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How Is Auto Glass Made, Repaired, Replaced, and More

Posted by Mariios on December 9, 2020

Auto Glass is the class of glass plate used in vehicles, as depicted by the name “Auto Glass''. Most people confuse Auto Glass with the common glass. The common glass is a single sheet of glass with no preventive measures in case of breakage. If a common glass breaks, all the people in the range can get injured due to the sharp and pointy edges of the shattered glass. The Auto Glass comes with special preventive measures. In case of any accident or collision, the auto glass is made to break into little round sand-like pieces. It is made as such to save the driver and the passengers from lethal injuries. The tiny, round pieces don’t scratch your skin and save your skin from cuts.

How Is Auto Glass Made?

The auto glass is particularly important, as it enables the driver to view the road and the surroundings of the vehicle. Auto Glass along with making the look of the vehicle aesthetic, also supplies structural support to the car's framework in case of a roll over. Besides these functions, auto glass is also connects many electrical systems of the car, such as the defrost system of the vehicle. There is no technology, till now, that can make it possible for a vehicle to function without the auto glass. All these important functionalities call for the need of careful making of auto glass, but how is auto glass made? Here is a summary of how an auto glass is made. The auto glass production consists of the following stages.

Raw Materials For Auto Glass

Auto glass is made of several raw materials. The glass is made by the fusion of different oxides. The oxides are made to fuse by heating. The main raw materials needed for the manufacture of auto glass is as follows

  • Sand or Silica: Silicon dioxide also commonly known as silica is a sand type that mostly holds quartz. Silica is a compound with a high melting point temperature and makes up almost 60 to 70% of windshield glass.
  • Sodium Carbonate: It causes the melting point of Silica to drop to about 1000 °C when mixed with Silica. The only drawback that Sodium Carbonate poses is that it makes the glass water-soluble.
  • Lime or Calcium Oxide: The drawback of using Sodium Carbonate is fixed by combining it with Lime. Lime or Calcium Carbonate is obtained from the limestone. It also makes the glass durable by providing it with the necessary strength.
  • Oxides of Potassium, Aluminum, and Magnesium: These oxides are also mixed in the above mixture in appropriate quantities.
  • Broken Glass: A small amount of old broken glass is also mixed with the above mixture, to assist in melting the glass. It further helps in the formation of new glass.

In the end, all these above ingredients are mixed with a specified quantity of water and then heated.

The Manufacturing Of Auto Glass

The above mixture is sent for processing in the specified quantity. The process is known as the float process. As the name suggests, the glass literally floats over the bed of molten metal. The glass forms itself into sheets of uniform thickness. The glass floats like it is moving on a conveyor belt. The temperature at the opening is about 1000°C, this high temperature cleans the glass of impurities that might be present. The temperature at the end is 600 °C, this lowering of temperature helps the glass to harden and move to the next stage.

After the float chamber, the solar coatings are applied to the glass to protect the heat from entering the car. It also prevents the warmth of the car from escaping the car in winter. Then the glass enters the furnace called “Lehr”, where the glass leaves at 200 °C, before coming to room temperature. After going through Lehr, the glass is ready to be cut into different shapes.

Cutting The Glass

After the cooling of the glass, it is cut into the desired shape and size according to the frame size of the vehicle. The glass sheets are cut using a diamond scribe and then the glass piece is snapped from the sheet. The snapped glass is then placed into a mold, where it is heated until the glass takes the shape of the mold with uniform thickness.

Tempering And Lamination Of The Glass

After the glass has taken the shape of the mold, the glass is tempered to provide it with special strength. This additional strength is provided to the glass to withstand extreme pressures and shear stress it faces through the years. The glass is tempered by heating it and quickly exposing it to the old environment. This applies shear stress to the outer surface of the glass and tension inside. This process makes the glass if it breaks, break into small round pieces and doesn’t injure the people inside. Then the process moves towards laminating the glass. In the laminating process, two sheets of glass are bonded with a layer of plastic in between them. The process takes place in the autoclave. In an autoclave, this combination of glass and plastic sheets takes place in high temperatures. The high temperature makes the combination of glass and plastic sheets bind together as one.

