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What is Auto Glass?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are two main types of auto glass — tempered glass and laminated safety glass. Tempered glass, which typically is used on the rear and side windows, goes through a special process where it is heated and then quickly cooled. Laminated safety glass, which is typically used on windshields, is composed of two pieces of glass with a thin layer of vinyl. It's then heated and pressed together in an oven called an autoclave. Both types of glass are stronger and more impact resistant than regular glass. When tempered glass receives a strong hit, it will shatter, but it will shatter and fall to the ground into small pieces that do not have sharp edges like regular glass. When laminated safety glass receives a strong impact it will also shatter but, generally, the pieces will adhere to the vinyl and not fall to the ground.

In automobile accidents auto glass is often damaged and needs to be replaced, but this isn’t the only instance where replacement is required. Gravel kicked up on the freeway can result in a chip or small vein in the windshield. Over time vibration can cause the vein to grow. In some states driving with damaged auto glass is a ticketable offense.

You may be surprised at how easy it is to have your windshield replaced. Auto glass specialists do this routinely and will usually come to your home or place of business. The wipers, molding and cowl are removed, and the damaged windshield is lifted out. Old adhesive may need to be cleaned away. Once clean, new adhesive is applied to a groove that holds the windshield in place, and the new windshield is installed. The cowl, molding and wipers are replaced and the entire job is done in about an hour. You may be advised not to drive the vehicle for an hour to give the adhesive ample time to set.

If your auto glass only has a small nick or vein, an auto glass specialists might be able to treat the spot to resist further spreading for a small fee. This can save you money in the long run, and the repair usually takes less than 30 minutes. Commonly, the nick or vein is thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next, resin is injected under pressure and held in place with a material such as Mylar. An ultraviolet light is applied to cure the resin, then the Mylar and extra resin are scraped away. Finally the area is polished.

Depending on circumstances, an auto glass specialists might charge an insurance company directly, rather than a customer. Many auto glass specialists are available 24 hours a day to accommodate accidents around the clock. You can also call for an inspection and quote. You might find that a repair is all you need to keep a small nick from turning into a big problem down the road.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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