by Bob Beranek

Bugs and mosquitoes are not uncommon in the humid northern states in the summertime but that is not what I want to talk about this week. The “bug” I want to talk about is what we in the industry call the glass monogram. The monogram, or bug, is a wealth of information if you are able to decipher the codes and symbols.

Let’s begin with the obvious; this glass was made for Nissan by Vitro SA. This is confirmed by the DOT number 287. By law the glass manufacturer must display their issued DOT number on every part sold in the U. S. They don’t have to display their logo, but they must display their number.

According to other U. S. federal regulations the glass must also display the American standard designations for safety glass, in this case, the AS1 designation. There are several designations for safety glass but there are only three that are common on vehicles sold in America, AS1, AS2 and AS3.

AS1 designation is reserved for glass that passes all of the tests for safety as dictated by ANSI Z26.1 standard and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 205. AS1 glass can be used anywhere on the vehicle the engineers wish to use it but it is typically used on the windshield only due to the complex and expensive manufacturing process.

AS2 safety glass is the next highest grade and passes most of the aging tests but fails the steel ball drop test which would prohibit it from being used in the windshield area. That is why it is used in side and back glass positions.

AS3 is commonly called privacy glass because of its characteristically dark color. This type of glass can be used anywhere behind or above the driver, or from the “B” pillar back or above.

The Circle E code is a code used in vehicles sold in Europe. If a glass part is sold in the U.S. only, then the AS designation is all that is necessary for the glass to display. However, if the part is sold in the U.S. and Europe, then it must display both the AS and the Circle E codes. There is also a Triple C code used in China.

CCC is an acronym for China Compulsory Certification and is a new program started in May of 2002.  It combined two other programs that made exporting and importing products into China easier.

The European symbol is much more detailed than the China symbol. The China symbol is either there to prove approval or not. The European symbol has much more to it than the CCC symbol.  For example, the two slashes above the circle indicate the standard for laminated glass while the absence of a symbol is the indicator for tempered glass and there are a number of other symbols to indicate other types of glass construction. These two foreign standards are much like our AS standards in that they require certain safety requirements of glass parts installed in the road vehicles specifically in their country or participating countries. To simplify the meaning of these symbols is easy, if they don’t display the symbols, then they can’t be sold in the nations that require them. 

The “M” number is always present on auto glass parts. It is a manufacturer specific indicator of the type and construction of the glass part. The only exception to the “M” number is Ford Motor Company’s “FM” number. This number is not standardized so the meaning of the number is only known by the glass manufacturers but it does allow the manufacturers to identify a part and its construction characteristics such as coatings, tint, glass and PVB thickness.

Typically, the Bug also includes the nation of manufacture. In this case, the phrase “Hecho En Mexico”—Made in Mexico—is added in the lower portion of the bug. If there is an absence of a country statement of manufacture, it is made in America.

Any other symbols, illustrations, and/or codes are added for the use of the manufacturer or distributor. The many symbol options could be,

  • Date of manufacture
  • Value added options
  • Manufacturing plant
  • Inventory control bar codes
  • Tracking codes
  • NAGS number of part

If you require more knowledge of the contents or meaning of the various symbols found on the monogram, contact the distributor or manufacturer of the glass. Usually they will be willing to share the information that the glass monogram supplies. Others will be more difficult to obtain due to the protection of proprietary information.

Remember, there are two things you must make sure you do before and after installing any piece of auto glass; make sure the part you are installing has a DOT number in the monogram and secondly, record that number for possible future reference per the AGRSS Standard.

Comments (12)

  1. Glasseye said on 19-10-2012

    Wouldn’t life be easier if the manufacturers would agree a standard universal code that would identify the specific glass. Some vehicles can have ten or more types of screen that fit the same vehicle, sensors, tints, etc. If the customers were able to give the part number over the phone or on a website it would save a lot of misunderstanding and unecessary expense.

    • jrl97z said on 19-10-2012

      I agree 100%, it gets old sometimes to get out to a mobile job and have a windshield that is non-heated because the consumer didn’t even know they had it and even we can’t see the heat lines behind the black paint band on certain vehicles……you find out when you get the windshield cut out. An acoustic interlayer windshield always has a designation as should a heated. Or there needs to be a publishing to distinguish without having to call the local dealership with the VIN to ask all the time.

