What is a solar coated windshield?

Written by US Auto Glass

Jul 14, 2022

July 14, 2022

Have you noticed how newer car models utilize extensive glass surfaces to achieve a trendy design and appearance? cool

These models don’t only have a clear windshield (laminated auto glass) and tempered auto glass in the rear and doors.

These windshields tend to be solar coated to provide more UV protection. Nowadays, premium manufacturers also design cars with retractable sunroofs or panorama sunroofs. This presents a new set of challenges regarding auto glass replacement and overall cabin comfort.

Undoubtedly, the widely glass-equipped cars look fantastic. More oversized glass in the vehicle improves the effective visibility for the driver and passengers.

 

Tesla with big panorama sunroof, aerial view
Sun reflection on car's windshield, close-up

The driving comfort level of every produced car model is something the manufacturers use as a unique selling proposition. But as the surface of glass components increases in a vehicle, it also requires new ways of dealing with car heating and passenger discomfort concerns due to a more excellent transmission of solar radiation.

The windshield is a significant access point for the heat to enter, impacting the longevity of a vehicle’s interior.

During the hot summer months, constant exposure to the sun can cause the windshield to expand, making it more vulnerable to obtaining cracks. Moreover, when the inside temperature of a car increases, more air conditioning is needed. Therefore, make it a habit to provide your vehicle with proper shade.

Various forms of innovation have evolved from the “regular” all-clear windshield. A solar-coated windshield reduces the interior temperature of the vehicle and increases cabin comfort. All this is to counter the heat and sun glazing discomfort while simultaneously making the cars stand out.

Windshield with Shade Bands

Close-up of shade band on car's windshield

Our post about “Auto Glass: Tempered vs. Laminated – what is the difference?” elaborates on a laminated windshield’s manufacturing process. In short: all new windshields are made of laminated glass consisting of two glass sheets bonded together with a transparent plastic interlayer (PVB). The good news is that your windshield blocks most of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation due to the plastic interlayer. On the other hand, it does little to cool the vehicle’s interior.

A regular clear windshield has been the industry norm for a long time. Most windshields have a level of tint applied from the factory, but it’s subtle.

On some vehicles, the windshields have a shade band. A shade band runs across the top of the windshield. The objective of a shade band is to keep the sun out of your eyes. The shade band does not directly block out all the light. When you drive, nothing should obstruct your view of the road ahead at any time. Therefore, the dark tint on the shade band cannot extend below a certain point on the windshield.

The most common colors of shade bands are greyish, green, or blue.

When looking at your windshield, if there is a three to six inches band of tinted glass at the top of the windshield, then your vehicle has a shade band.

Frit dots

Third Visor Frit or Frit band helps to keep the sun out of your eyes at the top middle of your windshield – between your two fold-down visors.

From a technical perspective, they are necessary when the windshield is glued with urethane directly to the frame instead of sitting in a molding.

The frit dots act as a UV blocking mechanism since UV rays that reach the urethane; eventually will gradually loosen the urethan from the windshield.

Frit dots on car's windshield, blue car
Technician tinting vehicles windshield, tinting tools in use

Windshield tint

When tinting a windshield, you can provide your car with a more remarkable appearance.

A solar film is usually a dark film and does not emit any colors is just a heat-absorbing film. A front windshield should not be dark-tinted more than 6% in America.

Solar windshield glass

Front view of new Mercedes AMG, summer outside

You can identify a solar windshield glass by the purplish haze when you observe it from the outside. An infrared-reflective windshield works by filtering out infrared waves from sunlight while allowing all visible light to enter. In this way, the glass remains transparent with darkening abilities.

The glass provides a safer driving environment than tinting because it provides a bright and more transparent view of the road ahead. Infrared light is what essentially transmits heat energy and causes a rise in-cabin temperature.

The coating consists of two layers bonded under high pressure between anti-reflective dielectric metal oxide layers. The interlayer can also be replaced with a heat-absorbing interlayer that prevents heat and radiation transfer.

At the same time, it prevents heat from harming your car interiors in the summers while retaining the indoor warmth in winter.

What are UV and IR, and why should you protect yourself from them?

Ultraviolet rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. Some UV rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, and some are reflected back into space. However, about 3% of UV rays reach the earth’s surface. Too much exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer, but we are also protected from them by the atmosphere.

IR solar energy is an invisible light transmitted from the sun in a longer wavelength than UV rays. IR energy makes up approximately half of the sunlight that reaches the earth. This type of solar radiation is not harmful to the skin but can cause driver discomfort by heating up the inside of a car. Solar glass is made with an infrared reflective coating that helps to block out this type of heat.

Overall, it is important to protect yourself from both UV and IR rays when you are outdoors. Wearing sunscreen and clothing that covers your skin can help reduce exposure to UV rays, and choosing a car with an IR glass windshield can help block IR radiation. By taking these simple steps, you can help to reduce your risk of skin cancer and other health problems caused by too much exposure to sunlight.

Car driving through the desert, bright sun and warm outside

Conclusion

A solar coated windshield is a great way to keep your car cool while driving and also protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV and IR rays. Windshield with shade bands can help deflect the sun’s heat, while frit dots scatter sunlight so that it is not as intense. Tinted windows are another option for keeping your car cooler, but they do not offer the same level of protection against UV and IR radiation. Solar windshield glass is becoming more and more popular because it offers all of the benefits of tinting without obscuring visibility.

If you are in need of a new windshield, be sure to consider getting one with a solar coating – you will be glad you did!

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