Car window replacement is the process of replacing an automobile’s glass window. A windshield comprises multiple layers that are fabricated into one laminated unit using various types of adhesives. While most car windows are now made with laminated safety glass, molded in plastic is sometimes used for back and rear side windows as well as quarter glasses.
The windshield of a car is unique and very different from the windows in your home. Home windows are typically flat, stationary, and made of non-safety glass. Automobile windscreens, also known as “windshields,” on the other hand, consist of various layers of glass, plastic, and scratch-resistant coatings, which all work together to offer safety and visibility for the vehicle’s occupants. Automotive glass is manufactured and engineered specifically for each model and can contain up to 5 different layers:
Automotive Glass Manufacturing Process
Each layer provides a specific function, which is why it’s so important to have your windscreen repaired by a professional early on in the damage process. The layers are:
Glass Layer :
The glass or “crown” layer provides physical support for the whole windscreen and aids in preventing injury during an accident. It also keeps noise from coming into the vehicle, maintains uniformity of appearance, and enhances strength.
Low E Glass Layer
The “Low-E” or low emissivity glass layer acts as an insulator by allowing the sun’s light to pass through it but blocking its longer (lower-energy) infrared waves, which reduce heat transfer into the vehicle. This is the essential layer of glass in an automobile windshield because it prevents heat build-up inside the car. On the contrary, this is also why you can’t use standard glass heaters to warm your car up on cold winter mornings.
The interlayer is typically made of either polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or silicon and is located between the glass layer and the lower layer. It serves as an adhesive to hold both layers together while resisting impacts that can otherwise shatter the windscreens.
The windshield seals help keep moisture, dirt, and other debris outside of your car – keeping you, your passengers, and its electronic components safe. They also keep the vehicle’s interior climate-controlled by preventing warm air from escaping in the winter and cool air from entering during hot summer days.
The Low-E coating on your glass reduces UV exposure, which protects you (and your car) against fading of fabrics and leathers, cracking of wood trim, and other interior effects caused by sun damage.
Types of Automotive Glass Fracture
Two types of glass fractures can affect your windscreen, namely the star break and the bullseye break.
A star break is the most common type of windscreen damage and usually happens when a rock or another hard object impacts the glass. The star break is caused by the shattering of small sections within the impacted area and can be very dangerous because it’s sharp and tends to spread further than other types of cracks.
The bullseye crack, on the other hand, is more difficult to detect but can also be very dangerous because it can expand and cause further damage to the glass. The bullseye crack results from an internal fracture that spreads outwards in a circular motion rather than across or through the glass. This type of break usually occurs over time as a result of everyday use – which is why it’s essential to have your windscreen professionally repaired as soon as possible.
Seven Methods to Replace Automotive Glass on your Car
Rear side windows are usually replaced for personal preference or damage. However, quarter glasses can be substituted for a number of reasons. Quarter glass repair is the process of repairing a cracked, scratched, or fogged quarter glass. Though these types of repairs can usually be done in under an hour, it’s always best to allow your auto glass shop enough time to do the job correctly. If done incorrectly, serious injury can occur while driving.
Here are seven methods to replace automotive glass on your car door.
Replacing Quarter Glass with OEM Quality Glass
The best way to get a new quarter glass installed is by replacing it with OEM quality glass. For some vehicles, it’s also possible to have this work completed by a non-OEM glass shop, but it’s essential to be aware that these types of shops have replacement glass that may not fit your car perfectly. When you’re looking for someone who can replace quarter glass on your vehicle, get a quote from an OEM or OE certified shop so you know you’ll get the proper fit. There are specific pros and cons to all methods used for this type of replacement, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into before committing to a particular way of getting your car window replaced.
Replacing with Factory Replacement Glass
Most factory replacement glass is made from the same material as your original car window and will fit into your car just like the original glass came from the factory. It’s also possible to find aftermarket quality replacement glass in this section of a parts store, but you’ll need to read the description and make sure it matches OEM to get a proper fit.
Factory replacement quarter windows use their own adhesive for installation and are designed specifically for the vehicle they came in.
Replace with Aftermarket Quality Replacement Glass
This type of replacement glass is cheaper than factory replacement but isn’t entirely as accurate when installed. It’s suitable for people who need a quick repair and doesn’t mind taking the risk that they may not get an exact fit or seal-like OEM glass.
Replace Quarter Glass with DIY Installation Kits
DIY kits are a simple way to complete this type of glass replacement without paying expensive labor fees. These types of kits do not include the adhesive needed for installation, so it’s vital that you know what adhesive is compatible with your vehicle before embarking on this journey. You may also want to use a professional or experienced auto glass shop if you aren’t familiar with the installation process. If these items are not included in this type of kit, you can find them at most auto parts stores and dealerships with an automotive section.
Removing and Reinstalling Your Window
This method of replacement is often considered a temporary fix by professionals because it could compromise the structural integrity of your car. This type of repair requires that you take out the window from inside your vehicle and place a new one in. This can be a quick and easy way to get another few months or years out of your quarter glass if done correctly.
Replace Quarter Glass with Specialized Tools
This method is similar to replacing the quarter glass with an OEM fit but was designed for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and using specialized tools such as a heat gun to loosen up the old glass without cracking it. If you’re not great at DIY projects, you may want to look for a glass shop that does this type of replacement.
Replace Quarter Glass by Finding a Replacement Windshield
Replacing windshields is the most challenging way to replace car glass, but it can be done on some cars with more giant windows or specialty shapes. If you have access to windows on the exact vehicle that is the same shape, you can often swap them out with one another. If both of your original quarter glass windows are damaged or broken, then this is the only option for window replacement with your car.
Automotive glass is a particular type of glass used in cars. Why? Well, think about how many times you have to drive in a day or week or how long you keep your vehicle. You need that clear vision for driving, and it has to be there every time you get into your car. Also, would a broken windshield not cause an immense distraction while driving? You don’t want to be in a situation where you could only see half the road and other cars can’t see you. A minor chip on your windshield should never escalate into a full-out crack, either. The glass is what protects you from falling objects or particles hitting your face while you drive down the road. But replacing the windshield is not the only option you should consider; you have backlights, headlights, and windows as well.