MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Are Those Tiny Black Dots On Your Windshield?

Have you ever noticed those tiny black dots around the edge of your car’s windshield? They’re easy to miss, but they actually serve some important purposes.

Firstly, there’s a black strip that wraps around your windshield, which is called a “frit” or a “frit band”. It’s basically ceramic paint that’s been cooked into the glass & is impossible to scrape off, but for good reason. That reason is to protect the urethane sealant that holds your windshield in place from ultraviolet rays. If it weren’t there, the glass could pop out.

The frit band also provides a rougher surface for the adhesive to stick to, and it’s a visual barrier that keeps you from seeing the glue from outside. The frit’s been commonplace since the ‘50s & ‘60s, back when car makers began swapping out metal trim for adhesives.

Ok, so that explains the solid black strip, but what about those dots?

Those dots get smaller as they move inwards, and it’s because that creates a gradient pattern which is more aesthetically pleasing & less distracting for both the driver & passengers.

The dots aren’t there just to look attractive, though. A lot of the design has to do with the way windshields are made. When the windshield glass is bent in an oven, that black frit heats up faster than the rest of the windshield. So, to reduce visual distortion due to the thermal disparity, a dot gradient is used to spread out the temperature.

There’s also a second set of dots on your windshield, right behind the rearview mirror, that help keep the sun out of your eyes as you drive.

And now, you’re a frit expert! So, amaze your friends with your uncommon knowledge!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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