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Old 11th October 2013, 11:17   #1
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Default Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

Hi All,

All those who have been driving on the highways for the last few years must have encountered this. A small pebble flies from the wheels of the vehicle in front and hits your windshield. Result is a small blister like crack mark on your windshield. This has happened 4 times in the last 10 years for me.

My first vehicle was a Contessa Classic and I had it for over 10 years and never had a broken / cracked windshield. Before that My father had an ambassador for more than 20 yrs without a cracked windshield.

The problems started with my Cielo, and from the era of laminated glasses for windshield. A slight hit of a small pebble and there is a mark. I changed the Windshield of my Cielo twice in 10 years.

Now I have a Scorpio for my Highway driving. In the last 10 yrs it has had 3 pebble hits leaving marks on the windshield. One has increased to become a 2-3 inch long crack. I have not changed it yet as the cracks are not in a position where they obstruct the view of the driver.

I went to the neighborhood shop which specializes in replacing Windshields and they had done a good job replacing windshields of my Cielo a few years back. The owner is a friendly sardarjee in Munirka, opp the Vasant Vihar Police Station. I was discussing with him why the Contessa and the Amby never had cracked windshields in years of ownership and my Cielo and Scorpio seem to get cracks at the slightest hit of even a small pebble. He told me that in earlier times (Era of Ambys and Contessas) toughened glass was used for windshield and there is no way that glass would break even if you hit it with a hammer. It was researched that although toughened glass would not get damaged by small pebbles and minor hits, if there is a big crash and it does break it splits into very small splinters (like all toughened glasses) and that is dangerous. Small splinters in such a crash can hit and damage the eye. Due to this the companies started using laminated glass for windshield in the current age cars. In this there is a normal glass which is laminated with a plastic film on the inside. If this glass crashed in a major hit it wont splinter out and the cracked glass will just remain stuck to the lamination film. This is the logic behind it.

I just don't understand why they did not start to laminate the toughened glass to prevent the splinters flying in times of a crash. Why did they start to use a normal glass with laminate. It makes no sense to me.

I told the shop-owner that I am sick of the Laminated Windshields getting damaged so easily with a small hit of a pebble. He said he could get me a toughened glass Windshield (Like that of my Contessa / Amby) for my Scorpio and it will not get damaged with small hits. I am seriously considering going in for the toughened glass, as I know for sure that if I get my windshield replaced with the OEM Laminated glass it is sure to get some blisters in the first year itself.

What do you guys think. Is it really safer to have laminated glass as windshield or do you think the switch was made just to make owners regularly pay for windshield every few years.

Styler
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Old 11th October 2013, 11:36   #2
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

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Originally Posted by Styler View Post
What do you guys think. Is it really safer to have laminated glass as windshield or do you think the switch was made just to make owners regularly pay for windshield every few years.
Well, my Scorpio has not broken its windshield in 7 years now and I have friends who are yet to replace a windshield after 10 years of usage.

Laminated windshields are safer as they shatter into small pieces without any jagged edges upon impact and the laminated layer prevents the glass from flying out.

Coming to your question, if he can source a toughened laminated windshield which is manufactured by a Co of repute like Indo Asahi or Saint Gobain, you can go for it, however if the brand is unknown, I would not recommend it due a lot reasons that may not be evident when you see it for the first time.

Also, in spite of the SC law, I recommend using a 100% transparent sun film for the front windshield in the interests of safety.

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2013 at 15:06. Reason: Scorpio. Not everyone knows who Hariya is. Thanks
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Old 11th October 2013, 11:41   #3
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

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Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
I have friends who are yet to replace a windshield after 10 years of usage.
I must say that you are one lucky ...... if despite your highway driving no stones have hit your windshield
It would be interesting to know the history of Windshied damage to HVKs Scorpio which has done over 3.5lac kms.

Styler

Last edited by GTO : 11th October 2013 at 15:06. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 11th October 2013, 11:51   #4
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

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Originally Posted by Styler View Post
Hi All,

What do you guys think. Is it really safer to have laminated glass as windshield or do you think the switch was made just to make owners regularly pay for windshield every few years.

Styler
Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

Laminated windshields are safer as they shatter into small pieces without any jagged edges upon impact and the laminated layer prevents the glass from flying out.
Even tempered glass shatters into small pieces upon impact. The side glasses are usually made of tempered glass whereas the windshield is made of laminated glass. Reason because the tempered glass is heated so it becomes brittle and in case of an emergency you can break through the side window to escape. In the windshield then why tempered glass isn't used in place of normal glass around PVC sheet, as Styler asked, is simply because tempered glass as laminated is more costlier to manufacture than simple glass on PVC for the same functionality.

I'd suggest you get a toughened glass put up if pebbles are really in love with you. I wasn't aware about the brands mattering as devdath said, but do check that out.
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Old 11th October 2013, 13:37   #5
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

I will say toughened for windscreens is now history and for a very good reason.
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Old 11th October 2013, 13:51   #6
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

+1 to Professor!

With my experience with both the glasses (about 13 years on Fiat 1100D & about 10-15 days of tempered windshield on my Zen), I have a feeling that the tempered glasses let a lot of light 'in'. That strains the eyes even in the day by letting in a lot of sunlight. I think that laminated glasses are slightly tinted too, which cut a lot of glare. Laminated glasses do break a little more easily than the tempered ones, but I will not risk my life or any injury by using them as front windshields. Also, a distant thought, but may be it holds some water that laminated glass may provide a better soundproofing too from the wind noise that hits the windshield.

