These auto glass panes are located on the sides of the vehicle in the doors. Side windows can take many shapes and sizes and are either sliding or stationary. Most modern cars have an electric motor that “rolls” the window pane up and down, using a switch controlled by the passenger. Older cars required a crank to roll down the window and only the driver and front passenger windows would roll fully into the door of the car.
Car and truck side windows are made of tempered glass, while others are laminated. Made using the same glass tempering method as the rear windshield, side window glass is what’s known as “safety glass.” It is called this because the glass is designed to shatter into tiny, harmless glass balls instead of shattering into shards that can cut or injure passengers.
Tempered glass is four or five times as sturdy as ordinary glass panes. Because of this, tempered glass offers strength and safety to both drivers and passengers if an accident or a broken window were to occur.
Tempered glass uses a chemical treatment that heats and then cools the glass for better reinforcement than standard windows. The elevated temperature creates an equilibrium on the inside so that whenever the glass is destroyed, it won’t fall apart and break in sharp edges.
With tempered glass, the glass shards are less likely to lead to major trauma that can be caused by sharp bits like a home window would. When subjected to enough force, the properties of the tempered glass cause it to explode outward. This is due to the inner tension created by contraction of the glass combined with the outer strength created by compression during the tempering process.
The only disadvantage to the tempered glass is that sometimes it may appear to explode without cause. Just like any other piece of auto glass, side windows are thoroughly tested by auto manufacturers, so it is previous stress or force that has weakened the glass to the point of bursting.