Common Auto Glass Features
Windshields range in shape, size, tint, and features. Some vehicles that are the same year make and model have many windshield options. See below for the common windshield features and tips for identifying if you have them. These features include: rain sensors; heated windshields; third visors; shade bands; electrochromic mirrors; heads up display (HUD); lane departure warning systems; and solar controlled glass.
Small gel pack adhered to the windshield either by the rear view mirror or the lower right hand side of the windshield. If you are unsure, you can know because if you have a rain sensor, when it begins to rain, your wipers will turn on automatically.
Heated Wiper Park Area
Heat lines that run underneath the area that your wipers sit. You may or may not have a de-icer button inside to manually turn them on. They are often quite well hidden from a distance but upon close examination, they should be visible.
Windshield Third Visor
Is a black speckled shading in your windshield behind your rear view mirror. It is designed to keep the sun out of your eyes while in the awkward space in the top middle of your windshield between your fold down visors. This is where it gets the name of "Third Visor".
It is also often incorrectly referred to as the "third visor band" resulting from confusion with a "shade band."
Similar to the third visor, the objective to the windshield shade band is to keep the sun out of your eyes. However, instead of exclusively being behind the rear view mirror, it is a band of tint that runs along the entire top of your windshield. The most common colors are green and blue.
A rear-view mirror that has electrical components and automatically adjusts to night driving conditions. The easiest way to know if you have an electrochromic mirror is if you have any of the following: a digital compass in the mirror, buttons, or if there is not a 'flip tab' coming out of the bottom.
Heads up Display (HUD)
Some vehicles actually project information on to the windshield (such as speed, temperature, navigation instructions etc.). It is designed for the driver to be able to keep an eye on the important information about the vehicle without taking his/her eyes off the road.
Lane Departure Warning System
Will notify you when you are drifting between lanes without using your signal light. It uses a camera attached to the windshield to function. It may beep, vibrate, show a picture on your navigation system, and/or light up an indicator.
Picture obtained under creative commons license: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lane_Departure_Warning.jpg
Blind Spot Monitoring
Usually displayed on your side view mirrors, the blind spot monitoring system will light up whenever there is a vehicle in a potential blind spot on either side of you.
Solar Windshield Glass
Most modern high quality windshields are solar controlled. While it is not a frequently talked about feature, it is designed to block energy from the sun. This protects your eyes, resists interior fading, and helps keep your vehicle cool.
The vehicle with the most windshields options is the 2014-2016 Jeep Cherokees, with 23 windshield varieties. Most vehicles have 1 to 5 different windshield options. Windshield Surgeons certified technicians are trained to install windshields with all different types of features.
--Windshield Surgeons Auto Glass Team
(published August 9, 2016, last edited April 6, 2017)