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Rear Windshield Replacement: How Is It Done and What Does It Cost?

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Most people realize that it’s not safe at all to drive around in a car that has a chipped or cracked windshield. In the event of an accident, even a small chip or crack in a windshield could put you and your passengers into harm’s way. It’s why you should have windshield repair or replacement done at the first sign of trouble with your front windshield. But what people don’t always realize is that you should take the same exact approach to rear windshield replacement. You shouldn’t spend any longer than you absolutely have to driving around in a car with a damaged rear windshield. Learn more about how rear windshield replacement is done, how much it costs, and more below.

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What Is a Rear Windshield?

First things first: Before we dive headfirst into talking about rear windshield replacement, we want to make sure that you know exactly what we’re referring to when we’re talking about a “rear windshield.” The rear windshield on a vehicle is the glass that is on the back of it. It’s also sometimes called the “rear window” or the “back glass” by those who don’t know it as the rear windshield.


What Makes a Rear Windshield Different From a Front Windshield?

When you look at a front windshield and a rear windshield from a distance, they might both look the same to you. They are essentially both large pieces of glass that are used to cover the front and back of a vehicle and protect the people inside of the vehicle from the elements. But when you get closer to a rear windshield, you’ll notice that there is a big difference between a front and rear windshield—and this difference can play a big role when it comes to rear windshield replacement.


Unlike a front windshield, a rear windshield has a bunch of lines in it that run horizontally from top to bottom. These lines are actually very fine wires that are used to heat the glass in a rear windshield. These wires are responsible for defrosting and defogging the rear glass in a vehicle. This is important because a technician will need to keep these wires in mind when carrying out rear windshield replacement. We’ll touch on this a little bit more in a few moments once we start discussing the rear windshield replacement process. There is also another key difference between front and rear windshields that we’ll address momentarily.


What Can Cause Damage to a Rear Windshield?

Generally speaking, front windshield replacement is a lot more common than rear windshield replacement. Front windshields tend to get damaged more often than their counterparts in the rear. But there are some instances in which a rear windshield will break for one reason or another. Here are some of the things that can cause damage to a rear windshield:

  • Rocks and other debris that fly up off the road and crash into a rear windshield, often causing it to either chip, crack, or even shatter completely
  • Car accidents that result in one vehicle running into the back of another vehicle and leading to a cracked or shattered rear windshield
  • Car burglaries and car burglary attempts that involve someone smashing the rear windshield of a vehicle to gain access to it
  • Leaks around the perimeter of a rear windshield caused by a poor seal during the initial installation of the windshield

In most cases, it won’t be difficult at all to spot damage done to a rear windshield. If, for example, a car burglar smashes a rear windshield with a brick, it’ll be pretty easy to see the damage that has been done. But in other cases, it won’t be as easy to spot damage done to a rear windshield. A small leak isn’t always that obvious. It’s why vehicle owners should keep tabs on their rear windshields by inspecting them for any signs of damage every now and then.


When Should You Seek Rear Windshield Replacement?

There are times when you might be able to get away with driving around in a car that has sustained a small amount of damage to the rear windshield. A very small chip in your rear windshield might not pose much of a threat to you or your vehicle in the grand scheme of things. But you should really have someone come out and take a look at your car if you ever see any noticeable signs of damage done to your rear windshield. Otherwise, a small issue could turn into a big problem almost overnight.


Who Can Perform Rear Windshield Replacement?

Performing rear windshield replacement is not something that you should ever try to do on your own. If you don’t have enough experience working on rear windshields—or auto glass in general—you could end up doing more harm than good to your rear windshield when you attempt to fix it. Rather than DIYing a rear windshield replacement job, you should call on an experienced auto glass technician to assist you with it. There are lots of mobile auto glass companies that will come directly to your home or business to do rear windshield replacement for you.


How Is Rear Windshield Replacement Done?

Although you should leave a rear windshield replacement job up to a professional, it’s not necessarily the most difficult auto repair job. As long as an auto glass specialist takes the right steps, they can pull off a rear windshield replacement in no time at all and send you on your way. Take a look at the steps that an auto glass specialist will take when fixing a damaged rear windshield:

  1. An auto glass specialist will begin by inspecting the damage that has been done to your rear windshield. They’ll evaluate the extent of the damage and decide if your rear windshield can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced.
  2. If an auto glass specialist decides that your rear windshield needs to be replaced entirely, they will remove the windshield to make way for a new windshield. They’ll do this very carefully to avoid damaging the glass any further. They’ll then vacuum up any broken glass or other debris left behind by your damaged rear windshield.
  3. Once your damaged rear windshield is out of the way, an auto glass specialist will start installing your new rear windshield. They’ll put the new rear windshield into place and use urethane to hold it in place. The urethane will need to cure for approximately one hour to ensure it forms a tight seal with your new rear windshield.
  4. After an auto glass specialist has installed your new rear windshield, they will typically install a new wiring harness for the wires in your rear windshield that are used to defrost and defog it. They’ll also test the rear defroster out to make sure it’s working the way it’s supposed to.
  5. An auto glass specialist will finish rear windshield replacement by cleaning the rear windshield as well as the rest of the auto glass in your car.

