branding on it. 

Original Equipment Equivalent (OEE) Windshields

OEE is a type of auto glass made to the original specifications and standards of OEM glass, just produced by a different manufacturer. 

Aftermarket Replacement Glass (ARG) Windshields

Aftermarket auto glass is made by companies that work directly with the car manufacturer. This type of auto glass is not considered OEM. However, it is made to the exact specifications of an OEM part. This type of auto glass is generally the same thickness as the original glass but is not considered an OEM part. 

Rest assured that regardless of which type of auto glass replacement you go with, they are all held to the same safety standards. With MobileTech Auto Glass, we offer you only the best OEM and OEE windshield replacement options. 

Have a crack in your windshield? Stop avoiding it, and let us come to you! Give us a call or request online


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