Cracks or chips in your rear window may seem altogether inconsequential. After all, it’s not your front windshield, right? You don’t have to look out of your rear window nearly as often, and your passengers are protected by the seat behind them, right? Wrong. If you’re driving around with a damaged rear windshield, the reality is, you’re putting yourself in danger.


If your vehicle incurs rear window damage, for safety reasons, it’s imperative that you have it fixed as soon as possible. But how do you know whether you should simply have the glass repaired, or go for a full rear window replacement? The auto glass experts at Only One Auto Glass explain below.


The Nature of Your Rear Windshield

There are a few key differences between your front and rear windshields that will help you make the determination between repair and replacement. While your front and rear windshields appear to be relatively the same, their appearance is really the only thing they share. Rear windshields are constructed from tempered glass, also referred to as “safety glass.” The strength of this glass helps the rear window resist impact while reinforcing the structural integrity of the vehicle. It’s important to keep in mind that under substantial force, tempered glass will shatter.


Your front windshield, on the other hand, is laminated glass, meaning it contains a flexible, polyvinyl butyral sheet sandwiched in between two sheets of glass. This innovative design allows the windshield to withstand substantial impact without shattering, thus, increasing passenger safety. Laminated glass is also much easier to repair when damaged.


With those differences in mind, let’s discuss repair vs. replacement.


When to Seek Back Glass Repair

Due to the nature of rear windshield glass, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to repair. You may have noticed thin, horizontal lines spanning the width of your rear window. These lines are part of your rear defrost system and are often impossible to reconstruct. If the damage to your rear window spans across these lines, a repair is probably not possible. However, if you’re only dealing with a small chip, this is typically grounds for repair. Similarly, minor scratches in your rear window can also be repaired.


When to Seek Rear Windshield Replacement

Substantial damage to your vehicle’s rear windshield necessitates a prompt rear windshield replacement. Obviously, if your rear window has shattered—as is often the case under heavy duress—you’ll need to have it replaced immediately. Substantial chips or cracks also require back glass replacement if they span across defrost strips embedded within the glass. Similarly, if your vehicle features a rear antenna with delicate wiring embedded within the glass, you won’t be able to get by with simple repair.


In most cases, the cost and feasibility of a replacement make it the obvious choice over a repair. However, the appropriate service is dependent on your unique case. Your auto glass repair technician will thoroughly explain the differences between each service and help you select the most fitting option.


Auto Glass Repair and Replacement in the Twin Cities

When you need prompt, high-quality, professional service, the auto glass experts at Only One Auto Glass are just a call away. Whether you need a simple rock chip repair or a full rear window replacement, we have the experience you need and service you can trust. Plus, our fleet of mobile service vehicles help make your experience as quick and convenient as possible. To learn more about our services or to schedule your appointment, contact our team or give us a call at 651-789-1111. Or, get started right away by requesting your free service estimate!