How much do you know about the windows in your vehicle? Since those windows play critical roles in keeping you and your passengers safe on the road, it’s important to have an understanding of the basic facts, at the very least.


What are those facts? Read on for the basics about automobile windows that every vehicle owner should know.  

1. Windshields Are Made of Laminated Glass

Your windshield isn’t just one solid sheet of glass. Rather, it’s two sheets of glass with a sheet of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between, which makes it laminated glass. The interior layer of PBV prevents the windshield from shattering in the event of a collision.

2. Rear Windows Are Made of Tempered Glass

Your vehicle’s rear window is made of the same type of glass you use to protect your smartphone screen: tempered glass.


During manufacturing, that glass is heated and then cooled rapidly to make it extra strong, but even though it’s tough, it can still shatter under duress. If it does shatter, it’s designed to break into very small pieces that are less likely to injure someone.


If you ever need a windshield replacement or rear window replacement, be prepared for a cost difference between the two since these windows are different types of glass. 

3. Vehicle Windows Contribute to Advanced Driving Safety System Operation

If you own a modern vehicle, chances are it features at least a few basic Advanced Driver Safety Systems (ADAS). Some of the most common of these features include:


  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Collision warnings
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Backup assist
  • Anti-lock braking


These features are controlled by various sensors and systems placed throughout your vehicle, and some of those sensors are embedded in your auto glass.


If you ever need a windshield replacement or any other type of auto glass repair, those sensors will need to be recalibrated to ensure your ADAS features function properly. That means you’ll need to take your vehicle to a shop that specializes in static and dynamic ADAS calibration for all your auto glass repair needs.

4. Those Black Dots on Your Windows Actually Have a Purpose

Ever wondered what those small black dots around the edges of your windshield are there for?


Those dots are called either the frit or the trim and they were initially implemented to camouflage the area where the windshield bonds to the frame of the vehicle. They’re baked into the glass itself, and nowadays they serve more than just an aesthetic purpose.


On modern vehicles, the inner-facing side of the frit or trim helps the glass adhere securely to the vehicle’s frame. The outer-facing side of those black dots provides a shield from UV radiation, which helps protect your dash from deterioration.

5. Auto Glass Plays a Role in Your Vehicle’s Structural Integrity

Your windshield doesn’t just protect you from weather conditions and outdoor debris while you drive. That glass actually contributes to your vehicle’s ability to withstand a collision without being crushed.


In fact, the average windshield comprises roughly 30% of a vehicle’s structural strength, so if yours isn’t completely intact, your safety could be at risk.


Even a small chip or crack in the glass can weaken its structural integrity, and consequently, negatively affect the structural integrity of your vehicle in the event of a crash. To stay safe, make sure you tend to any auto glass repairs you may need as promptly as possible.

6. Your Windshield Is Part of Your SRS System

SRS stands for Supplemental Restraint System, which is your vehicle’s airbag system. Your windshield plays a crucial role in the proper deployment of the airbags, which is why it’s so important that it remain fully intact (as in, without any unrepaired chips and/or cracks).


If you’re involved in a collision and your airbags end up deploying, they must essentially “bounce off” the interior of the windshield to inflate toward you. Only when the bags inflate in the right direction can they protect you from colliding with your steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield.


If there’s a chip or crack in the glass (and it isn’t properly repaired), the force of the airbag deployment could — and likely will — cause the windshield to fail. If that occurs, the bag(s) won’t deploy according to their design, putting your safety at serious risk.

7. Damaged Auto Glass Is the Most-Filed Car Insurance Claim

Cracked and chipped windshields are responsible for nearly 30% of all auto insurance claims in the United States. But unfortunately, not every type of auto insurance covers glass damage.


If you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for repairs or replacement of a damaged windshield, rear window, or side windows, read through your policy before you attempt to get your insurer to cover the cost. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, your policy should pay to fix the damage or replace the glass (less your deductible, of course), but if you only have liability, you’ll have to foot the bill. 

8. Exposure to Outdoor Debris Can Cause Pitting in Auto Glass

If you regularly drive in areas where sand or other abrasive outdoor debris becomes airborne and collides with your vehicle, you could end up with what’s known as a “pitted” windshield. If your windshield ends up suffering from pitting, you’ll notice what look like tiny craters in the glass, which will distort light as it passes through.


Because these minuscule pits distort light, they can also affect your vision as you drive and may contribute to excessive glare that makes it difficult to see the road or other drivers in front of you. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair a pitted windshield since the damage is almost always widespread and virtually impossible to fill in.


If you end up with this particular auto glass flaw, you’ll have to get a windshield replacement to restore your ability to see clearly while driving.

Only 1 Auto Glass: The Twin Cities’ Trusted Source for Comprehensive Auto Glass Service

Whether you’re in the market for a windshield replacement or a minor chip repair, let our team at Only 1 Auto Glass help you out!


Our installers are certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council and our team has over 200 years of experience in the auto glass repair and replacement industry. We specialize in mobile and in-shop repairs and have multiple locations throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro for your convenience. 


To get a service or quote or schedule an appointment, feel free to give us a call today at 651-789-1111 or request a free estimate online.