Each year, our cars become more efficient and advanced, with a focus on improved performance, safety, and comfort. Flashy, tech-focused features like built-in Wi-Fi hot spots, trunks with hands-free opening capabilities, and 360-degree cameras for maximum protection tend to steal the spotlight ; yet there are other components on the market making impressive advancements each year, and one of these is automotive glass.
Glass factors into a vehicle’s structural integrity, visibility, and fuel efficiency, and as a symbol of luxury and modern design, it’s taking up a larger surface area of newer models .
As cars get smarter and more technologically capable, windshields have to keep up.
What New Tech Trends Mean for Automotive Glass
Sophisticated auto technology continues to grow more mainstream and consumer friendly. High-tech vehicles like Audi’s 2017 Q7 SUV — over 38,000 of which were sold last year  — can be upgraded to include an advanced driver assistant system (ADAS) with a full-color, head-up windshield display (HUD). With this feature, a driver’s current speed, the speed limit, and navigation are projected onto the windshield for an immersive augmented-reality driving experience .
These tech-forward integrations call for upgraded glass. Windshields not only need to be more durable, they also have to integrate with new technology components like backup cameras, head-up display (HUD), and other components of ADAS.
Yet even smarter and more versatile glass can be vulnerable to chips during everyday drives. Improved durability still doesn’t make windshields impervious to rocks or roadway gravel as they make contact at high speeds.
Complex Windshields Call for Complex Repair
These tiny nicks and chips in a vehicle’s windshield may seem harmless, but moisture, changes in temperature, dirt or debris, and the everyday stress of driving (think speed bumps, potholes, and sudden breaking) can strain a vehicle’s glass, turning a cosmetic chip into a large crack in no time.
Cracked glass threatens the structural integrity of the entire windshield. Depending on where the crack occurs, it can also significantly reduce visibility for the driver. While laminate and other features of safety glass will prevent a windshield from collapsing into the front seats, it’s still possible for the entire sheet to shatter. Left alone, a tiny chip can turn into a spiderweb of fractured glass that necessitates an immediate, urgent, and expensive replacement.
Once a large crack is present (typically anything longer than six inches), repairs become difficult, making a costly full replacement more likely. In cars with windshield-integrated advanced tech such as sensors and cameras that may need alignment or recalibration, replacement can become an even more expensive undertaking.
To prevent a complete windshield replacement, it’s important to stay proactive and utilize expert repair technicians as soon as a chip is spotted.
Safelite’s team of experts have spent more than 70 years providing excellent service to six million customers annually, including over one million windshield repairs. Using the latest in repair technology, including our exclusive GlassHealerTM resin and our TrueSealTM technology, our work is backed by the industry's only nationwide lifetime warranty .
When you notice a small crack or rock chip, don’t wait. If another rock hits, the entire windshield can crack, requiring complete replacement.
Safelite strives to make your service convenient. Often available same-day or next-day at one of 720 local shops, or if you prefer, a Safelite MobileGlassShop™ can come to you.