Windshield identification: save time by knowing your windshield.

Windshield identification leads to knowing what features come with your windshield auto glass. Pictured is a vehicle with a rain detector system.

Windshield identification is essential to every windshield replacement. Many of the windshields installed in new model cars have various safety and ease of use features. These make the driving experience exponentially better and safer for the driver.

If your windshield needs to be repaired or replaced, it is good to know what features come with your windshield. It’s also essential that your auto glass technician knows of any and all features that come with your windshield. Let your technician know when you get your windshield replaced. They can help reconnect all of these features for you (if you have them).

So, let’s start identifying your windshield features!

Rain Sensor

This is a wiper setting that will activate wipers when the sensor detects water outside the glass.  The rain sensor detects the amount of light reflected back into it by the windshield glass. Basically, the more rain droplets that are on the windshield, the less light will reach the sensor. This triggers the mechanism that turns on the windshield wipers.

Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)

This option alerts the driver if the vehicle drifts out of it’s respective lane. Either audibly or vibration in the steering wheel or seat.  Lane departure warning systems work by having a low-cost camera typically mounted in the windshield near the rear view mirror. It continuously detects the lane markings on the road ahead. When it senses that the vehicle is moving outside of the lanes, some react by steering away from the closest lane edge. Other versions can also actively keep the vehicle centered in the lane. This safety feature usually involve three main categories: warning, assist, and self-centering.

Forward Collision Alert

This option is usually a feature alerts the driver if they are to close to the vehicle or object in front of them.  This alert system is active when the vehicle is in the drive gear. The camera mounted in the windshield uses long, mid, and short range radar to detect objects ahead of the vehicle. Usually there is some type of warning system indicated on a heads-up display (HUD). When a vehicle is detected ahead and you are at a safe distance, often the system displays a green following icon. Otherwise, the system will display a yellow/amber icon if you are following too closely (tailgating). And when you are potentially about to crash into an object of vehicle, the system will display a flashing red icon. Oftentimes, it includes some type of haptic feedback in the driver’s seat or steering wheel.

Heated Wiper Park

A heated wiper park area is also an option on some windshields.  They are heating elements built into the glass where your wipers sit in the rest position.  This feature helps keep the wipers from icing up in winter weather.  This feature can greatly improve your windshield wiper’s ability to maintain good visibility in cold climates or inclement weather associated with snow or ice.

Windshield Identification methods

When I ask a customer if they have these features a typical response is I have no idea.  You can save yourself some time and frustration in the windshield replacement process by using one of the options below. 

In the bottom left, right or center there will be information about the windshield in very small black letters.  If the windshield has been replaced with an aftermarket windshield, it will have a series of 2 letters followed by 4 numbers.  For example, if a Honda Civic has had the windshield replaced with an AFTER MARKET windshield, it will start with a FW for Foreign Windshield followed by 4 numbers XXXX. So a foreign manufactured vehicle would read similar to this FW2405.   If the vehicle were a Ford F-150 the AFTER MARKET numbers will start with a DW for Domestic Windshield.  So it may read something like DW1668GTY.

If the windshield has never been replaced and still has the O.E.M. windshield that came from the manufacturer the numbers will be different. Regardless of the windshield type, one of the easiest ways to figure out which windshield you have is to place a piece of white or yellow paper and tape it behind the writing on the bottom of the windshield from the inside of the car.  Take a picture with your phone and text or email it to the auto glass shop.  The email for RVA Glass is or text 804-519-4218 with the black writing on the lower left, middle, or right side of the windshield.  

You can also send the Vehicle Identification Number but sometimes it still shows several different windshields for the same vehicle so windshield identification can be difficult with glass supplier websites.  When all else fails we call the dealership to find out what windshield options if any came on the vehicle. 

Final notes

It may seem as though the glass professional is asking you a bunch of irrelevant questions but it is to positively identify the correct windshield replacement part(s) ahead of time.  If the glass technician brings the wrong windshield it could mean a re-schedule for the customer causing a longer wait for the windshield replacement. 

By all means give us a call if you have questions.  We are happy to answer questions and educate you on how the process works. You can also get in touch with us on facebook or by filling out our contact form on this website.

Our humble business is licensed and insured. Plus, we offer a lifetime warranty against windshield leaks or defect in craftsmanship. RVA Glass would be more than happy to provide you exceptional service. 

Windshield crack: from small chips to problems.

Cold temperatures create cracks in ice much like it creates cracks in your auto windshield glass.

Having a few small chips in your windshield might not seem like a big deal. After all, they generally just sit there for months on end, staying the same size. And since they are so small,  they don’t mess up your line of sight or cause any other issues. However, there is an underlying problem in allowing cracks to remain in your windshield glass. Due to a number of factors, even the smallest crack can split and turn into a massive windshield crack.  Consequently ruining your windshield in a mere instant.

