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  • The rear windows give drivers a view of what’s behind them, prevent theft, and keep road debris, rain, and other external factors from entering the vehicle.
  • To take care of a rear window replacement, It’s a good idea to give it enough time to settle before going to a car wash and driving on rough roads.
  • It might be time to get your rear window replaced when it has irreparable cracks, chips, and fractures.

A newly replaced rear window can move around, so it’s important to know what you can do to take proper care of it.

More often than not, recently installed rear windows get displaced when the sealant isn’t given enough time to set. The adhesive binding the window to the vehicle can also get washed away or scraped off.

shattered rear window on a 2006 sonata because of extreme heat
Shattered rear window on a 2006 Sonata because of extreme heat | Image Source: Richard McCuistian

The rear glass in the 2006 Sonata (pictured above) shattered because of South Alabama Summer heat. Nobody broke the glass. It shattered all by itself sitting in the sun on a hot summer day. This is more common than you think and has happened in hot parts of the country for decades.

But notice how the rear glass turns to tiny squares. It’s designed to do this so shards of glass won’t injure occupants during a crash. Auto glass companies will come to where you are and replace your front or rear windshields. Car side windows are made of the same type of glass as car rear glass.

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As an aside, front windshields are of necessity, made of impact resistant, shatterproof glass that consists of two layers of glass with transparent rubber between them.

How to Take Care of Your Rear Window Replacement

To ensure your new rear window can withstand the test of time, here are some handy tips.

Avoid Car Washing Facilities

Because car washes typically use high-power water jets to clean vehicles, they could scrape and damage the sealant of recently replaced rear windows.

The sealant needs around two or more days to dry and solidify. If you take your ride to a car wash during this period, the jets of water can destroy or wash off the sealant.

Going to a hand car wash soon after a rear window replacement is also not a good idea. Detergent and other cleaning solutions can damage the sealant (on top of other adhesives).

Give the Window Time to Cure

Because the sealant that keeps the rear window in place is sensitive when it’s first applied, it’s best to avoid driving your vehicle until it’s fully cured.

Curing is affected by numerous factors, such as temperature and humidity, as well as how skillfully the sealant was applied during installation. Because of this, there’s no set amount of time for how long it takes for sealant to cure.

Still, it’s always a good idea to give it a minimum of 24 hours to dry, harden, and set before you get back on the road.

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Take Care of Your Vehicle

First, always practice safe driving to reduce the risk of getting into accidents that can destroy your vehicle or parts of it like your new rear window.

Similarly, do your best to avoid driving on rough roads or closing car doors with too much force. Both of these actions cause the rear window to shake and vibrate. If the sealant isn’t secure, the window can dislodge and move around.

You can drive on bumpy roads again after the sealant has cured. On the other hand, it’s a good practice to refrain from slamming car doors shut entirely.

Keep the Window Open When It’s Hot

Heat puts a lot of strain on car windows. Even if heat is unlikely to melt or break the windows, it can still weaken them and make existing damage worse. Cracks and chips can expand, compromising the structural integrity of the glass.

What Does a Rear Window Do?

The rear window gives drivers a way to view what’s behind their vehicle. It provides both protection and extra visibility, letting drivers see the vehicles, pedestrians, and other potential hazards behind them.

Rear windows also prevent theft and keep bugs, road debris, and harsh weather like rain and hail from entering the vehicle.

In some cases, rear windows help retain the shape of the vehicle during collision accidents by supporting the car frame. Their position also prevents passengers from flying out and debris from flying in the event of a crash.

Replacing a Car Rear Window vs. Repairing One?

replacing the rear window of car
If you see damage but are unsure of whether you should get your window replaced or merely repaired, take your ride to an auto repair shop for expert inspection.

Although rear windows are incredibly durable, they’re not indestructible and enough damage can require repairs or replacement.

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Window damage that can be repaired includes chips in the glass and minor scratches. Anything more serious than that, such as deep cracks and fractures, would require total replacement.

If you see damage but are unsure of whether you should get your window replaced or merely repaired, take your ride to an auto repair shop for expert inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rear Window Replacement

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning rear windows and rear window replacement.

What’s the difference between a rear window and a windshield?

While rear windows can be found on the back of the vehicle, windshields are located in the front. They also differ in material. Rear windows are usually made of tempered glass, while windshields consist of laminated glass.

What are rear windows typically made of?

More often than not, the rear windows of vehicles are made of tempered glass (also known as safety glass). This glass is approximately four times more durable than regular glass thanks to the tempering it goes through, which enhances its strength and bond with heat and pressure.

How much does a rear window replacement cost?

A normal rear window replacement costs between $200 to $500. Replacement costs vary depending on the vehicle’s year, make, and model, the window setup, and the mechanic.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at

Richard McCuistian has worked for nearly 50 years in the automotive field as a professional technician, an instructor, and a freelance automotive writer for Motor Age, ACtion magazine, Power Stroke Registry, and others. Richard is ASE certified for more than 30 years in 10 categories, including L1 Advanced Engine Performance and Light Vehicle Diesel.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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