1 If my windshield is broken, should I be concerned about replacing it?

There are several very important safety reasons why a broken windshield should be replaced as soon as possible. Delaying the replacement of a broken windshield will not only impair the driver's visibility, but it can also affect the overall integrity of the vehicle. The car's structural integrity and design performance in the event of a crash depends on the strength of the windshield. While there isn't a federal regulation requiring a broken windshield to be replaced, several states have different laws regarding replacement criteria. Overall, the safety of you and your passengers' lives are worth many times more than the cost of replacing a broken windshield.

2 If a windshield has a rock damage should the windshield be replaced or repaired?

The successful repair of damage due to a rock will depend on the size and location of the break. Some damage can be repaired yielding a satisfactory end result that permits the windshield to perform as originally designed. However, some breaks are difficult to repair and may lead to further damage or eventually become cracks. The recommended practice is that a repair should never be performed in the acute area of the windshield. The acute area is the located directly in front of the driver above the steering wheel. Keep in mind that a broken windshield is always broken even after a successful repair and that its overall performance during a crash can be unpredictable. When in doubt about the repair worthiness of a broken windshield, it is safer to have it replaced.

3 If I have a large scratch in my windshield could it eventually break?

Scratches are usually microscopic compared to the overall thickness of the windshield. Scratches are more often a visibility nuisance than a risk factor that could lead to further damage or breakage. The importance of clear vision plays a significant role in the safety of yourself and those around you. When not addressed, scratches can accumulate causing un-needed glare in the eyes of the driver. Some preventative maintenance and care can keep scratches from accumulating. Regular cleaning both the windshield and your windshield wipers will minimize the small particles of dirt that are often responsible for scratches. Remember to never operate your windshield wipers on a dry windshield. Small scratches can be removed from the glass by using a polishing agent such as Bon-Ami. Deep scratches often need to buffed out with industrial equipment and a materials such as cerium oxide. However, removing a deep scratch within a concentrated area can cause the windshield surface to distort and become uneven. This can lead to other problems such as optical distortion causing driver's eyestrain and poor visibility.

4 Is all glass the same?

All glass owes its origin to the same raw material, which is basically sand. The type of sand used along with the remaining raw materials will impart the basic physical characteristics of the glass produced. There are many types of glass that we use each day for drinking, cooking, in the windows in our homes, offices, and in our vehicles. Each type of glass is made slightly differently depending on the final application.

5 What are the differences in automotive glass versus residential glass?

The basic differences in automotive glass are achieved after the glass is produced during what the industry refers to as the fabrication stage. During fabrication, automotive glass is processed through a series of steps that cut it to size, bend it to shape and add any necessary components to make the final product. In the case of a windshield, two pieces of glass are individually cut and shaped then joined together with a layer of plastic (PVB) between the pieces of glass to form a laminated product. The final strength of the windshield has many benefits that could not be achieved with only one layer of glass.

6 Are there differences in automotive glass from different manufacturers?

There are several dozen manufacturers of automotive glass in the industry and no two are alike. These manufacturers employ a variety of fabrication processes to produce the end product. The product that is made from the different processes depends on the equipment and the quality assurance procedures that are used. While two windshields may look very similar and both may fit the vehicle opening, there may be very distinct physical characteristics that can affect the final performance of the windshield once its installed into your vehicle.

Pilkington is widely recognized as a technological leader in the development of glazing systems for vehicles. Around 1 in 3 of the world's cars carry Pilkington glass. The Group has automotive operations in all major markets and is increasingly moving into emerging markets in support of our Original Equipment customers.

7 How can the manufacturing process affect the physical characteristics of a windshield?

Most everything about the windshield is affected by the process. Characteristics such as distortion and shape and size are obvious features. If the manufacturing process is not carefully monitored at every step, windshields could have terrible optical qualities that would be readily noticeable by the driver or may be bent out of shape and not fit into the vehicle opening properly. Other features such as the internal stress, strength and lamination bond which are not as readily detected if they are manufactured incorrectly can be affected. Deficiencies in any of these characteristics can yield a windshield that does not perform as it should.

8 How does a windshield perform in an accident?

The windshield must break. When the windshield breaks, the glass must remain stuck to the pvb to minimize any cuts that would occur if an occupant were to come in contact with the windshield. The windshield must be able to stretch while absorbing the energy of the crash. This is why a soft flexible plastic layer is sandwiched between the two pieces of glass. The windshield must also keep you in the car during the entire accident. A windshield should not allow your head to penetrate through the glass. Finally, the windshield must remain attached to the vehicle opening. Windshields play a significant role and are very important for both frontal impact and rollover crashes.

9 Aren't there federal specifications for the manufacturer of a windshield?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a set the requirements for glass used in vehicles in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 205. This standard identifies the basic characteristics that glass must maintain for use in any vehicle operated over the highways in the US or Canada. However, a finished glass product may be able to physically pass the required tests and be approved for use in auto industry, but it may not perform as the original vehicle designs were intended. Only the original equipment (OE) supplier and the vehicle manufacturer truly know how and why the glass is designed for the specific the needs of vehicle.

10 What does OEM stand for?

OEM is the acronym for Original Equipment Manufacturer. In the automotive industry, OEM denotes those manufacturers that supply product used in the production of the vehicle direct to the vehicle manufacturers. In the case of glass, an OEM supplier such as Pilkington, sells glass direct to vehicle manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Toyota, and many others.

11 Why should I use OEM quality glass to replace my broken windshield?

The OEM manufacturers often employ the latest fabrication technology to produce glass for the industry. The use of glass in automotive industry plays a more significant role in the design of the vehicle today than at any time in history. The ability to keep up with today's technology assures the glass manufacturer that they will be able to create an automotive part that will function like it is designed. OEM manufacturers work with the vehicle manufactures for years prior to vehicle production to develop the glass that will be sufficient for the vehicle design. Any changes that may be needed once the vehicle goes into production are implemented quickly to assure the design's integrity and overall customer satisfaction.

12 How can I know if the glass going into my vehicle is OEM quality?

Consumers have a choice regarding the installation shop and the product that is used to replace a broken windshield. For safety and vehicle integrity, insist on a shop that uses OEM quality glass. Ask questions about the process and the product that will be used in the replacement procedure.

To help ensure the safety of your family & OEM integrity of your vehicle, ask for a Pilkington  product the next time you need glass for your automobile! This will guarantee you are receiving an OEM quality piece of auto glass.

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