As you can see, the rear windshield replacement process isn’t that complicated. But auto glass specialists spend all day long replacing both front and rear windshields, which is why you should leave the job up to them. They’ll install a new rear windshield for you and make sure that you won’t encounter any more problems with it moving forward.


How Is Replacing a Rear Windshield Different From Replacing a Front One?

After learning about what goes into doing rear windshield replacement, you might think that it sounds an awful lot like front windshield replacement. The two processes are very similar. But there are a couple of key differences that set rear windshield replacement apart from front windshield replacement.


For starters, front windshields don’t have the fine wires that rear windshields have in them for defrosting purposes. As a result, auto glass technicians don’t have to worry about hooking these wires up when they’re replacing a front windshield. They do, however, have to worry about hooking them up and making sure that they work when they’re doing rear windshield replacement. That’s one big difference between front and rear windshield replacement.


But as we alluded to earlier, it doesn’t end there. There is actually an even bigger difference between front and rear windshields. Front windshields are made out of laminated glass that’s designed not to shatter, no matter what. Rear windshields, meanwhile, are made out of tempered glass that will shatter and go everywhere when it’s broken. But tempered glass is designed to shatter into very, very tiny pieces to prevent it from causing injuries. This can make it hard to clean it up in the aftermath of a car accident or another incident that causes damage to a rear windshield. You need to hire the right auto glass technician to handle both the cleanup of your old rear windshield and the installation of your new one.


How Long Does It Take to Replace a Rear Windshield?

Cleaning up a rear windshield that is completely broken can be a time-consuming job. But replacing it with a brand-new windshield isn’t something that will take very long. In fact, rear windshield replacement can often be done in under an hour by an experienced auto glass specialist. And most of that time will be spent waiting for the urethane adhesive to cure so that the rear windshield is secure.


How Much Does Rear Windshield Replacement Cost?

Now that you’re familiar with how the rear windshield replacement process works and know everything that goes into it, you’re probably left with just one question: “How much does rear windshield replacement cost?” It’s a difficult question to answer since it all boils down to what kind of car you have and how much the rear windshield for it will run you.


On average, people often spend somewhere between $200 and $450 on rear windshield replacement. But it’s also not out of the ordinary for people to spend a whole lot more than that. There are some instances in which you might pay well over $1,000 to have rear windshield replacement done. An auto glass specialist will be able to give you a much better idea as far as how much you can expect to pay for a new rear windshield.


Is Rear Windshield Replacement Covered by Insurance?

The good news is that, while some rear windshield replacement jobs will cost a nice chunk of change, there is a decent chance that your auto insurance company will cover the charges. It’s important to work closely with an auto glass specialist that has experience working with insurance companies. They can contact your insurance company on your behalf and help you decide if you should file a claim to have rear windshield replacement done.


Is Rear Windshield Replacement Worth It?

You might be able to get around doing certain types of auto repairs. But rear windshield replacement is, more often than not, not going to be one of them. If you continue to drive a vehicle around when it’s in need of rear windshield replacement, you could put yourself, your passengers, and other drivers into danger. You could also make it easy for anyone to break into your car when you have a damaged rear windshield. And if nothing else, a broken rear windshield is going to make it uncomfortable in your car when you’re in it. It’ll be impossible to heat or cool it when you have a big crack in your rear windshield or when your rear windshield is shattered. Fixing it is really your only option.


Can You Sell a Car With a Damaged Rear Windshield?

If you decide that you don’t want to shell out a bunch of money to do rear windshield replacement on an older car, you can attempt to sell it in a private sale. But you’re likely going to find that you won’t have many people jumping to make you fair offers when your rear windshield is badly damaged. Selling your car in this way isn’t your only option, though. There are also many cash buyers that will extend you solid offers despite the damage that has been done to your rear windshield.


Cash Cars Buyer can set you up with a strong offer for your car in spite of the rear windshield damage that has been done. You don’t have to worry about doing rear windshield replacement to it first, as we would be happy to purchase your car as is. Give us a call today to find out how much you might be able to make by selling your damaged vehicle to us.


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