What is it about car glass that makes it so unique? It’s just like every other piece of translucent material we come into contact with everyday right?

Wrong.

It’s one of the most critical components in our daily driving lives and often stands as the final thin see-through line of life and death.

Dramatic?

Perhaps, but not far off.

What does car glass do?

Clear enough car glass to see the occupant of the vehicle

I know we like to think of car glass as something that’s there to ensure that insects don’t get in our teeth or that the wind messes up our hair.

And yes, those are parts of its function. But there might be quite a few areas you weren’t aware played a large role in your safety and protection while on the road.

Protection from outside elements

Sticks and stones will break your bones. And that’s just a few things that you’re trying to avoid while happily driving from Point A to B. Rocks being churned up from passing cars and roadside machinery might be small, but at a ferocious velocity and angle of impact, they can be more than just a minor headache. 

Among the dangers of the outside world are UV rays which your windscreen and side windows are designed to limit your fragile skin’s exposure to.

Visual safety

To be protected is excellent, but a thick wall in place of car glass will be even more protective, but next to zero use in this situation. Car glass is designed to be transparent while also being shaped and created to be easily cleaned after inevitable spills and messes occur. To be flexible and robust is a rare quality (unless you’re bamboo or a yoga teacher) and it’s quite a process to walk that line.

Again with UV rays; car glass has to give you a clear scope of vision while also serving to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun.

Structural integrity

The dynamic relationship between car glass sections and the vehicle’s framework is not just a one-way street regarding structural support. While the frame might hold the windscreen and side windows in place, the glass is also there to give the necessary support in case of an accident where your vehicle might roll over into its side or upside down. The glass fixtures keep the frame from crumpling inwards and crushing the occupants.

Comfort 

Aside from providing relief from objects, the car glass works to keep you from experiencing uncomfortable levels of hot and cold, and from being subjected to intense levels of noise and roadside smells. Its a guardian of the senses and is the one item standing between a delightful and relaxing drive, or a terrifying and uncomfortable journey.

The types of car glass

When you look at vehicles and the glass that gets installed inside them, you’ll find two types of glass, either laminated or tempered.

Windscreens are laminated, and car glass placed in the rear windscreen and side door windows are tempered.

Laminated

Cross section of a laminated  windscreen

Although it’s not immune from damage, this type of car glass is designed to withstand far more punishment levels than the other car glass sections before breaking into pieces. 

The reasoning? To prevent deadly injuries from sharp shards of glass during an accident and successfully stop any vehicle occupants from being flung through windscreens during a collision. This glass is also easier to repair so that you don’t need to replace your windscreen every single time it’s damaged.

You create Laminated glass by joining two glass sheets together with a polyvinyl layer in between. Once placed together, these sheets get fused by high levels of heat.

Tempered Glass

Tiny shards of tempered glass

This type of glass is designed specifically in mind to shatter and break more easily than laminated windscreens. These glass shards are smaller and have rounded edges instead of sharp lines, which won’t harm anybody they come into contact with.

The downside to this design is that if a crack appears from damage (maybe a pebble flung from the road, or a tree branch caught in the wind), you can’t get it repaired, it requires a full replacement each time.

Tempered car glass is first made with rapid heating and then sudden cooling and only one glass layer.

What is OEM?

View from inside a car with a dirty windscreen

Original Equipment Manufacturer, shortened to OEM, signifies that the components used to replace the defective glass section in question came from your car’s original maker, not a one-piece-fits-all manufacturer. 

Why does this matter in terms of my car glass quality?

When the automobile manufacturing corporation that produced your car designed and constructed the glass for your windscreen and side windows, they planned the shape of that glass type exactly with your vehicle in mind.

Seedier glass companies take those specialised glass parts and market them autonomously for other vehicles. This method results in a dilemma, since installing glass parts that are not actually OEM certified will not fit as well, and it won’t interact with other features in the way it’s designed to. 

It might also be wielded by glass technicians who are not versed in how these parts work together or the proper methods of installation.

To save yourself untold hours of headaches and shaky quality glass, rather trust car glass technicians who are OEM-certified.

How car glass has changed over the years

cross section of a side window's glass layer

When you look at the windscreen history, it’s fascinating to see the change in strength and technical proficiency. The early Ford Model T vehicles created the first windscreen in 1904, due to drivers getting pelted by pebbles, flying insects, and any number of pesky airborne missiles that you’ll still encounter daily on your driving journey. They created a thin glass pane as a barrier, roughly the same as a house window might have to combat this.

As cars grew in popularity and technology allowed them to increase their speed, roadside injuries became more regular, and glass pieces introduced into the fray lead to significantly worse results.

These injuries led the charge in creating forms of car glass that were more durable and less likely to result in bodily harm in the event they did break. This lead to the creation of laminated and tempered glass mentioned earlier.

In 1947, the concept of curved windscreens was introduced to the scene, and within another ten years, tints were all the rage in order to combat glare from the sun, often magnified by the properties of glass before tinting.

