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Different Types of Auto Glass: A Comprehensive Guide

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A quick overview of everything you need to know about types of auto glass and what it’s made from based on where the glass is located. 

While auto glass may seem straightforward, there are actually many different types available. The glass type will depend on the year, make and model of your vehicle, as well as the location of the glass.

Auto glass is a vital component of your car, essential for keeping its occupants safe from the elements, providing structural integrity, and helping to protect passengers in the event of a crash. As such, it is important to understand the types of auto glass that are available in order to select the best type for your vehicle.

Different Types of Auto Glass


Windshields are the most important type of auto glass, as they are responsible for providing a clear line of sight for drivers. They are typically constructed from laminated glass, which consists of two layers of glass with a thin layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sandwiched between them. The PVB interlayer helps to hold the glass in place in the event that it breaks. Laminated glass is a type of safety glass.

Side Windows

Side Windows are the next most important type of auto glass, as they provide extra protection in case of an accident. They are usually composed of tempered glass, which is also a type of safety glass. Tempered glass is strengthened and hardened during the manufacturing process to ensure enhanced durability. Most side windows also feature tinting to prevent excessive solar radiation from entering the vehicle.

Some vehicles, especially newer and higher-end vehicles, often use laminated glass side windows for enhanced noise insulation. Laminated windows may also help deter theft, as it’s harder to break through the PVB layer. 

Rear Windows 

Rear windows are also an important type of auto glass, allowing drivers to see behind them in their rearview mirror. They are also typically made from tempered glass. Many feature heating elements running through the glass, which help defrost the glass during cold weather. The tinting of the rear window typically matches that of the rear side windows.

Deciding on the Right Kind of Auto Glass

Choosing the right type of replacement auto glass for your vehicle is best left to professionals. They will consider several important factors. First, they will take into consideration the make and model of the vehicle. Different makes and models may require different types of automotive glass.

Second, they will consider the purpose of the glass. If the glass that needs replacing is a windshield, the professional will ensure the glass meets Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. If it’s a rear glass, they will ensure the tint matches the color that the car came with from the factory.

Most vehicles have many options when it comes to the glass, so it’s important that the auto glass pro gather your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and ask you other questions about what options your vehicle is equipped with. This will help ensure your vehicle’s glass is replaced properly the first time. 

Finally, you should consider how much you are willing to spend on your auto glass. If you can live without some of your car’s factory-installed options, you may be able to save some money.

Additionally, some glass manufacturers claim to have better quality than others. Premium manufacturers can be more expensive than standard glass, but it may be worth the extra money.

Auto Glass Installation and Safety

No matter what type of auto glass you choose, it is essential to ensure it is properly installed. Faulty installations can reduce the effectiveness of the glass and put the occupants of the vehicle at risk. Professional installation is always recommended, as it ensures the glass is properly fitted. is here to get you accurate estimates on your windshield replacement. In addition, we work with local auto glass shops to ensure you get the best pricing in your area. 

Whenever you need auto glass replacement services, feel free to use our free auto glass estimator to get accurate pricing from certified local shops. Just fill out your information, provide details about your car, and let us know what type of auto glass you need to be replaced.


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Daniel Snow

Daniel Snow serves as the Vice President of Operations for and is also a contributing editor. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from George Mason University and has a background in the real estate industry. After high school, Daniel even worked at a family-owned glass shop for a short period of time and is an Auto Glass Safety Council certified installer. In his free time, Daniel enjoys being outdoors, especially around the water where he can be found surfing, fishing, and boating. He has a passion for bringing old vehicles back to life and loves working with his hands to restore cars, boats, and motorcycles. Find out more about Daniel on Linkedin.

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