Why Does Your Car Use Safety Glass for Its Windows?

You may be aware that your car's windows don't use standard (or annealed) glass, but do you know why? Auto glass is a surprisingly deep and fascinating topic, and your manufacturer carefully chose the glass used on your car for a wide variety of reasons. Safety glass is now a standard feature on all automobiles; your vehicle will use either tempered or laminated glass for each window. Read on to learn more about your options.

Safety Glass Types: Laminated vs. Tempered

If the thought of breaking glass makes you picture jagged, knife-life shards, then you are thinking of annealed glass. This standard form of glass uses a slow cooling process, and it's highly cost-effective in situations where breakage is not a significant concern. Vehicle manufacturers do not use annealed glass on its own since it can become exceptionally hazardous in accidents.

Instead, the windows on your car use either tempered or laminated glass. Unlike annealed glass, tempered glass uses a rapid cooling process for additional strength. More importantly, tempered glass breaks into small pieces rather than dangerous shards when it breaks. Since tempered glass does not pose a hazard to vehicle occupants, first responders can safely break it to retrieve trapped motorists.

Laminated glass takes a different approach to deal with the problem of dangerous glass shards. Each layer of glass in a laminated window attaches to a vinyl sheet. When laminated glass breaks, any fragments remain glued to the vinyl sheet. If you've ever seen a shattered car window fall out in one piece, then you've seen how effective laminated glass can be.

How and Why Your Car Uses Safety Glass

The advantages of safety glass for automotive applications are numerous. In particular, safety glass offers two significant benefits for modern motorists: reduced risk of injury from breakage and greater strength to resist punctures. Greater strength helps prevent debris from entering the passenger cabin and prevents occupants from being thrown from the vehicle in accidents.

Since tempered glass can shatter relatively quickly, all cars use laminated glass on their windshields. The anti-shatter properties of laminated glass are essential in this application to protect front-seat occupants and lend extra integrity to the vehicle's structure. Side windows often use tempered glass since vehicle occupants are less likely to move to the sides in an accident.

Replacing Your Vehicle's Safety Glass

Every window on your car serves an essential function in an accident, protecting your vehicle's occupants and helping to maintain its overall structural stability. If one of your windows is damaged, it's crucial to have it evaluated by an auto safety glass replacement company. Ensuring that your windows remain in good condition ensures that your vehicle will perform as intended in an accident.