One of the most common ways to relieve stress is going out on a nice long drive with a few friends. A smooth drive, some nice company, and chill music playing in your car. What’s more to want? Well, I expected the same when I went out one day, but fate had something else planned one day.
I took to a noisy highway with a friend by my side, and the rest is history. Instead of talking to each other and listening to music, all we could hear were horns honking and brakes screeching. As we moved further along, the noise intensified, and so did our annoyance, ruining the relaxing drive we had planned.
It was then that my friend suggested I install acoustic windshields in my car. On our way home, my friend told me what acoustic windshields were, and soon after, I decided to invest. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a decision made in haste. I took my time researching acoustic windshields and ultimately decided they were worth getting.
Before taking the plunge, I researched extensively on these windshields. To save you from the hassle here’s all you should know about these shields before you finally invest in them.
What is an Acoustic Windshield and How Does It Work?
In simple words, an acoustic windshield is a windshield that comes with an extra layer of soundproof, insulating material between two glass shields. This presence of the added soundproof layer between the standard layers of glass allows an acoustic windshield to keep much of the noise pollution outside from entering the car, thus making your drive quieter.
How Is An Acoustic Windshield Different From A Regular One?
Noise is a major distraction for most drivers. Regardless of its source, excessive noise can distract and confuse drive, leading to severe incidents. It’s also just an annoying hindrance while driving.
This is why most car manufacturing companies now try to soundproof almost all the parts of a vehicle as much as possible. The windshields are no exception to this soundproofing. Almost all general windshields in modern cars cancel out much of outside noise.
However, despite this, there seems to be a severe need for further soundproofing, especially if you’re regularly driving on noisy and busy roads. This is where an acoustic shield comes to your rescue.
When my colleague explained acoustic windshields to me, he struggled to explain the exact difference between them and regular ones. All he could tell me was that acoustic ones are more soundproof.
So, in an attempt to be frugal, I started wondering if I could do something with my standard shields to convert them into acoustic ones. I guess watching all those YouTube DIY videos tricked me into thinking such a thing.
However, after researching a little, I realized that this wouldn’t be possible since the build of both shields is entirely different. Recalling my confusion, I think it’s important to be clear on the major differences between these two types before moving any further.
Many people don’t know that the generic windshield is actually made up of two layers of thick glazed glass attached to each other. This thickness of the glass is the only feature of the windshield that can cancel out noise.
On the other hand, the acoustic windshield has a specialized soundproofing layer placed between the two glass shields. The addition of this soundproofing layer is what makes an acoustic windshield work better than a regular windshield. Usually, the soundproofing layer is made of PVB or another form of vinyl.
Such a build makes the layer flexible and strong while allowing it to block out most outside noise. The soundproofing property of these PVB layers comes from their ability to dampen the sounds with frequencies between 1500 and 5000 Hz. On average, an acoustic windscreen can reduce the overall noise by 2-3 decibels, which is quite a considerable reduction for a car’s interior.
Another major difference between these two shields is thickness. Usually, the glass in an acoustic shield is a bit thinner than the one used in the standard shields. This thinness of glass is possible because of the sturdiness of the inner vinyl layer in an acoustic windshield that promises added strength while keeping your car’s interiors quiet.
Benefits of Acoustic Windshields
By now, you know the biggest advantage, and indeed the main purpose of the acoustic windshields. It cancels out noise, making sitting inside your car a lot quieter and comfortable. However, I can bet that you wouldn’t have thought of the other ways in which an acoustic windshield can benefit you. Am I right?
Given below are some other amazing benefits of installing an acoustic windshield in your car. I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, but I’m sure that after reading these, you’ll seriously start thinking of getting your windshield replaced even if you’re okay with all the noise pollution.
1- Prevents Vehicle Theft
This seems like a joke, right? Trust me, it’s not.
With car locks advancing every day, car thieves are now left with just one way to break into a car, and that’s the windshield. No matter the thickness, a standard windscreen can be easily smashed with a powerful hit, resulting in car theft.
Thanks to the Vinyl layer of an acoustic windshield, these screens require much more effort and force from anyone willing to smash them. I want you to know that the strength of a PVB isn’t divine or magical. It can, at times, be shattered provided that a lot of force is applied.
However, the acoustic windshields are still better than the standards ones keeping in view the intense difficulty that anyone trying to break these would face. Chances are, they’ll give up, and your car will be safe.
2- Better UV Protection
Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ll know about the severity of UV radiations and the damage they can do. While your standard windshield may also promise some sort of protection from UV rays, its efficiency in doing so is very limited. Thankfully, you have another solution to keep yourself safe in the form of an acoustic windshield.
Many don’t know that an acoustic windshield can actually reduce the intensity of UV radiations to a great extent. This makes such a windshield an excellent investment for anyone who is always driving under the sun, especially in regions with high UV rays exposure.
UV exposure can also affect your car’s interior. Hence, an acoustic windshield is especially beneficial for your dashboard since it is mostly the first thing to face discoloration from consistent sun exposure.
3- Enhanced Fuel Efficiency
It is now a well-known fact that the lighter a vehicle component’s are, the more fuel-efficient the vehicle is. This is because the lighter components are easier to move for the vehicle, which means it has to use a lesser amount of fuel.
Even though a windshield isn’t thought of as a heavyweight component, its weight can contribute significantly to the overall mass of a vehicle. Acoustic windshields, being slimmer than general ones, are lighter in weight. This property makes these shields better for fuel efficiency, giving you another reason to invest in them.
Drawbacks of Acoustic Windshields
Despite my strong opinion on acoustic windshields being a need for modern drivers on busy roads, I feel it important to shed light on some of their drawbacks too.
When getting an acoustic windshield installed, beware that it will be:
Acoustic windshields are quite a new innovation in the market, and it’s often rare to find them. Moreover, the technology they use for noise cancellation is a little advanced. Given their limited supply and the advanced technology used to manufacture them, acoustic windshields are justifiably priced higher than standard ones.
While the rates may vary depending upon where you get one installed from, you can expect an acoustic shield to cost somewhere around $400-$450. Quite a lot of expenditure when compared to a general windshield, isn’t it? However, I really believe it’s worth every penny. The benefits these windshields provide cannot be compared to standard ones.
2-Uncovered by Insurance
Most car insurance policies have not yet been revised to offer coverage for damage to an acoustic windshield. Therefore, in case your acoustic windshield gets damaged, you must be ready to fulfill the cost on your own.
How To Tell If Your Car’s Windshield Is Acoustic?
Let’s say you decided to take the plunge and get acoustic windshields. Remember how I said these are limited in supply? That means a lot of manufacturers or sellers are using counterfeit windshields to make money. That’s why it’s essential to be able to tell if a windshield is acoustic.
The simplest way to tell if your windshield is acoustic is to take a closer look at the windshield itself. There’s almost always a small sticker mentioning the acoustic properties of the shield in case it comes with noise cancellation property. If you can’t see it anywhere, don’t trust anyone, no matter how sure they seem.