My wife recently had to have her windshield replaced due to stone damage. When she got it back, she complained about how loud the road noise was. We checked with the dealer who asked if the windshield had been replaced with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) acoustic glass. We’d never heard of it, so he told us where to check on the glass and what to look for.
How to tell if you have an acoustic windshield? It’s marked on the glass, often with the vehicle brand information. Look for the word “Acoustic” or “SoundScreen” or the image of an ear with a curved arrow passing by it in one of the 4 corners, or the top or bottom center of the windshield. If it’s not there, it’s not acoustic glass.
After finding out how to tell if we had an acoustic windshield, I wanted to know what makes an acoustic windshield different from other windshields. How does it reduce road noise inside the vehicle? I also wanted to know how much it should cost so we could fix my wife’s car properly. I thought I’d share what I found so you get the product you should.[toc]
How to Tell If You Have an Acoustic Windshield?
Does my car have an acoustic windshield? That was the first thing I wanted to know after learning about my wife’s windshield. Different automotive brands use different windshield manufacturers. That means identification markings, also known as “bugs” or “monograms”, aren’t consistent in location or style. Additionally, what you see on the glass may be meaningless to you. You may find the information in the owner’s manual, online, or check with the dealer.
To find out if your windshield is acoustic look for the manufacturer’s information on the glass. The windscreen symbols will be in one of the four corners, or the center top or bottom of the windshield:
- The word “Acoustic”
- A capital “A”
- An ear with a curved arrow passing
- SoundScreen on the glass indicate that your windshield is made of acoustic glass.
What you may see on the windshield:
- Laminated AS1 – Laminated means the glass is laminated, and AS1 means the glass passes all safety tests.
- E code in a circle – means it was made in Europe and the code identifies the country; it also means it passed similar tests to AS1.
- CCC in a circle – means it was manufactured in China and passed safety tests similar to AS1.
- Windshield manufacturer’s name or logo.
- Vehicle manufacturer’s name or logo.
- DOT code – DOT means it meets the safety standards and the code identifies the glass manufacturer and must be used if assigned.
- R43 – means it meets the European safety requirements.
- Glass type – Laminated, Multilayered, Tempered.
- SoundScreen – is a trademark for an acoustic glass product used by one automobile manufacturer.
- Acoustic or “A” – indicates the windshield is made of acoustic glass.
- Transparent 70% min. – a minimum of 70% of visible light must be transmitted through the windshield to be AS1 acceptable. Less than 70% is not AS1 compliant and shouldn’t be used for a windshield.
- Roman numerals – identify expanded glass types:
- I -extra strong
- II -standard multilayer
- III -specially treated multilayer glass
- IV -plastic glass
- V -tinted with less than 70% transparency and not for use as windshield glass
- VI -two layers of tinted glass with less than 70% transparency, not for use as windshield glass.
- A symbol of a windshield with raised wiper blade and wavy arrows means the parked wiper area is heated.
- Serial Number – identifies the product and makes it easier to match replacement glass.
- Other symbols or dots may indicate the date of manufacture or other information.
An acoustic windshield reduces the noise in the passenger compartment and makes the ride more enjoyable. It also reduces fuel consumption since it is lighter than standard auto glass. If you have to replace your windshield, do it with acoustic glass.
Bonus: here is the list of Ford & Lincoln vehicles equipped with acoustic auto glass technology.
What Exactly Is an Acoustic Windshield?
Acoustic windshields have a clear layer of acoustic vinyl between two glass layers. The acoustic vinyl dampens noise transmission, making the vehicle cab quieter. Acoustic windshields meet all the same safety standards as traditional windshields.
Do Acoustic Windshields Really Work?
Traffic noise outside a vehicle often reaches 75 dB or higher while the ideal is around 25 dB. The noise is caused by other vehicles, air-pressure against the windshield as you speed along a road, and other noise and vibrations.
Traditional windshields use thicker glass to reduce noise. This adds to the weight of the vehicle and affects fuel economy. The acoustic vinyl layer reduces sound transmission by 60% more than traditional windshields. Most of the noise reduction is in the mid to upper noise range, especially in the 1,500 to 5,000 Hz range of frequency. It reduces overall noise transmission by 2 to 3 dB, but some frequencies by over 6%. May not sound like much, but it makes a conversation easier.
The acoustic film means the glass can be thinner and still reduce noise better than traditional windshields. The lighter glass not only is better at reducing cab noise, but it also improves fuel economy. Some manufacturers now use acoustic glass for the side windows of their high-end vehicles to further reduce cab noise.
Some other benefits of using acoustic glass for your side windows are:
- it cuts down on UV transmission;
- reduces fading of interior materials;
- helping to prevent skin cancer by reducing UV transmission;
- multi-layered glass is also stronger, so it helps to prevent smash and grabs.
How Much Does Sound Screen Windshield Cost?
