When a car company is running an advertisement highlighting their vehicle’s new safety features, they rarely mention the car’s windshield and surrounding windows. Windscreens have a lot of responsibilities, as they are often designed and manufactured with the user’s safety in mind. It plays an essential role in the functioning of any car, giving structural support to the roof and protecting against things such as dirt, dust and debris. Although automotive glass often looks similar to other kinds of glass, it functions very differently. A good car glass should be shatter-proof. This means that it does not shatter into sharp and dangerous shards after breaking, limiting the amount of injury caused to the driver, should they be involved in an accident.
Types of AutoGlass
There are two significant types of auto glass which includes laminated and tempered glass. Typically, laminated glass is used for windscreens, while tempered glass is used for rear and front windows. Although each glass has different functions, they have a common purpose of keeping the occupant inside the vehicle in case of an accident. They protect the passengers from flying pieces of sharp glass and retain the roof’s rigidity in a rollover. Let’s look at each type of glass, as well as their pros and cons.
Laminated Windscreen Glass
The lamination process starts by simply stacking two pieces of glass together with a layer of plastic known as poly-vinyl butyral (pvb). Extreme heat and pressure are applied to the windscreen, which in turn fuses the PVB and sheets of glass together. Although laminated glass is breakable, it eliminates the shards from flying off in a collision. The glass is made to endure extreme impacts without shattering, therefore increasing the passenger’s safety by reducing potential injury of flying glass. Another benefit is that it protects drivers who are not wearing a seat belt by acting as a barrier in case they are thrown forward onto the windscreen. This glass can be fixed in the case of minor damage such as small chips or cracks.
Generally, the tempered glass is made through a technique known as tempering, making it harder and stronger than any other standard glass. In this process, a sheet of glass is heated up to a specific temperature and then cooled rapidly with cold air. The process forces the glass to expand and then contract suddenly, and as a result, the outer layer hardens while the inner layer is induced with tension. The procedure often renders it ten times stronger than regular glass. Should the tempered glass break, it shatters into thousands of non-sharp pebble-like pieces which cannot cause bodily harm if they were to fall onto a person’s body. Unfortunately, once broken, tempered glass cannot be repaired, and the only solution is to replace it. The tempered glass is mostly used for making rear and door windows in the automobile industry.
Replacement Glass Options
When the glass on your car breaks, there are two types of replacement glass available which includes OEM and Aftermarket auto glass.
OEM Auto Glass
The word OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. This means that the glass is usually fabricated by the same manufacturer that provided the original glass in your vehicle. In essence, the glass is identical to what the car had before developing the hitch. Usually, an OEM glass has a distinctive automaker branding.
Aftermarket Auto Glass
This type of glass is created by a company (other than the original manufacturer) to fit specific vehicles. The Aftermarket auto glass can either be the same quality as OEM or lesser quality.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns for any car owner. Windscreens play an essential role in the functioning of any vehicle and thus need to be extremely durable, as well as safe for the passengers. Regardless of what type of glass you have, it is crucial to take care of it at all times. Therefore, carrying out a regular inspection of your car can save you a lot of trouble.
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