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A windshield provides a protective barrier and an essential clear view of the road ahead. It's a critical safety component that plays a key role in protecting you during your travels. The type of glass used to construct your windshield can significantly impact visibility, safety, and overall driving experience.

Let's explore the various types of windshield glass available and understand their unique features.

Laminated Glass vs Tempered Glass

Laminated glass is the most common type used for vehicle windshields. It consists of two layers of glass with a thin layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched in between. The PVB layer acts as a bonding agent, keeping the layers of glass together even when shattered. This design enhances safety by preventing the glass from breaking apart during an impact, reducing the risk of injury.

While laminated glass is typically used for windshields, tempered glass is more often used for side and rear windows. Tempered glass undergoes a special heat treatment but unlike windshield glass, it can shatter completely upon direct impact, just note that it's made to shatter into small dull pebble-like pieces decreasing injury risk. The heating process involves heating at high temperatures then it is suddenly cooled. This results in glass that is more impact-resistant than regular glass.

Heated Windshield Glass

As the weather gets colder and we’re met with frosty mornings, heated windshield glass can be a game changer. This type of glass has built-in heating elements that quickly defrost and de-ice the windshield, improving visibility in cold weather. It's a practical solution for those living in frost-prone areas, saving time and effort during winter mornings. Of course, the main reason for a heated windshield is to defrost effectively for ease of viewing, but it's also a great option for avoiding foggy windshields.

You may be wondering if broken heated windshields will still function. It's not uncommon to notice that the heating element is no longer working if your windshield is damaged. A crack or a chip is enough to cause the heating grid to lose electrical contact. In this case, a replacement is recommended.

Dealer Glass and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

Dealer glass is auto glass you purchase from your vehicle dealer. It has the vehicle’s make stamped on it. It’s also much more expensive because of the name brand. That is the only notable difference between dealer and OEM windshield glass.

OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer. OEM glass is made to the same specifications as dealer glass. The difference is that it’s not necessarily made by the same distributor. It will be the same shape, size, thickness, durability, and tint color as your major vehicle brand installed in the original vehicle.

The reason OEM glass exists is that vehicle companies often change their auto glass contracts. The company that made the glass for your vehicle originally is unlikely to be the same company that makes the glass for your vehicle today. OEM meets all the quality and safety standards required, so it is the go-to for glass installation companies.

The experts at Smiley’s Glass are here to ensure you receive the highest quality auto glass installations. We use only tested, manufacturer-approved methods and materials as specified by the Auto Glass Safety Council’s AGRSS program. Your safety and satisfaction are our top priority. Our mobile installation option gives you quality service with convenience to fit your busy schedule. Give us a call today at (804) 320-7172 or visit us online for a free quote.

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Richmond, VA 23225


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