"No repair facility shall render a safety device inoperative
unless it reasonably believes that the vehicle will not be used
while the safety device is inoperative." This is why Safe
Drive Away Times are so important. SDATs inform installers of
when the safety device - in this case, the windshield - can be
reasonably believed to be operative. Thus, SDATs define when the
applicable federal standards are met.
Specifies performance requirements for the protection of vehicle
occupants in crashes (i.e. proper deployment of passenger airbags).
Establishes standards for windshield retention requirements
for motor vehicles during crashes. 50% of passive restraints
(airbags), 75% for non-passive systems (seat belts).
Establishes passenger compartment roof strength requirements
to reduce death and injury due to roof crushing in roll over
accidents. Up to 60% of roof strength is attributable to a properly
Specifies that the windshield will stay in place and that auto
body parts and debris shall not protrude into the passenger
*Above excerpts were collected from the 1994 Code of Federal
Regulations (Title 49, Parts 400-999) and do NOT fully represent
each standard. To obtain a copy of the CFR, please contact the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C. Telephone: 202-512-1800
When most of us think of our windshield, the first thing we think
of is keeping the bugs out of our face as we drive down the street.
That was, of course, why the first windshield was invented.
Today, however, your windshield has a direct role
in your safety.
Most car makers have designed their passenger side airbags to
use the windshield as a backboard. In other words, when the airbag
literally explodes at over 200 mph, it first bounces off the glass
to absorb the initial shock. This may shatter the windshield but
as long as the windshield stays in place it is still serving its
intended purpose. A windshield that dislodges from the body of
the vehicle will not provide the necessary support to allow the
airbag to deploy properly, and the airbag will not do its lifesaving
work. [FMVSS 49
A dislodged windshield creates other problems as well. In an
accident in which the vehicle rolls over, the strength of the
front of the passenger compartment depends primarily upon the
windshield. As much as 60% of roof strength is lost if the glass
separates from the vehicle body resulting in a crushed roof. [FMVSS 49 CFR 571.216]
Another area that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards affect
is containment. If you are in a crash, it is important that debris
from outside the vehicle not enter the passenger compartment and
that passengers be kept inside the vehicle. Passengers are always
safer if they can be kept inside. A windshield that dislodges
will not keep debris out, or passengers in, the vehicle. [FMVSS
49 CFR 571.219]
The common thread to each of these situations is "windshield
retention". The quality of the adhesives, how closely and
accurately the installation procedure is followed, and the training
of the installer will dictate how well the windshield is retained
in a crash situation. In the earliest days windshields were kept
in place mechanically by screws, frames, and fasteners. Later
adhesives such as butyl and silicone were used. Today’s
automotive designs require the use of urethane. Why urethane?
Not only does it seal the vehicle from the elements (rain, etc.)
but it is 90 times stronger than butyl. When you are in a crash,
you need that strength to hold the windshield in place and protect
you as in the examples above.
It is important to remind you that not all urethane is the same.
There are one and two part systems, and of course there are various
brands. At Quality Glass Service we use Essex urethane, the brand
used by all domestic original equipment manufacturers (OEM). The
ONLY brand that has actually been crash tested on every model
At Quality Glass we believe a safe installation requires more
than just good urethane. There is an installation “process”
specified by manufacturers that must be meticulously followed
to assure quality and safety. This includes preparation of the
glass, the body of the vehicle, and use of the proper priming
materials. These materials have a limited shelf life, especially
after being opened. At Quality Glass great care is taken to use
the right primers with the right urethane at the right time. We
believe your safety is not just valuable, it's priceless!
The final piece in the safety puzzle is training.
Glass installers at many glass shops are given minimal training,
in some cases as little as 2 weeks, and then sent out to install
your windshield. Anyone with a little mechanical aptitude can
learn to install a windshield in a short period of time. But,
to do the job properly and safely requires a clear understanding
the safety issues involved, as well as many hours of hands-on
experience. At Quality Glass, our technicians are given extensive
internal training by seasoned veterans in the industry, training by outside training sources in both the classroom and the shop, training by Essex personnel
in the proper use of their urethanes, and training in proper handling
of airbags and other parts of the vehicle’s safety system
by professionals from the airbag industry. Training at Quality
Glass is an ongoing, annual process because we believe your safety
is our first priority.
For comments or questions about your safety, please contact us.