There are a few factors that can cause a severe windshield crack. Many of them are related to extreme temperatures ( winter and summer ) and other inclement weather.  As strong as windshields seem and are made to be, micro-chips and small “stress cracks” can seriously compromise the integrity of your glass.


Moisture is a major culprit, as it can seep into even the *tiniest* cracks. Therefore, once it freezes, it will expand and likely spread any small chip into a full-blown massive crack. 

Extreme Temperature

Similarly, atmospheric pressure and extreme temperatures can cause a strain on your auto glass, causing serious damage. Either if it is a few inches of snow adding extra weight, or high temperatures of glass from an extra hot summer day. These can all cause small chips to spread in mere seconds into a massive crack. Hence, leaving something once easily reparable can turn into a full-blown windshield replacement.

Let’s Repair Your Windshield Crack Immediately

Be sure to do yourself a favor and get small chips repaired. This can spare you the need to get a full-blown windshield replacement down the road (which can be a huge inconvenience when you least expect it) and save future you a massive headache.

Give us a call today at, 804-519-4218 or CONTACT US for a free quote.

You can also follow us on Facebook to stay in touch.

Rear glass leak fix, an infamous problem for Ford trucks.

One of my regular customers, (let’s call him Tim), called about a problem with his vehicle fleet’s recent addition. It is a newly purchased, pre-owned 2008 Ford F-250 Super-duty crew cab truck. He said that he hasn’t owned the truck long when he realized that he had a rear glass leak. A few days ago, he was driving in a rainstorm when his passengers noticed his back glass was wet with streaming water. Tim’s truck has a powered, 3 panel, encapsulated rear glass with solar privacy glass.  The center glass slides open when the button is pushed in the drivers’ area.  The other back glass option for this truck would be a 1 piece of glass that does not open or slide.

I told Tim that the powered rear back glass assemblies have drain ports/drain holes built in the bottom of them. They are designed to take water from rain that runs into the bottom of the window channel. This allows water to drain out the bottom. Over time, these drain ports can collect dirt, pollen, and other small debris causing clogged drain holes.  As a result, water pools up inside the channel until it leaks down the bottom of the glass. Down into the carpeted rear area of the cab. After I questioned Tim where the water seemed to be coming from, the drain ports didn’t seem like the problem.

Rear glass leak: An Odd problem of Ford truck

I speculated that the alternative cause of the water leak is a failed seal of the rear glass. This seal, which is made up of a strand of butyl tape, surrounds the face of the glass assembly. It mates to the metal pinch weld of the glass opening. 

Additionally, the glass assembly also has threaded studs that protrude through the metal pinch weld.  10mm nuts thread onto the protruding threaded studs that are now sticking through the pinch weld holes, about 15 in total. Once the 10mm nuts are secured on the inside of the cab it creates a waterproof barrier by pulling the glass assembly inward towards the cab. As the 10mm nuts are tightened, the butyl tape sandwiched in the middle between the glass assembly and metal pinch weld acts as a waterproof barrier. It keeps water out of the interior of the vehicle.

Butyl tape is very sticky, tacky, and messy. It does not break down like rubber or foam gasket seals. So, I was hesitant to pursue this as a possible cause for a water leak.

I told Tim that I would be over later that afternoon. I am all set to diagnose and repair the water leak on his truck. When I pulled into Tim’s driveway, his truck’s rear window was facing towards me. I am already scanning the back cab of the truck for potential problems. The first thing I noticed in the immediate vicinity of the rear glass was an aftermarket third brake light above the rear glass of the truck. This was of interest to me because this was my potential water leak problem staring me down!

The culprit

Ford trucks manufactured between 1997 to 2014 are notorious for leaking water around the third brake light lens just above the rearview window. The problem is usually not with the plastic brake light assembly. Rather, it is the foam gasket seal. The third brake lights leak around the hole in the cab, where the brake light mates to the back of the truck cab. It has a foam gasket seal that sits between the brake light fixture and the back of the truck cab. The foam gasket seal can deteriorate or pull away. This results in water leaking into the cab through the hole from the third brake light. 20180905_124235

In Tim’s case, the foam gasket seal was present but it was old, smashed down, and no longer doing its job of keeping water out. When it rains, the water runs down the back of the roof of the truck. Then down to the third brake light and into the cab. The water would travel further the rear back glass on the inside of the glass, down to the floor and carpet. Tim told me that this problem has been going on for a while because the bottom of his rear floorboard was rusty beneath the carpet. Below is the picture of the old foam gasket seal.  20180905_124243

The Much Awaited Fix

Confident that I had found the source of the rear glass leak, I showed Tim the third brake light assembly and the old foam gasket seal attached to it.  I told him I would make a new foam gasket seal and re-install the third brake light.  I replaced the seal and water. Then, tested the third brake light with a water hose.  Tim watched the inside of the back glass from the rear seat as I sprayed down the third brake light assembly and back glass for 2 to 3 minutes.  Alas! The rear glass leak was no longer present.  I am glad because I would not have to remove the glass and replace the messy, black butyl tape! Tim was also happy because his repair bill was considerably less than removing and re-installing the entire back glass assembly.

