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What’s in a Bug?

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.