Hopefully, you never have to deal with a broken car window or broken windshield. Having such damage repaired can be a bit of a hassle since it's not always covered by the car insurance companies and it's not really safe to drive your car until the glass is repaired. If you do ever have the misfortune of suffering a broken car window, however, you will need to communicate with a window repair specialist to arrange for repairs. This discussion will go more smoothly if you know the following terminology:
People often use the term "windshield" when they are really referring to the front windshield—the piece of glass that the driver looks directly through as they drive. Contrary to popular belief, a windshield does more than keep the bugs out. It also helps support the structure of the car. For this reason, a badly broken windshield is more than a cosmetic issue. It could put the roof of your car in danger of collapsing in some cases.
This piece is the reason you should never just say "windshield." Technically, the piece of glass at the very back of the car is a windshield too. It's known as a back windshield. Like the front windshield, it is a structural component of many cars, especially sedans with a long, slanted back window structure. Although you should be able to drive without looking through the back window if you use your mirrors properly, it is not safe to drive around with a broken back windshield since it may cause your doors and trunk structures to shift.
Four-door cars have four side-door windows. Two-door cars have two side-door windows. To designate between these windows, you can use the terms front, back, driver's side, and passenger's side. For instance, you might tell the window company that your rear driver's side door window is broken.
On a two-door car, there are typically two small windows directly behind the side door windows. These quarter-glass windows do not break very often because they are so small, but they could break if you are in an accident. They are tough to replace since they do not open and close. A chipped quarter-glass window is less of an emergency than a chipped door window or windshield since you don't really need to look through these windows and they're not really structural. Still, it's best to have such a window repaired to prevent leaks and keep the window from cracking further.
The acute area is the area of the front windshield where the driver looks when they are driving. If a crack or chip is in this area, you may want to have the windshield repair company come to you, rather than you driving to them.
A ding is a tiny chip in the glass, usually caused by a stone. The glass may look indented but not like any of it is clearly missing. Never ignore a ding, even if it does not appear to extend through the glass, as it can easily spread into a larger crack if something else hits the windshield.
The gasket is the rubberized piece that runs along the border of the window. If the crack starts or stops near the gasket, this is a detail you can share with your window repair specialist when you call them.
Windshields, and often your car's other windows, are typically made from safety glass. This is also known as tempered or laminated glass. It has a specialized coating on it that keeps the glass from completely shattering if it breaks.
Use these terms to your advantage if you need to call a glass repair company! And don't be afraid to ask questions if you do not quite understand other terms that they use. Good glass companies are happy to explain their work to customers.