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Types of automotive glass that can be repaired or replaced
In the early days of automotive history, the flat piece of glass in front of the driver served just one purpose: it was a literal windshield, designed to protect the driver from eye-watering speeds of 19 to 28 miles per hour. Since the 1960s, though, when the federal government started to mandate standards, auto glass has become an ever more important automotive safety component, designed to provide not only occupant safety but security.
There are four pieces of glass in any car, and two that come up from time to time:
- Windshield: Windshields are mostly composed of two thin sheets of glass, with a layer of plastic laminated between the two. This glass/plastic sandwich helps maintain the windshield’s integrity should something large, like a falling 2×4 from a construction truck, smash into it. Sometimes a windshield can have an antenna attached to the glass, for radio
- Door glass: As the name suggests, the glass in the door. It’s designed to be mobile, so it has to be strong. All modern door glass is tempered, meaning that it’s hard and tough, but when it breaks, it shatters into a million tiny pieces.
- Back glass or backlight: This is the glass on the opposite end of the car from the windshield. These pieces can be quite large and significantly expensive to replace. They’re also constructed out of tempered glass, so if they break, your entire car will be filled with 30 pounds of tiny crystals. Backlights almost always have ceramic heating elements and electrical connections attached, to defrost the glass in the colder weather.
- Quarter glass: Some vehicles have small, fixed quarter windows mounted behind the rear door glass, or in the door itself.
- Sunroof: The sunroof in your vehicle is a piece of glass that’s made of the same tempered glass as the side windows. Sunroofs are a lot more likely to leak than they are to break.
Types of windshield damage
Broken door glass or back glass is more of a comfort and convenience issue than anything. Nobody wants to drive around with their passenger cabin completely open to the elements unless it’s a balmy day in the summer, and even then, you probably want to lock your vehicle when you arrive at your destination.
The major safety issue is the windshield. You have to be able to see the road ahead, and anything that impedes your vision is a safety concern. Any of the following should be caused to replace or repair the windshield:
- Star or Bull’s Eye chips: Known for their distinctive shapes, they’re caused by the same type of impact. A rock kicked up by a vehicle ahead makes contact with the glass and leaves a chip in the glass. Sometimes the chip can just hollow out a spot (Bull’s Eye) or the chip can develop several small cracks that expand from the center (Star)
- Cracks: Cracks in the windshield can start from the edge of the windshield, or even from the center. The cause is almost always a microscopic chip in the glass. “Stress cracks” aren’t common, or even possible in a modern vehicle. A stress crack used to develop out of nowhere and could be traced to the edge of the glass coming in contact with a hard surface, sometimes due to temperature fluctuation. Almost all modern vehicles have urethane moldings permanently bonded to the glass that allows for expansion and contraction, so stress cracks don’t really appear anymore.
- Sand damage: If you live in an area where sand is applied to the road surfaces in the winter, your windshield can be essentially sandblasted by media flying around in the air as vehicles pass at highway speeds.
- Wiper damage: If you’ve been driving around for 240,000 miles on the same wiper blades, the rubber (or what’s left of it) can etch the glass to the point that you can no longer see out of it.
- Delamination: This doesn’t happen on modern vehicles, but in an older vehicle, the layers of glass can start to delaminate from the plastic inner membrane. This always starts from the edge of the glass, and the membrane can fog to the point that you can’t see through it.
Any of these issues should be enough to replace your windshield, or at least justify getting a repair if that is possible.
What Affects the Cost of a New Windshield Replacement?
While the price for a new windshield will vary between different car models and providers, there are definite factors that have an influence on the cost. The make, model, and year of your vehicle is one of the things to consider when you start to get estimates. Typically, the cost to replace the windshield on a brand new, luxury car that’s filled to the brim with gizmos and gadgets, like rain sensors, is nearly twice that of an economy vehicle that’s got some years on it.
You’ll also notice that the type of glass your mechanic uses for the replacement will have a marked difference on the price. This is especially true if you would like to have the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) glass installed. Most OEM parts cost a bit more than aftermarket parts since they were designed by the manufacturer of your car and with the specifications needed to fit your car perfectly.
Of course, you can help yourself save some money by comparing quotes from different providers to ensure that you’re paying the best price for the service you need.
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Cost Of Safelite
The cost of Safelite’s services ranges from $130 for a single chip repair to about $300 to $500 for standard windshield replacements. If your car has advanced safety features like cameras connected to the windshield, Safelite will need to recalibrate those. This type of windshield replacement can cost $800 to $1,000 or more.
Mobile services cost slightly more than visiting a shop as well. Generally, you’ll pay $15 to $30 more for a mobile appointment.
To get accurate estimates for this Safelight review, we reached out to the company for quotes for a few vehicles:
Contact Rydell Auto Body and Glass for Windshield Repair
We hope this article has illustrated why windshield replacements play an important role in increasing your car’s lifespan and keeping you safe. If you ever need your windshield replaced or have any questions about a windshield repair, contact the Rydell Auto Body and Glass. Our certified technicians work passionately to keep you safe for whatever adventures await you out on the road.