A proper fix for rear glass leak brake light assembly

A quick google search for Ford third brake light leaking will reveal a variety of different fixes that other people have come up with. The most common fix that people seem to do is to permanently seal the third brake light assembly to the back of the cab with an adhesive such as glue or urethane. DO NOT DO THIS!  The next time your third brake light needs a bulb replacement you will have a mess to deal with. The adhesive will either pull the paint off the back of the truck cab when you pull the brake light assembly, crack the brake light assembly, or have to be removed by cutting. The latter will most likely result in scratched paint.

I used a piece of 7/32 foam gasket seal that attaches with a piece of built-in adhesive tape. This is the same type of material attached to the edges of windshields to keep dirt and water out of the pinch weld. You can purchase this type of gasket seal online and some automotive stores. If you cannot find the same material that I used, you can purchase a 3M double-sided foam adhesive tape at your local parts store.

Demonstration of a rear glass leak fix. Repairing the seal.

Tools/items needed: 3M double-sided tape, razor blade/cutting tool, rubbing alcohol & hand towel, a water source for water leak testing.

  1.  Remove the old foam gasket from the third brake light assembly
  2. Wipe down the brake light assembly with rubbing alcohol where the old gasket was removed.
  3. Evenly apply the double-sided 3M tape around the entire edge of the third brake light.
  4. Carefully trim any excess double-sided foam tape with a razor knife.
  5. Re-install the third brake light assembly and tighten 2 Phillips screws.

How to do a simple water leak test

This is a very simple way to check for leaks yourself.  You will need a spray bottle filled with soapy water and compressed air.  This technique will work for checking water leaks around any solid-mounted glass on your vehicle.  The compressed air can be in the form of a compressed can of air if an air compressor and nozzle are not available.

  1.  Spray the soapy water around the entire outside area of the glass to be checked.
  2.  From the inside of the vehicle, one person blows the compressed air slowly around the entire outer edge of the glass while the second person watches the glass from the outside of the vehicle watching for soap bubbles to appear.  Where the soap bubbles appear on the outside is where the leak is located.  The compressed air passes around the glass forming the soapy bubble.

To schedule a windshield replacement or for more useful information check us out at RVA Glass Repair. You can also call or text us at 804-519-4218 or fill out a brief contact form and we’ll get back to you soon.

As always RVA Glass offers FREE Mobile Service! That’s right, as always we come to you at no extra charge for every windshield repair and windshield replacement in the greater Richmond VA area including Short Pump VA, Glen Allen VA, North Chesterfield VA, Midlothian VA, Chester VA, Bon Air, VA, Forest Hill VA, Colonial Heights VA, and Chesterfield VA.

You may like to read about the costs of newer windshields, and how we handle service during a crisis. or when there is strong rain. 

RVA Glass services include but are not limited to:
  1. Free windshield replacement or repair quote.
  2. Windshield repair for minor damages. You can read about the different types here.  
  3. The windshield replacement for major damage types and breaks.
  4. All auto glass repair. Anywhere on your vehicle, you have damage, we can help fix it.
  5. Windshield rock chip repair usually resulting from small debris striking the windshield while driving.
  6. Window motor regulator replacement. If your windows stop working, normally it is the motor that is the issue. Contact us for a free quote.
  7. Rearview mirror repair or replacement. We can fix all internal glass structures on the interior of the vehicle as well.
  8. The back glass could leak or get broken. When inclement weather or age strikes, RVA Glass can be the solution you need for an affordable price.
  9. Often, when parked or driving, your side view mirrors could suffer impact. Or, due to age, they may become structurally compromised. Usually, this can be an expensive fix at most shops. Call us to see how we can repair your side-view mirrors. We are fully mobile so we can come to you!
  10. Leaking windshield or back glass usually is a problem with the seal or gaskets. Normally this can be a relatively simple fix so contact us now for a free estimate.
  11. Although we can work on almost any vehicle, we are very adept at working on Jeep Wranglers, Subaru Outbacks, Toyota Rav 4s, and Toyota Camrys.