This is why I won't suggest you to go the tempered glass way, and in any case, insurance covers the glass in full, hence you should not worry. Yes, you can complain about high labour & sealant cost and also losing the NCB the subsequent year, but remember, that is a tad cheaper than your & your loved ones life.
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:05   #7
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Styler View Post
Hi All,

All those who have been driving on the highways for the last few years must have encountered this. A small pebble flies from the wheels of the vehicle in front and hits your windshield. Result is a small blister like crack mark on your windshield. This has happened 4 times in the last 10 years for me.

My first vehicle was a Contessa Classic and I had it for over 10 years and never had a broken / cracked windshield. Before that My father had an ambassador for more than 20 yrs without a cracked windshield.

The problems started with my Cielo, and from the era of laminated glasses for windshield. A slight hit of a small pebble and there is a mark. I changed the Windshield of my Cielo twice in 10 years.

Now I have a Scorpio for my Highway driving. In the last 10 yrs it has had 3 pebble hits leaving marks on the windshield. One has increased to become a 2-3 inch long crack. I have not changed it yet as the cracks are not in a position where they obstruct the view of the driver.

I just don't understand why they did not start to laminate the toughened glass to prevent the splinters flying in times of a crash. Why did they start to use a normal glass with laminate. It makes no sense to me.

What do you guys think. Is it really safer to have laminated glass as windshield or do you think the switch was made just to make owners regularly pay for windshield every few years.

Styler
Well Styler
Laminated glass from a safety perspective as the name indicates is wherein glass is made in sheets and not parts and therefore breaks as a sheet and not into parts.
One way is to stay away(reasonable distance) and not tailgate them unless needed from heavy vehicles on the highway since the pebble flies from the tread release pressure and weight of heavy/fast moving vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I will say toughened for windscreens is now history and for a very good reason.
Agreed totally and is now oblivion since the laminated glass allows lesser windshield cracks due to extreme weather conditions and allows more clear convexity plane for the glass and vision improvement without any aberrations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
+1 to Professor!

With my experience with both the glasses (about 13 years on Fiat 1100D & about 10-15 days of tempered windshield on my Zen), I have a feeling that the tempered glasses let a lot of light 'in'. That strains the eyes even in the day by letting in a lot of sunlight.............in any case, insurance covers the glass in full, hence you should not worry. Yes, you can complain about high labour & sealant cost and also losing the NCB the subsequent year, but remember, that is a tad cheaper than your & your loved ones life.
+1to this and also the fact that mostly if you look at the Amby/Contessa/Fiat the windshield was more or less straight and not curved as seen in todays cars and the reason is better vision and flexibility with laminated glasses.

Cheers
prasad
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Old 11th October 2013, 14:50   #8
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Default re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

Another idea for you, although I dont have enough info/experience to recommend it.

Get toughened glass, and put clear windshield grade filming on the inside. Wont that stop the small pieces of glass from injuring the passengers in the event on an accident?
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Old 11th October 2013, 15:05   #9
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Default Re: Windshield Glass - Option to use Toughened Glass or OEM Laminated Glass

We have had 3 cars in our family. Although the first two cars saw less of highway driving compared to the current one, have not suffered a cracked windscreen on any of them.

Does the brand of the glass make a difference in its resistance against pebble hits?
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Old 11th October 2013, 20:49   #10
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Default Re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

My car's windshield genreated an hairline crack from a pebble hit on Mysore Bangalore highway. I still remember the day when hand full of pebbles (nearly an inch diameter) from a dumper truck falling on the road and few bounced and then straight to my windshield.
All it happened when my vehicle was about to cloak 2000 Kms, from then I always try to avoid tailgating dumper trucks with small blue metal / gravel.
Even I had to change my windshield immediately as the crack was an hindrance (straight to the steering wheel)
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Old 12th October 2013, 12:12   #11
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Default Re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

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Originally Posted by treadmark View Post
My car's windshield genreated an hairline crack from a pebble hit on Mysore Bangalore highway. I still remember the day when hand full of pebbles (nearly an inch diameter) from a dumper truck falling on the road and few bounced and then straight to my windshield.
All it happened when my vehicle was about to cloak 2000 Kms, from then I always try to avoid tailgating dumper trucks with small blue metal / gravel.
Even I had to change my windshield immediately as the crack was an hindrance (straight to the steering wheel)

Thank God there is at least somebody who also had a pebble hit on the Windscreen. I was beginning to think that I was the only unlucky one to have experienced pebble hits on the Windscreen multiple times.
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Old 31st December 2013, 16:07   #12
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Default Re: Windshields: Toughened vs OEM Laminated Glass

Styler,

You are not alone, its prone to people who drive a lot on highways and on vehicles which have a more upright windscreen I guess.

I own a Bolero for past 4 yrs (138K kms as on date) and running on my second windshield. The first one got a small pebble hit and had a crack after 2 years. Although this was not in sight, I went ahead and replaced it because at that time my Bolero's windshield had lots of minor spots. These were making light from opp headlamps to disperse and was painful to drive in night.

Soon after I replaced, with in 3 months I had one more pebble hit making a small crack again. I left it as it is and continued and then after another 6 months, had one more crack. Both not obstructing the driver's line of vision. So I kept driving.

Now its 2yrs that i had replaced my windshield, again I observe that there are lots of spots on windshield which makes driving in night with opposite headlights a painful experience.

Experts, any idea why windshield gets so many spots after a period of usage? I always clean the car myself and take good care not to scratch the glass. My guess is that Bolero has a upright windshield obstructing windflow and resulting in lot of bug hits (during dawn & dusk on highways near fields) and sand particles from other vehicles tyres.

I am going to change the windshield soon. The first one was Mahindra OE, the second was Saint-Gobain. Windshield experts are offering only AIS, wondering whether to go for it or get a Saint-Gobain again.

Any idea which would be good? Will there be a difference in between AIS and Saint Gobain - both being 13% tinted.

Thanks.
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