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What’s The Difference Between a Windscreen And Other Glass In My Car?

Autoglass: What you need to know about the glass in your car.

different types of glass in car

When we think of windscreens, we think of the front windscreen that enhances our vision. But we don’t often think about our back windscreen, even if technically it is also made from the same materials as the front. We also don’t think about how it is made and why our side windows are made differently. With every car manufactured, you’ll notice that every windscreen is made differently from other cars. In addition, you’ll find that the windows in every car are different from the front windscreen as well. All of this has been done with purpose and intention, the primary one being to keep us safe. Without much recognition or consideration, carefully designed auto glass keeps us safe from environmental hazards, and is crafted to prevent serious injury should the worst happen. To show a little appreciation for our windows and windscreens, let’s have a look at how these glass features are made and how they function.

Windscreens and Windows: A Tale of Two Factories

It may surprise you to know that not all of the glass in your car is made the same way and is classified differently when it comes to safety glass. Despite being made in varying methods, you can rest assured that your auto glass is made from the best types of glass.

laminated glass

In summary, the front and back windscreens are typically made from laminated glass, which is comprised of a layer of plastic sheeting between two layers of glass. If you’re keen to learn more about the laminated process, lucky for you, we have a whole article dedicated to how windscreens are manufactured: read it here!

Tempering – the next most popular type of safety glass for cars – is made using a slightly different process. Tempered glass is not only made to break safely, but it’s made to withstand more pressure than regular or laminated glass. The process in which is used to produce tempered glass actually strengthens the glass. How is this done?

Tempered glass is said to be four times stronger than normal glass and this comes down to the rapid heating and cooling of the glass contained in its manufacturing process. In short, ordinary glass is heated to around 600 degrees celsius, then rapidly cooled (within seconds) by high-pressure nozzles. As the centre of the sheet of glass cools slower than the outside, it tries to pull back from its outer layers – this keeps the centre in tension and outside in compression, making the glass overall stronger in composition. Another method of making tempered glass involves using chemicals to create compression in the outer layers of glass.

tempered glass windows

Ultimately, it is these methods that are used to make our Autoglass. While this glass performs a lot of mundane everyday duties – protecting us from the elements, bugs, and debris – when it comes to the important stuff, it doesn’t crumble under pressure. Well, unless it’s tempered… read on, you’ll understand.

Let’s Get Things Clear: How Autoglass Protects

According to, every car manufacturer knows that in the event of an accident, the windscreen is made specifically to reduce injury. When it comes to the laminated and tempered glass, both are superior forms of safety glass. In fact, the main difference between the two comes in how they shatter.

While the lamination process of making a windscreen is time-consuming, in hindsight, the outcome can be rewarding. When tempered glass is broken (usually in a collision or due to flying object hitting the glass), the glass shards are held together and often don’t break apart. Large shards of glass can strike the driver and passengers, causing injury. With tempered glass, the windscreen is left intact, giving the driver plenty of time to get it to a repairer. Another advantage to this glass is that the contents of the car are kept safe from thieves and criminals, as there is no hole or gap left. That being said, the integrity of the glass has been greatly compromised and should be replaced as soon as possible.

laminated glass staying intact while broken

Tempered glass, on the other hand, shatters into hundreds of tiny pieces (like rock salt). The way tempered glass breaks greatly reduces the amount of damage and injury caused to people and equipment in comparison to ordinary glass. The small fragments are not as harmful. Despite making slightly more mess when broken (just a touch!), this type of glass is, however, stronger than both tempered and ordinary glass. This is due to its manufacturing process.

So, with both types of glass secured in your car, you can rest assured you are being protected from additional harm and damage from collisions and crashes. One of the last things you have to worry about is the car’s windscreen and windows. Further, with all windows, windscreens, and car features, the manufacturer’s specifications have to be of sound or excellent quality to ensure they meet the required safety standards. All car parts are evaluated through stringent inspections (as required by law) and tests, ensuring Australian cars are created with the highest standard of care.

tempered glass breaking into hundreds of pieces

Out With the Old, in With the New

Every car needs to get their windscreen repaired or replaced at one time or another. If you encounter a significant crack in your windscreen, you may be considering a replacement. When you are, it’s a good idea to ensure your new windscreen is aligned with the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) manual. This means that the glass is made with the same standards and specifications as your original windscreen glass, and is the same shape, size, thickness, and colour. If you don’t know how to do this, contact the professional glaziers at Novus Autoglass and they’ll help you through their range of services.

Novus is a global leader in auto glass technology. With over 50 years of experience in windscreen repair and with franchises in 25 countries across the world, Novus are the most trusted name in windscreen repair and replacement. If you’ve found yourself in a spot of trouble with your windscreen, get in touch with Novus’ team of experts for your next service.

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