    • 30 plus years said on 19-10-2012

      Wouldn’t life be easier if everyone would agree to standard universal installation practices? Every installer would be on par with everyone else. Every glass would be installed in such a way as to ensure continued safety for occupants of the vehicle. Wouldn’t it be great if state would begin to regulate your glass installer just like they do your barber. Wait a minute. Isn’t this what AGRSS is attempting to do but is being thrashed by our industry.

  2. Daniel said on 19-10-2012

    I would dare to answer the two colleagues`posts above, if they don`t mind:

    To be sure about the spare glass we would need for a successful replacement, we would be indirectly sent to the OE manufacturer ( not allways affordable for an independent autoglass company) using the VIN number.
    Thus, the part we order will be 95% the one that fits.
    However, price might be prohibitive, the elapsed time for recieveing the OE part might discourage the customer and the very 5% of exactlyness REALLY works, upon Murphy`s Laws ! I mean you may recieve a WS with the mirror pad upper or lower than the correct position (See some Audi/VW models)
    So, what do we do ? Most customers don`t know or even don`t care about the glass they need to have replaced. Asking details about this and that leads often to nerve tensions, both sides.
    The best way is to have the involved vehicle into our own workshop and inspect it carefully. There comes the advanced knowledge and expertise of a professional Autoglass technician !
    If you deal with a Hyundai Terracan or a KIA Sportage WSs, heated in the parkside of the wipers, you may appeal to the customer,s patience, and have the cowl removed to learn about the heating existance. The ON/OFF switch on the dash figuring the WS heating might be tricky, as some vehicles use it only for an extra boost of hot air under WS, and not for the electrical grid applied onto or in the sandwiched glass
    Note that some vehicles have already the WS replaced, and the one you deal about in the given moment might not be the one similar the original. It often happens to the European older Fords, as their owners won`t spend much for a heated WS, as the regular one works as well.
    Sometimes, to understand if we need a UV proof glass, we ask customer if the WS shades reddish or lilla. Imagine what genuine or exotic answers we recieve over the phone !

    So, my friends, be proud you are AG Techs, and live with it, wherever you do your job !

  3. Daniel said on 19-10-2012

    …And Bob,

    E-17 is Finland. Lamino Oy

    But the E code means the Issuer standard.
    For instance, we often recieve E1(Germany) lites but decoding the DOT we travel with lightspeed to…Guangzhou, China !
    That means, upon my humble oppinion, the EU code is somehow approximative.

    DOT rulz, bro !

  4. Glasseye said on 21-10-2012

    I agree with comments about about actually seeing the vehicle to ID. the type of screen required, but it’s time this industry moved on from this. When I came into this business you could rack out a van to carry 70 screens and that would cover 95% of the screens you might need during a normal days work, including commercials. The introduction in Europe of the Argic code and linking screen type to registration numbers has helped a lot but still has its problems. Getting the manufacturers to print the exact universal part code on the screen has to be the easiest answer for customers and suppliers alike.

  5. Bob Beranek said on 22-10-2012

    Daniel – do you have the newest country numerical listing? I have an old one and have been unable to find the newest list. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Daniel said on 08-11-2012

      Bob, I will try to get one from my newest contractor, taht is Junited Autoglass of Germany.
      It might take some time, as we are in a busy perriod of time.
      Hope will be ready in a short time.
      BTW: how old is your list ?

    • Daniel said on 08-11-2012

      If you read this post, please reply by e-mail.

  6. Robert Casey said on 12-07-2013

    Hello Bob. Very informative article; it answered many questions that I had regarding the glass on my car. Additionally, I would like to know if any of the numbers on my AP Tech automotive glass will tell me the month and year of production. I have AP Tech glass marked DOT-376 (now AGC Automotive Americas): AS1 M334 windshield, AS2 M2H4 rear window, and AS2 M2H5 door glass. There are other small black dots just below the M codes, perhaps those have something to do with dating. Thank you. Sincerely, Robert Casey

  7. […] to clearly indicate it is a special acoustic version. AGC does make them though. Somewhat useful Windshield Bug interpretation article is here. I'm curious if the US market vehicles are marked any differently? Perhaps acoustic glass is not a […]

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