Although you probably can’t tell by looking at it, the glass that makes up your car windows is actually different from the type used to make your windshield. This is because windshields require extra protection measures to shield drivers and passengers from debris flying off the road. The guide below will break down the main differences to help you understand the glass and discuss repair or replacement options with your technician.
In most instances, side and rear car windows are made out of tempered glass. This form of safety glass is four times stronger than normal — or annealed — glass, and when it breaks, it forms small, blunt pebbles instead of sharp shards to minimize cuts.
While standard glass shatters at 6,000 pounds per square inch (psi), tempered safety glass must have a surface compression of 15,000 psi — which means it takes 24,000 psi or more to break it. However, when damaged, the glass is likely to completely shatter due to the consistent tension caused by the tempering process.
Your windshield is more than likely made of laminated glass, which is actually two pieces of glass placed on either side of a sheet of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) plastic. The layers are fused together in an oven known as an autoclave and later fabricated to make the glass more resistant to shattering. However, if the glass is hit hard enough, the interlayer will prevent the glass from breaking into large, sharp pieces and harming the individuals inside the car. Additionally, less forceful damage, like a small rock or other road debris, will most likely only break the outer panel.
Whether your windshield has developed spider webbing or your side car window was struck with a rock, the team at Consumer Glass in O’Fallon, MO, can help. This locally owned and operated company provides auto glass replacement, repair, and installation services to the St. Louis and St. Charles metro areas. Each of their certified technicians has at least 20 years of industry experience, and their installations are warrantied for as long as you own your vehicle. Call them today at (636) 397-6800 to schedule a window or windshield replacement, or visit their website to learn more about their services.