The lamination of the glass makes it resilient to tearing. The lamination offers increased protection as it will make the glass adhere to the plastic sheet even when it's broken. If there is no lamination the glass will shatter if any rock or debris hits the screen and would also irritate you. This makes it impossible even to drive to the repair shop. After the lamination, the glass goes through the final step, which is the assembly of the glass with the
vehicle’s framework. In the assembly unit, the glass is carefully placed in the vehicle’s framework.

Difference Between Laminated And Tempered Glass

The laminated glass is used for only the windshield of the vehicle, the rest of the auto glass is all tempered glass. There is a huge difference between both kinds of auto glass. The laminated glass protects the glass from shattering under the effect of shear force, such as rocks hitting the windshield. Whereas, the tempered glass shatters in thousands of tiny, round-shaped sand-like pieces, that do not cause many injuries.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a combination of two sheets of glasses packing a thin layer of plastic in between. The laminated glass sticks to the thin layer of plastic and does not shatter under the effect of force. This nonshattering property of laminated glass makes it favorable to be used as a windshield.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is the product of heating and then introducing to the cold environment. This makes the glass able to withstand more pressure and shear stress. The tempered glass shatters in case you meet an accident. This shattering of the glass, seemingly disastrous, is a safety procedure as the glass is divided into tiny round pieces. This shattering into tiny round pieces, makes it immune to causing cuts to or hurting the driver and passengers.

Types Of Auto Glass

Auto Glass consists of a wide variety of glass for every place of the vehicle. The auto glass types include the following:

  • Windshield or Windscreen
  • Back Windshield or back Windscreen
  • Door Glass
  • Vent Glass
  • Quarter Glass
  • Sunroof or Moonroof

These types of places of glass cover all the places in the framework of the vehicle earmarked for the auto glass.

Windshield or Windscreen

The windshield or windscreen of the vehicle is the auto glass placed at the front of the vehicle. The windscreen offers a view of the road to the driver. Apart from adding to the aesthetics of the vehicle, the windscreen offers structural support to the vehicle’s framework. Windscreen is of paramount importance in the safety of vehicles. The windscreen is made of laminated glass, which provides additional safety to the driver and the passengers.

Windshield Repair or Replacement

Most of the auto glass repair and replacement, in Houston or surrounding areas, are related to the windshield of the vehicle. Even if you drive your vehicle carefully, your vehicle’s windshield can be damaged in a number of ways. The most common windshield problems are as following:

  • Damaged windscreen due to collision or accident.
  • The sudden, significant temperature shift can cause cracks to appear in your windshield.
  • The sloppy windshield replacement or amateur workmanship can cause you to return to the auto glass repairer.
  • Low-quality auto glass gradually develops cracks.
  • Rock chips and cracks, even if they don’t bother you now, can pose serious threats by spreading.
  • Hail storms are one of the major threats to auto glass, especially sunroof. Hail storms can cause your windscreen to crack.

Rock Chip

Rock chips are the cracks caused on the windscreen of a vehicle as a result of the rocks or debris hitting your windscreen. There are four major types of rock chips:

  1. Star Chips: Star chips are the cracks spreading out from the point of impact. These kinds of rock chips are quite dangerous as they spread out. It is advised to consult your auto glass repairs as soon as possible in case of star chips.
  2. Bullseye: Bullseye break is the kind of chip in which the glass breaks in round circles inside each other. This kind of rock chip is relatively easier to repair.
  3. Bat Wing: In this kind of rock chip, two cracks are emerging from the same spot into a V-shape, like bat wings. It also spreads into windshields like star chips. These kinds of cracks should be addressed immediately.
  4. Combination Break: Combination break is combination of two or three of the above rock chips, as the name suggests. This rock chip is also prone to spreading and should also be addressed immediately.

