Seeing Safety In Glass

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

Glass not only protects you from the outside elements, but it serves other purposes as well.

Take the windshield, for example. On newer vehicles, it not only keeps the wind and rain out of your face, but it also is a very important part of the structure. Windshields are bonded to the vehicle with urethane adhesives and if you were to roll over in a crash, the windshield would actually help hold up the roof of the vehicle and keep you safe.

That’s why it’s so important to have a windshield replaced by a professional who knows what they are doing. If a windshield is installed incorrectly on a newer vehicle, it can pop out in a collision or rollover crash, leaving you and your passengers at serious risk.

Windshields are laminated, which means that a layer of plastic film is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. That helps protect the occupants from objects coming through the glass in a collision. Because that plastic is in between the two pieces of glass, the windshield acts as a protective barrier for the passengers in the vehicle and keeps objects from coming into the interior of the vehicle.

Door glass is different, though. For the most part, door glass is made of safety glass, which means that it breaks into a million pieces when it gets hit. The back glass is usually safety glass as well, but there is a trend that is heading towards using laminated glass for door and back glass, to make them quieter, more secure and block the sun's UV rays.

Power windows are great, until they start to act up. Most times a power window that doesn’t work has a broken regulator assembly that includes the motor. Replacing these on most vehicles can range from around $200 to $500. A typical regulator assembly is basically a cable that is driven by a motor and it all is connected by plastic parts and pulleys. If the cable breaks or the motor burns out, your window obviously is not going to work.

So be especially careful in the wintertime when a window does not want to roll down because it’s frozen in place. If you keep trying to force it down with the window switch, the plastic parts on the regulator could possibly break.

One last tip and it has to do with your rear window defroster if you have an SUV or minivan. That defroster grid is basically painted on the inside of the back glass, so avoid having items rubbing against the glass in the rear cargo area. Also, be careful to avoid unplugging the wires that go to the defroster grid when you are loading or unloading your vehicle. If any of these things happen, your defroster is not going to work correctly this winter.

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