Tempered vs Laminated Safety Glass in Automobiles: What’s the Difference?

What would a Sunday afternoon drive be like without a window to the world from every seat? The early makers of automobiles installed glass windows, and shortly thereafter, breaking glass, and the damage it can cause must have demanded attention. Different types of safety glass have been tested in vehicles, and today there are two types, tempered and laminated, which are the standard. Both are highly rated safety glass, but they have some important differences.


Tempered glass is known to be approximately four times stronger than the average pane of glass. To create this toughened product, glass is heated to a very high temperature followed by quenching, a pressurized rapid cooling procedure. 

When tempered glass breaks, it shattered into numerous pieces, but the pieces have dull edges to avoid causing injury but may result in auto glass insurance claims Covington LA. Typically, toughened glass is used for rear windshields, side windows and sunroofs.

Stronger than laminated glass, when impacted hard enough, the entire toughened glass pane will shatter. Because of this, repairing the glass is not an option, and the entire pane must be replaced. However, roughly two-thirds of ultra-violet rays are blocked by tempered glass windows.


Laminated glass is known to withstand impact particularly well. It is made by fusing two sheets of glass with a resin under high heat. The resin, polyvinyl butyral, plays a critical role in the safety of this product. 

When laminated glass breaks, it holds all the pieces together because of the PVB resin layer. Because of this, laminated glass is ideal for the front windshield of a vehicle and is required by law. In addition, it can actually cushion the body’s impact from the windshield because of the way it holds together when it breaks. 

Other vehicle windows are not required to be laminated, but some vehicle manufactures may use them for such a purpose. In addition, sunroofs have not traditionally used laminated glass; there is an argument for it because of the reports of those made of tempered glass exploding and shattering for no apparent reason.

Repairing cracked laminated glass is not only possible; it is a fairly simple process. In addition, laminated glass blocks just less than 100 percent of UV rays which, together with ease in repair, may account for its nearly four times higher price tag.

Both tempered and laminated glass products are used in vehicles in different locations and for different reasons. At first glance, the products made look the same, but they are made in their own unique fashion to serve specif purposes.


As a mechanical engineer turned blogger, Charlie provides readers with a technical, yet accessible look into the world of automotive engineering and design. His insightful posts make complex car technologies understandable.