by Bob Beranek
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Is an auto glass part still “safe” if it’s scratched? Well, it depends on the severity of the damage. A glazing professional will tell you if a glass scratch can be felt with one’s fingernail, the scratch is considered severe. If not, then it’s considered superficial and you can remove it on any glass part with “elbow grease” and some cerium oxide.

Severe damage indicates the removal of the scratch by whatever means, but will cause the glass to weaken, become distorted and be rendered unsafe. When an auto glass part is severely scratched the glass should be discarded. Auto glass parts are considered safe only when they’re not fractured. As soon as an auto glass part is broken it can’t do its job of supporting, protecting and providing clarity of site for the driver.

If you think about it, it makes sense. How is glass cut to size? The simple procedure is to “score” the glass and then break the score. What’s a score? It’s a controlled severe scratch created by a tool that breaches the harder surface of the glass by creating a fissure.

When pressure is applied to that fissure or score, the glass breaks controllably along the scratch that was created. A severe scratch is the first step in broken glass, you just don’t have any control over it.

Can auto glass be installed safely when there is a scratch present? If superficial, yes if it’s removed or accepted by the customer. If severe, no, just throw it away or return it.