Windscreen Safety

The windscreen protects car occupants in 3 critical areas :

It is an integral part of the car providing structural support to the car body in particular the roof. ( more )

It is a critical component of the car Safety Restraint System (SRS) which includes also the seat belt and airbag. ( more )

It supports deployment of passenger side airbag. ( more )

Original factory fitted windscreens require a minimum force of 1500 pounds per sq inch (psi) to detach it from the car body. Once the original seal is destroyed and a replacement windscreen installed, that strength is no longer guaranteed.

Improper installation can be a result of a dozen or more causes ranging from improper handling, contamination of surfaces, wrong adhesives, inadequate drying or setting, etc. The result could lead to water leakage, air entry and worse, rust and corrosion.

We attach a gallery of 'dirty pictures' compiled from real cases of bad replacements - what you don't get to see until it is too late.






The windscreen provides structural support to the car body in particular the roof

It supports the structural integrity of the car especially in the area of roof support. That level of integrity is maintained with the original factory fitted windscreen. Removing the original and installing a new one opens up a multitude of potential problems. In other words, many things can go wrong, giving rise to a suspect installation

Vehicle rollovers
The US National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2002, more than 30% of fatalities in road accidents were caused by vehicle rollovers. What happens when a vehicle overturns ? The weight of the car with its engine and passengers rests on the roof.

Roof Collapse
With many new models of cars today, and especially with SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) the windscreens come bigger and bigger in size. Notice also the traditional A pillars used to support the roof are no more used in many new models. So what supports the roof ? The windscreen. Provided it is always firmly affixed to the car body, the laminated glass windscreen is the structural pillar supporting the car roof. If it is loosely attached, or become detached, the roof will collapse under the weight of the car. Serious head injuries and fatalities have been reported to be caused by roof collapses.

SUV flipped over and rests on its roof. Notice the roof did not
collapse. Pic from The Star, January 8, 2007

Windscreen detached on rollover resulting in roof collapse





The windscreen is a Safety Restraint System

Perhaps the most familiar and talked about component of the car's Safety Restraint System is the seat belt. Laws are already in place to make it mandatory for drivers and front passengers to use their seat belts when in a car. In any collision, the seat belt offers the first line of protection.

Another critical component of the SRS is the airbag. This is fast becoming a standard accessory in new cars.

The third and most overlooked component is the windscreen. Here we refer only to the laminated glass windscreen, which is used in all new cars from factory.

In head-on collisions, the windscreen acts as a shield against passenger ejection. Far too many accident reports have mentioned passengers being thrown out of the car. The windscreen acts as a safety net. In fact it is the polybutyral film in the laminated glass that stops anyone or anything flying through the windscreen. Sure the glass will break, but the sheet of plastic stays intact. Chances of serious injury or death are much lower if passengers are prevented from being thrown out of the car - where a truck may well be in front, another car, a tree or just the hard tarmac of the road.

completely smashed up windscreen still acts as a safety net
preventing ejection of passengers out of the car




The windscreen is vital for deployment of passenger side airbag

If one takes a close look at the passenger side airbag compartment or cover in most cars, one would notice that very often it sits just a few inches away from the windscreen. Of course the driver side airbag is always housed in the steering wheel itself and the latter offers support for deployment of the driver side airbag, but danger lies in the other one.

Imagine a head-on collision - airbags burst out, front passenger lunges forward into the airbag and the windscreen flies out ! Cannot happen? Yes, it can, if the windscreen was replaced before and the job was not done properly. With the originally factory fitted windscreen and seal, the chance of this happening is zero. Once the windscreen becomes detached, the SRS immediately fails to protect passengers including the rear ones from ejection.


"After a windshield has been replaced, there is no reliable test to determine if the windshield was done properly or safely "

Leo Cyr,
Vice President,
National Glass Association,
Auto Glass Division, US


Replacement of windscreens in the US can only be done by certified technicians of the National Glass Association, USA

The ANSI/AGRSS 002-2002 Automotive Glass Replacement Safety Standard governs the replacement industry in the US. Sadly, in Malaysia, we have not begun to understand the significance of this.

ANSS/AGRSS 002-2002