Today’s modern windscreens are quite different from their ancestors- such as being more extensive and covered in dye-film to protect us from excess heat and UV rays.

Then, driving features and gadgets were introduced, which interacted directly with the car glass, primarily the windscreen.

Car features that interact with windscreens

exciting technology that interacts with the windscreen in your car

With automobiles gaining more exciting and shiny gadgets and gizmos over the years, it was only a matter of time before they started interacting directly with the glass sections of your car.

Rain Sensor

Using light sensor technology to determine how much moisture is touching your windscreen at all times, a rain sensor was designed in mind to fight in the war against drivers distractions. It ensures that your field of vision never becomes too distorted by rainfall without you noticing.

Once a pre-determined level of rainfall (or any water really) comes into contact with your windscreen, a command is sent to the windscreen wipers to adjust their movement accordingly.

Acoustic Windscreen

By adding an extra layer of vinyl to your laminated windscreen, your windscreen will gain sound-dampening properties and create a sanctuary of quiet peace within the interior of your car. The noise levels of the outside world will slip away as you drive, along with all your worries.

At least until you have to get out.

Camera on Windscreen

This handy little device logs video information while driving and helps you become more aware of the outside world to react better and faster to potential threats. It’s also handy for parking perfectly on the first try, and to provide footage in those annoying court cases where you have to prove the car accident “wasn’t your fault”.

Green Tint / Grey Sun Strip

You might notice that certain vehicles’ car glass has a slight green tint or that their windscreens have a grey strip bar near the top. These both serve the same similar function; removing the blinding glare of the sun, and protecting your skin from its damaging UV rays. 

Its a full day job; the times you’re most likely to be blinded are in the morning and evening when the sun rises and sets, and midday is when the sun has the most considerable potential to harm your skin.

Electrically Heated Windscreen

Electrically heated glass is made when one triple-glazes the glass, enabling them to transmit electronically-controlled radiant warmth, thus providing a magnified thermal level luxury. It also aids with the worries of wear-and-tear and visibility caused by ice crystallisation or blizzard damage.

Heads Up Display

What Head-Up Displays do is beam a floating picture of the necessary information you’d find highly beneficial when operating your car. It’s displayed directly onto of the windscreen ahead of you. 

Most head-up displays will present everything from speed levels and cruise control to helpful directions.

Causes of car glass cracking/shattering

Cracked windscreen / car glass

There are quite a few reasons that cracks and dents will start appearing on your windscreen or side door windows. Some will result in only minor imperfections that can be easily repaired, while others could end in a spreading network of cracks.

Impact Damage

This is the most frequent and rational reason that cracks or dents will grow on your car glass surface. When you drive along a newly paved road or one filled with gravel and rocks, small road debris can be churned up from the ground and hit your windscreen with enough determination to inflict sufficient damage to the layers of glass.

Stress Fractures

When your car’s windscreen is faced with drastic shifts in temperature, like heat from a hot day of sunlight and cold from a wintery wind, it develops the risk of producing a stress fracture. This phenomenon occurs when fluctuating temperatures cause the glass layers to expand and contract rapidly, which causes immense damage. Gradual changes will slowly deteriorate and rend your car’s glass, but a rapid change (such as pouring boiling liquid on a frozen windscreen) can cause it to shatter immediately.

Weather storms and debris

Looming hailstorms and icy winds can threaten to undermine the integrity of our car glass. Wind blowing around small objects can hit our vehicle at the worst time. Icy roads might influence significant car accidents happening, which could lead to extensive levels of damage.

Collisions or car accidents

Every driver’s worst nightmare.; negligent drivers, a critter running across the road, terrible timing- all situations that can start car accidents that can vary from an insignificant fender-bender to an absolute write-off.

Badly-done car glass replacements

Suppose you hire car glass technicians who don’t appreciate the complexities of how a car’s glass interacts with its multiple parts or they use shoddy materials. In this case, you’ll find yourself needing them again within an uncomfortably short time. Cheaper options usually end up costing more in the long run.

Who should I trust with car glass repairs and replacements?

Side window glass

And at UK Car Glass, we aim to provide the best possible service, at the most affordable and fair prices.

But there is an abundance of competing car glass repair companies, so why take our word for it?

Nation-wide-coverage where we come to you

We can reach you anyplace within the UK, so long as it’s accessible through land or bridge. You will no longer need to transport yourself somewhere with a seriously jeopardised windscreen or other shattered sections of car glass!

An efficient website

Our website has your leisure in mind with its design. Book an appointment at a day and time that works most suitably for your schedule, and we’ll send over one of our trained professionals. 

Insurance accepted

We receive most UK providers of auto insurance plans. 

Raving reviews from previous clients

Instead, read about us from others if you don’t want to take our word for it! Inspect our reviews, and you’ll understand that our customer care, the character of work from our professional technicians, and glass material quality surpasses any of our competitors!


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