Auto glass replacement is often focused on the front windshield, but the rear window is not impervious to damage. Knowing when it is time to consider replacement is important if you want to maintain the safety of your vehicle.
1. Cracks and Chips
On a front windshield, a crack or chip can sometimes be repaired. This is not the case with a rear window. The rear glass is designed to shatter, so even a small crack or chip ruins the structural integrity of the window so that further damage is more likely to occur even if you attempt to repair the chip. If there are any visible chips in the window, it is important to replace the glass right away.
2. Moisture Leaks
Seal failure around the edge of the window can lead to water leaks into the car. Sometimes the glass can be saved and only seals need to be replaced. In other instances, though, there could be small chips around the edges of the glass that have compromised the seal and the window glass. An auto glass service will need to inspect the rear window to determine the cause of seal failure and determine whether seal replacement or glass replacement is the best solution.
3. Wiper Etching
Using old rear windshield wipers or running them dry over a dirty window can lead to etching on the surface of the glass. Although the damage is primarily cosmetic, it does make it harder to see through the window and this can pose a safety hazard. Etching can't be reversed, so the rear glass must be replaced. In the future, change wiper blades often and never run them over a dry window.
4. Defrost Failure
Many rear windows feature integrated defrosting cables. Without these cables, the window will fog up when driving and cause decreased visibility that results in safety concerns. If the problem is with the cables that are integrated into the glass, then the only option for fixing the problem is to have the window replaced with new glass that features the integrated defrost system.
Weathering damage is similar to wiper etching. Over time, sandblasting from high winds and exposure to road debris will cause the rear window to lose clarity. It may become more difficult to see through it when there is glare from headlights on it, or it may always seem dirty. If clarity is greatly compromised, then it is time to replace the rear glass.
Contact an auto glass replacement service if it's time to put in a new rear window on your car.