When driving your car, you typically don’t think about the glass in your windshield or on your windows. The glass is a crucial part of your vehicle, so it is important to know what you are dealing with while driving. This knowledge can help you know when it is time to replace your auto glass, as well as be aware of its safety features.
Materials in your vehicle’s auto glass
While it would be easy to think that auto glass is simply plain glass, it is actually made of a few different materials. Modern auto glass is made from laminated glass, which is designed to hold together even when broken. The glass is made up of several layers. The first layer is glass, followed by a layer of transparent materials. The middle layer is a polymer. This is followed by another layer of transparent materials, and finally another layer of glass.
Safety features of modern auto glass
Auto glass is designed to keep the driver and passengers safe in several different ways. One method is by staying intact, even when broken. Safety laws in most countries require the glass to stay in a single piece on impact, providing protection in case the car rolls over.
Additional features of auto glass
Auto glass does more than just provide a clear visual window. The glass also impacts air bags. Properly installed auto glass is important for proper airbag usage, as the glass is designed to absorb the airbag during the initial deployment. Even if the glass breaks, as long as it stays in place the airbag is able to operate properly.
Auto glass repair
The glass in your car does not necessarily have to be completely replaced if it is damaged. There are some situations when cracks can be repaired instead of replaced; while laws in some states vary, most cracks up to 24 inches can be fixed. Exceptions include if the crack is blocking the driver’s line of sight or near the edge of the glass. It is also not recommended to repair cracks that are on the inside of the glass, complex, deep, or contaminated. Properly repaired glass can often be restored to 90-95% of the original clarity and strength.
Auto glass replacement
Many car owners are not aware that replacing auto glass is more complex than simply gluing the material into the correct spot. The glass must also properly settle and cure before being driven. Proper curing of the glass will keep passengers and drivers safe in the event of a crash. The required amount of time is called the Safe Drive-Away Time, and the specific time is found in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Proper curing also ensures proper air bag deployment if necessary.
These facts about your automobile’s glass aren’t anything you’ll think about on a regular basis, but they are good to know in the event of a crack or car accident. They will also help you know if you need a full replacement or if you can save money with repair, giving you useful knowledge when it’s time to take it to the body shop.