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broken quarter glassThe team of auto glass professionals at Smiley’s Glass in Richmond, Virginia are experts in the repair of quarter glass windows for vehicles of all makes and models. We’ve assembled this guide to help you learn about the history of these unique little windows and why they are important to your safety while driving a vehicle.

 What is Quarter Glass?

Also called a valance window or vent glass, a quarter glass window is a side-facing window on a vehicle that is significantly smaller than the standard passenger windows and often serves as an extension of the passenger window either above the rear wheel or next to the side-view mirrors.

These small-paneled windows can sometimes open to allow air to enter and ventilate the car. This style of window first came into popularity in the 1950s when they were standard on virtually every vehicle. During this time period, almost all quarter glass windows operated on a manual tilt mechanism, allowing the glass panel to pivot outward, letting air enter the vehicle. This type of vent glass was extremely popular before the emergence of air conditioning in automobiles because it allowed the driver and passengers in the front seat to direct airflow into the vehicle to cool off.

It wasn’t until years later when fuel efficiency became a concern and air conditioning was more common that these windows were modified to their current, non-tilt design. Nowadays many sedans and other vehicles are equipped with stationary quarter glass windows extending from either the front or rear side windows. In fact, some vehicles are equipped with both. Still today, many common models of minivans utilize tilt technology in their third-row quarter glass windows.

Why is it There?

While the purpose of tilting quarter glass had its roots in ventilation in early vehicles, stationary quarter glass windows are still relatively commonplace. Since the need for ventilation to cool a vehicle is no longer a common concern, many people wonder why we still utilize these windows at all. The answer is quarter glass windows greatly enhance the driver's visibility of the surrounding area. In the rear of the vehicle, the presence of a quarter glass window can allow the driver to view an area that would typically be a “blind spot.” Furthermore, when these small windows appear on the front of a vehicle, they allow the driver to increase the visibility of the side-view mirrors and the front of the vehicle.

Replacing Quarter Glass

More often than not, quarter glass panels are made from the same tempered glass that your vehicle’s windshield and passenger windows are made of. For that reason, if there is any damage to the quarter glass, it should be addressed immediately.

There are three primary ways that quarter glass can break.

  • The glass itself can break, resulting in a full replacement.
  • The weather stripping that holds the glass in place can become damaged or weakened causing leaking and other damage.
  • The window-opening mechanism can break if the windows are not stationary windows.

Sometimes, vehicle owners are under the impression that since the quarter glass is the smallest piece of glass on their vehicle, it is the least expensive to replace. While in some cases that can be true, the cost of a repair varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle at hand. Realistically, quarter glass replacement can range from $100-1,000 depending on the vehicle and the piece of glass broken. If the quarter glass is functional and not stationary, the replacement will be much more expensive.

Next time you need a quarter glass replacement, look no further than Smiley’s Glass in Richmond, Virginia. We offer the safest and finest services when it comes to vehicle glass repair or replacement. You can rest assured that we use only quality, manufacturer approved products as prescribed by the Auto Glass Safety Council’s AGRSS program. For more information on our expert auto glass repair or replacement services, you can contact us by dialing 804-320-7172.

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7100 Forest Hill Ave
Richmond, VA 23225


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