Putting the glass in your vehicle's windshield to the test

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ABC13's Kevin Quinn puts your vehicle's windshield to the test.

In the shooting rampage last month near West University, six people were shot. Three others were injured by shattered glass, as gunfire pierced the windows and windshields of their vehicles.

It made us wonder: is the glass in our vehicles all made the same?

"There are millions of pieces of glass being imported into the United States every month," said Nima Mir at Atlas Auto Glass in Houston.

There's little you can do about a gunshot, he says, unless you were to retrofit your vehicle with bulletproof glass. But that, Mir says, would cost too much in dollars and weight to the vehicle.

Mir allowed us to test various types of impacts to both windshields and side windows, which he often will use to replace broken glass for customers.

Windshields, he notes, shatter differently because of the way most are made. "You got the glass from the outside, the glass from the inside and you've got a lamination right in between them," he said.

That minimizes the damage.

Kevin Quinn: "Would every piece of glass perform like this?
Mir: "Laminated glass, yes."
Replacement windshields can range in price from $300 on the cheaper end of the spectrum to $2,500 for higher quality glass compatible with higher-end vehicles that have built-in hardware for collision avoidance and driver assist systems. "It's about safety of you. You and your family or whoever is gonna drive that car," said Mir.

The glass that is on the sides of your vehicle, Mir says, is likely tempered safety glass. It's designed to shatter upon impact.

If you're replacing windows, Mir suggests, you might consider an upgrade to laminated there, too. "They're not going to break into a million pieces like the tempered one," he said.

Mir cautions not replacing all the windows in your vehicle with laminated ones - in case you get trapped in a flooding car. Getting out could prove more difficult.

But he says you get what you pay for - that it's always best to try to replace auto glass with something comparable to what it left with from the factory.

None of those, however, will protect you from a bullet.
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