The repair or replacement of windshield is particularly important as it directly affects the visibility of the driver. Windshield repair and replacement is not something that common folks can do on their own. Most of the common folks need to consult a windshield repair and replacement expert in such cases. Any repair and replacement service will first need to determine whether your vehicle needs a repair or replacement. If the cracks are deep and repair is not possible then you need to have your windshield replaced. There are following steps to get your windshield replaced

  1. First all the attachments are removed from the windshield.
  2. Then the windshield is carefully removed.
  3. The framework in which the screen was installed is then cleaned carefully.
  4. Any debris or broken glass is then vacuumed from the vehicle’s interior.
  5. Then, the new windshield is installed and the adhesives, urethane, is applied to bind the new auto glass and the vehicle’s framework.
  6. Then, the rubber of the windscreen is placed back on its place. And then your vehicle is ready to get back on the road.

Back Glass Replacement And Repair

Rear screen is the auto glass at the back of the vehicle. The rear screen of the vehicle is made up of tempered glass. The tempered glass shatters into thousands of tiny, round sand like pieces. This shattering into round pieces of rear screen protects the people inside the car from injuries. Unlike the windshield the rear screen cannot be repaired, it has to be replaced every time it is damaged. The rock chips or other damages are not limited to the windshield, your rear screen can also face these damages. The major damage to the rear screen is caused by numerous factors, weather being the major one. The repair and replacement process of the rear screen goes as follows:

  1. All the electrical systems connected to the rear screen, such as the defrost system, are carefully removed.
  2. The broken rear screen is carefully removed.
  3. The vehicle’s interior and the rear screen space is thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed.
  4. The adhesive, urethane, is applied onto the hollow space to fit the new rear screen.
  5. The new rear screen is put into place carefully.
  6. In the end, the rubbers for holding the screen in place and the electrical systems are set back into order and your vehicle is ready to hit the road.

Sunroof or Moonroof

The auto glass at the top of the vehicle is either a sunroof or moonroof according to their working. Sunroof and moonroof are often used interchangeably, however the two are not the same. The sunroof of the vehicle provides the path for sunlight wind or both to flow inside the vehicle. The sun roof can be opened in or closed. Whereas, the moon roof is usually tinted to stop the sunlight from entering the vehicle. Moreover, the moon roof is usually static and cannot open but the cover for the moonroof can open or close. The sunroof of your car can get damaged due to hail storms or the rubbers can loosen. It is necessary to consult your repairman immediately, as the damaged sunroof can leak and damage the vehicle's interior.

Vent Glass and Quarter Glass

The vent glass is the auto glass placed at the front (left and right) and rear (left and right) sides. The vent glasses were introduced to let the cool air in and out of the vehicle. Nowadays, the vent glass does not serve the same purpose as before. If the vent glass doesn’t open or close, it is known as quarter glass. The air conditioners in vehicles have eliminated the need for vent glass in the vehicles.

The vent glass in the modern vehicle allows the driver to get a broader vision of the road and surroundings. Another purpose that vent glasses serve is that it allows the side glasses to slide lower than they can without vent glass. The vent glass or quarter glass, though small in size, is not easy to repair or replace. One must consult the experts, as the damaged or broken vent or quarter glass is ideal for break-ins.

Door Glass or Side Glass

Side glass or windows of the vehicle are another very important auto glass in every vehicle. The primary function of side glasses or windows is to let the fresh air into the vehicle. Door Glass is made of tempered glass and hence shatter on collision or in case of accident. The broken window puts your car on the weather’s mercy and also the broken window exposes your vehicle’s interior to theft. It is recommended to replace the broken window as soon as possible..

Conclusion

We, at Blue diamond Auto Glass are always glass to help you out in problems regarding your vehicle’s auto glass. Blue Diamonds auto glass repair and replacement service offers you the best quality of service at competitive prices. Blue Diamonds operate in the Houston area and the cities surrounding Houston, such as Katy, Woodlands, Cypress, Brookshire, Rosenberg, etc. we have both Drive-Ins and onsite replacement services. Our Drive-Ins are located at different places around the state of Texas. We also have specialized on-site repair and replacement units, with certified experts. 

December 9, 2020
Written by
Blue Diamond Auto Glass
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