The modern-day windshield features a variety of technologies serving many functions, including safety for the driver and structure for the vehicle. Like many other products in our everyday world, some are more advanced than others. One of these advancements is the metallized windshield, or metal oxide windshield. These are also sometimes called athermic windshields.
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What is a Metalized Windshield?
The glass in these windshields, sometimes installed in higher-end luxury vehicles, contains a thin layer of metal oxide that is applied during the laminating stage of the manufacturing process. This coating helps to block ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Metal oxide film can also be applied in a retrofit application.
The Advantages of Metal Oxide Windshields
The layer of metal oxide reflects the sun and reduces the level of visible light. This provides a range of benefits, which include:
- Reducing heat gain inside the car;
- Protecting the interior against ultraviolet rays;
- Reducing glare for the driver; and
- Assisting in de-icing and defrosting.
Metal Oxide Windshield Disadvantages
While metallized windshields come with their share of comfort and safety benefits, a few trade-offs must be considered.
Have you ever experienced an issue with your toll pass or transponder not working properly? It’s an issue that has left many commuters stumped. The metal in the glass can interfere with radio waves and cause automatic toll systems, such as the EZ Pass, not to function properly. This may require an exterior device as opposed to the standard interior one most drivers use. However, some metallized windshields do have a non-metallized area around the mirror, so these devices will function properly there.
Additionally, the level of light transmittance in the windshield can vary. Factory installations generally comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) standards, but consult the laws in your local jurisdiction before considering aftermarket options. There are strict laws about how “dark” your windshield can be.
EZ Pass has published a list of car makes, models and years that come with metallized windshields, including certain versions of the Ford Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Impala, Audi A6, Pontiac Transport, a range of BMWs and many other vehicles. View the full list here.
How do I know if I have a metalized windshield?
There are a few ways in which you can tell whether your vehicle is equipped with a metalized, or athermic windshield. The best way is to consult the owner’s manual that came with your vehicle. If your car is equipped with a metalized windshield, the manual may include information about the advantages, and where to place a transponder if the windshield was manufactured with a cutout. If your vehicle is not equipped with a metalized windshield, the manual will likely not contain any information addressing this matter. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for in the owner’s manual, a local dealership of your car’s make may be able to assist.
Another reliable way to determine whether your car is equipped with a metalized windshield is to test it with a metalized windshield tester. These testers are offered by some toll collection companies. Sometimes you can even tell that a windshield is metalized by inspecting it, but this is not a foolproof method. Signs to look for include a purple or blue tint to the windshield, a “cut out” section around the rearview mirror where coating wasn’t applied (this allows for transponder mounting), and notations in the windshield’s bug.
What vehicles have a metalized windshield?
You can also consult this list of vehicles which may be equipped with metalized windshields. Keep in mind that metalized windshields may be optional in some of these makes and models. Also, keep in mind that the windshield may have been replaced during the vehicle’s lifetime and it may not have been replaced with an OEM windshield. This list may not be comprehensive and is for reference purposes only. Please consult your local dealership for confirmation.
Do Teslas have metalized windshields?
Yes, the Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X and Tesla Roadster were all factory equipped with metalized windshields. We currently do not have confirmation as to whether or not the Tesla Model 3 is equipped with a metalized windshield, but have read reports that toll transponders function properly through these windshields.
Using Metalized Windshields with Toll Passes
If you need to mount an EZ Pass, PIKEPASS, Peach Pass, or other type of toll road pass transponder to your windshield, there are a few steps you can take to make it a smooth process. First, rest assured that even if your windshield has a metal oxide coating, you can typically still use a toll pass. Many toll pass providers have specific mounting instructions to follow, so check with them first. If your metalized windshield features a cut out, you will likely be directed to install the transponder in this area. If your windshield does not have a cut out, you might have to use a pass mounted externally. Most pass providers have this option available.
Does your Metallized Windshield Need Replacing?
If your metallized windshield needs replacing, you’ve come to the right place. Glass.com Affiliates can determine the exact replacement windshield needed for your vehicle and get you back on the road again. For instant price quotes from shops in your local area, simply use Glass.com’s shop locator tool and book online, instantly, with one of our Affiliates.
Not sure if your windshield is metallized or not? Or not sure if you really need a metallized windshield even if your car came equipped with one from the factory? Don’t worry! Our Affiliates can determine what options your windshield currently has by decoding your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and recommend replacement options.