The cost of a replacement SoundScreen windshield depends on the vehicle model and year. An OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement will usually cost around $400.00 (US). Make sure you have it noted on the repair order that it is a genuine OEM replacement windshield. There are too many knock-offs around which are thinner or poorly made.
It’s less expensive to have a windshield chip or crack replaced. Make sure to have it done by someone who specializes in SoundScreen or acoustic windshield repair – you don’t want the vinyl membrane damaged. A small chip may cost around $50 while a large crack $250 or more. If your insurance company doesn’t cover OEM replacement, you may need to pay out of pocket or go with an inferior product.
What Is a SoundScreen Windshield?
SoundScreen is a trademarked acoustic glass used by Ford-Lincoln. It means windshields and door glass marked with it will reduce the noise transfer into the passenger compartment. Since 2007, the use of SoundScreen technology has moved Ford-Lincoln to the top for noise reduction inside vehicles.
Major Car Brands Who Install Acoustic Windshields
About 20% of the vehicles on the road today have acoustic glass. Ford introduced their SoundScreen windshields in 2007, and it is now a standard in many of their models. Other major car brands that commonly use acoustic windshields are Audi, Toyota, Jeep, Hyundai, Honda, Tata, and Maruti.
Genesis uses a double-laminated soundproof windshield. Range Rover and BMW use lighter acoustic glass. The Chevrolet Impala is available with acoustic glass for the windshield and the front side windows; as are some high-end Infiniti models.
When shopping around for a vehicle, check the information on the windshield to see if it’s acoustic glass.
Major Aftermarket Car Acoustic Glass Manufacturers
If you have to replace the windshield on your vehicle, you have three choices. The best choice, but more expensive is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement that matches the original and is made to the same standards. It will fit like the original because it was made for that model and provide the same quality and safety too.
The second choice is OEE (original equipment equivalent) windshields. They are made to the same standards but by a different manufacturer than the original. They may not fit as well as the OEM product, and the cost saving may be marginal for what you’re giving up.
Your final choice is an aftermarket product. It may be similar to the OEM product, but could just as easily be a poor quality imitation. It should meet or exceed the minimum DOT safety standards and will be less expensive.
Insurance companies willingly pay for aftermarket windshields, but many automobile manufacturers recommend OEM replacement or may void sections of the manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re paying out of pocket, or your insurance doesn’t cover an OEM replacement, the choice may be straight economics.
Carlex – Carlite
Carlex manufactures SoundScreen windshields and door glass for Ford-Lincoln models. If your vehicle had factory installed SoundScreen, replace it with the same. It is lighter and more effective than other products.
Pilkington makes multi-layered glass and tempered glass for the windshield, door, and back window use. Products are used for both factory and aftermarket installs. It produces a thicker laminated windshield that is acoustic glass.
A widely used American aftermarket manufacturer of all automotive glass types, including acoustic windshields.
Other Ways to Soundproof Your Car
The sound deadening glass is just one way to reduce the noise in the passenger compartment. Other aftermarket products will help reduce noise transfer into your vehicle and make it a quieter ride. Two inexpensive ways are adding sound deadening mats and improving the weather-stripping around your doors, trunk, and hood.
Sound Deadening MattingSound deadening matting is made of automotive rubber (butyl) and with a foil backing. The thicker the material, the better noise reduction it will provide. It is self-adhering so can be used on the floor, sides, and ceiling to reduce noise transfer. It can also be used inside the trunk or engine compartment too.
Follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the matting. Remove the interior trim and panels so the rubber can be stuck to the metal of the vehicle. Clean or degrease the metal, cut and dry fit the pieces before removing the protective backing on the adhesive. The amount of matting you need depends on the surface area you want to insulate against sound.
The rubber has acoustic properties that help reduce noise and vibration. The foil has reflective abilities that also help reduce the transfer of noise into the passenger compartment. You could reduce the noise transfer by as much as 30%. It depends on how much of the passenger compartment you cover, and how well you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Have a look at Noico sound deadening mat here on Amazon.
Weather-StrippingHigh quality “B” shaped rubber weather seal is an easy way to reduce noise transfer into the passenger compartment. The flexible self-adhering strip can be cut or torn and easily bends to adhere to any metal surface. The surface and air temperatures do need to be above 55°F for the best fit and stick.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, clean and dry the metal surface, dry fit the weather-stripping, then peel and stick into place. Use it around doors, the trunk, and the hood to improve their seals. The quality automotive weather-stripping not only reduces noise transfer and wind sound, but it is also waterproof and dustproof.Check out the weather draft seal here on Amazon.
Are all windshields acoustic glass? No, not all windshields are acoustic glass. Laminated or multi-layered glass does not mean it has the sound depressing membrane layer. It must have one of the following fused to it: the word Acoustic, a capital A, SoundScreen®, or a symbol of an ear with a bent arrow across it.