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Acoustic windshield is becoming common as car manufacturers strive to offer their customers better and more advanced services.
Ford introduced their soundcreens in 2007, and other reputable brands have followed suit.
So, how are these acoustic windshields different from regular windshields?
What Is An Acoustic Windshield?
An acoustic windshield generally work pretty much like a regular one.
It keeps you and everyone in the car safe from the debris that you may encounter while driving.
However, unlike the regular windshield, an acoustic one comes with a soundproofing insulation layer.
Sandwiched between the glass layers are the standard Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) layer and an additional Acoustic PVB material.
It’s designed to interrupt the normal flow of acoustic vibration.
Once these vibrations hit the acoustic PVB layer, they are absorbed and converted into heat energy- similar concept to how green glue soundproofing compound works.
Even when you are driving through noisy areas, you can drive quietly and safely with this type of windshield.
Are All Windshields Acoustic Glass?
No, all windshields are not made using acoustic glass. The technology is recent, and most older car models have the traditional heavy-glass windscreen.
In the past all windshields were made of glass.
Since glass is a poor soundproofing material, different manufacturers tried to make it as thick as possible.
Later, windshields were advanced to the double-glazed variety. This one is made using two glass pieces with an air gap in between.
While the double-glazed windshield effectively reduces noise in the cabin, it is much heavier than the acoustic variety.
A few years later came the laminated acoustic windshield.
They were made of thin layers of glass bonded together using plastic.
Of these four varieties, the acoustic windshield stands out for its effectiveness in minimizing cabin noise and its light nature, and durability.
The laminated acoustic windshield comes a close second.
How Much Difference Does An Acoustic Windshield Make?
An acoustic windshield is capable of reducing noise levels in the cabin by three to four decibels.
The windshield does a better job of blocking more noise in the 1,500 Hz to 5,000 Hz range.
If your car was noisy, you will notice a drop in the noise inside your cabin.
However, you may want to repair your weather stripping, fix the car floor, and wheels if your car is extremely noisy.
For soundproofing, an acoustic windshield is not enough to bring the quiet you are looking for.
However, it is one of the areas you should purpose to rectify.
Additionally, it’ll also reduce the weight of your vehicle.
A light vehicle is more fuel-efficient, and the money saved can add to quite an amount, not to mention that you also cut back on carbon emissions.
How Do You Know If You Have An Acoustic Windshield?
If yours is a modern car, it is likely that it comes with an acoustic windshield.
However, just to be sure, there are different ways to check if you are already enjoying this innovation.
First, this information may be written on the windshield along with other car details, such as the manufacturer and the logo.
Check for the word sound screen, acoustic, or A on the car information list of the windscreen.
Some manufacturers also add an ear image with a curved arrow passing by it. These words or images are the top or the bottom centre of your windscreen.
You can also check this information on your car manual.
If the car has an acoustic windshield, this information will be included somewhere under the windshield category.
If you do not see any words or images, and the information is not in the manual, yours is not an acoustic windshield.
However, you may see information on the standard and overall quality of your sound screen.
Is Acoustic Windshield Worth It?
The short answer is yes, the acoustic windshield is worth every penny, and the difference in cost with the traditional variety is not as much if you consider the durability.
The quiet you enjoy inside a car with an acoustic windscreen when on the road is simply divine.
Traffic noise can at times go beyond 75 dB, and if you spend hours on the road, this can be a lot to bear.
The noise of other vehicles, vibrations, and the air pressure as it pushes against the windshield can grow to uncomfortable levels, especially when driving at high speed.
Ideally, traffic noise should be about 25 dB.
Car manufacturers use different methods to ensure that the noise inside the vehicle remains within safe levels.
Traditionally, many car manufacturers used thicker glass to minimize the noise getting into the cabin through the windscreen.
— Metrotown Mitsubishi (@MetrotownMitsu) October 28, 2015
However, the thick glass added to the weight of the vehicle, reducing its fuel efficiency.
Compared to these thicker windshields, the acoustic one minimizes sound transmission by over 60%.
The acoustic varieties are better at minimizing high-frequency noise, but generally, you will enjoy a 3-4 dB noise reduction.
If you are looking to soundproof your vehicle, an acoustic windshield will help shift the noise levels downwards.
However, you may want to combine this with other soundproofing solutions, such as damping mats.
Other benefits include:
- Reduced UV transmission which protects the people in the vehicle and minimizes the fading on car interiors
- Thinner windshields lead to lighter cars, reduced carbon emissions, and improved fuel efficiency.
- Stronger windscreens that are durable and harder to break into in case of theft.
- The acoustic layer prevents the glass from caving inwards in case of an accident, preventing glass shard injuries.
The Disadvantages of Acoustic Windshields
Well, acoustic windshields do not come cheap.
If you want to change your current windshield to an acoustic one, you will spend $400 upwards for the windshield alone.
When you consider the durability, you will see that the acoustic windshields are worth every penny.
It is also highly possible that the prices will go down as acoustic windshields become more common.
When you get the windshields installed, ensure that an expert does it. You do not want to get the acoustic layer damaged during installation.
You also have to care for your windshields. In case of a crack, have a professional seal to prevent damage to the acoustic layer.
The above answers and details cover most of what you may want to know about acoustic windshields.
We understand that it is a new innovation, so it is normal that you and many others are curious about these shields and their function.
If your car already has this innovation, now you know why you are enjoying a quieter ride. As long as you maintain your windshield, it will serve you well for many years.
If you were considering installing an acoustic windscreen in your car and were wondering if the additional cost is worth it, we hope that this information will make decision making easier for you.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.